The first thing to do is get your self a decent bbq. Many people prefer a gas bbq to (what I call) a proper bbq, which is just a plain bbq and the only fuel to be used is charcoal, fire lighters or liquid fuel. Don’t buy one that is too small, if you like entertaining get the biggest one you can afford, you don’t want to be in the position of having to cook, for example two lots of burgers because there wasn’t enough room on the bbq.
A feature to look out for is for somewhere on the bbq that will keep the food warm or leave it to cook slowly. So, buy one that has an extra cooking rack, preferably a little bit away from the intense heat. This will come in handy if you find that the food is cooking too quickly and you would like to place the food temporarily on the extra cooking rack. This extra cooking rack is handy for the food that has finished cooking and little emergencies that happen to everyone at some time or another.
When you are looking to buy your bbq make sure it has some decent handles for removing the cooking rack, in case you have to take it out in a hurry with all the food on it. Another feature I would go for would be the ones that have the shelves either side of the bbq and perhaps underneath as well, where you can put your bits and pieces. I always think it’s a good idea to have a cover or lid, just in case you have friends round for a bbq and you might not fancy cleaning it that evening, so you could put the lid down and then clean it at your leisure the next day. The lid will also keep animals and pests away from the bbq.
Now you have your bbq and you have bought some charcoal, arrange it into a pyramid shape on the base, soak the charcoal with a fire lighting fluid (always read instructions on fluid) leave for ten minutes then light. I always use the fluid because I find the solid fire lighters smell too much. When the charcoal is glowing red and grey, spread it out and then start cooking.
If you are using for example, chicken joints, sausages and burgers, in my experience its best to start cooking the chicken first as it takes longer to cook and we don’t want it under cooked. Once you think the chicken is almost cooked place it on the slow cooking rack I mentioned earlier, then put on the sausages. The secret to successful bbq cooking is constant attention and keep turning the food often, (not forgetting the odd beer or two).
When the sausages are cooked, place them on rack with the chicken and now start cooking the burgers, whilst the burgers are cooking, perhaps another member of the family can begin transferring the food into serving dishes, by this time the burgers should be cooked. Make up a bbq sauce of your choice, or if you don’t have a recipe I am sure you can find a great one online. It doesn’t have to be bbq sauce just use your imagination and enjoy.
The above paragraphs are only meant as a guide for a person who is just starting out on the very enjoyable way of entertaining or even on your own. The food above is just an example and you can use whatever food you like. Make sure, just before cooking the food, you have worked out in your mind which foods take longer to cook than others, and you will time it to perfection.
Also, I do realise that some people when having a bbq prefer to eat their food as it’s cooked and others like to wait until everything is cooked and then eat. When cooking chicken on the bbq why not try sprinkling some Cajun spices on the meat before cooking. There are so many variations of barbecuing it really is only limited by your imagination. Another thing you might like to try is when you have finished cooking the meat and the bbq has calmed down quite a bit, throw some bananas on the rack (in the skin) while your are eating, don’t worry when they go black, slit them open and eat with a spoon.