Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Top Tips on Looking After Your Barbecue

The summer barbecue season is almost upon us and it will soon be time to get the grill back in action and start brushing up on all those delicious outdoor recipes.

As being experienced suppliers of stone and masonry barbecues, Big K have provided these top maintenance tips which will help you get the most out of your barbecue and enjoy plenty of tasty outdoor meals right through the summer.

Clean Your Barbecue Before You Use It...

If you’ve bought a new barbecue, it can be tempting to fire it up and get cooking straight away, especially if the sun is shining and you and your guests are getting hungry. However, it is important to read the manufacturer’s instructions as they will often list some requirements for preparing your barbecue for its first use.

Whether you have just installed your barbecue for the first time or have recently got it out of its winter home, it’s important to always give it a thorough clean before the first use of the year. This applies even if you left it in good condition at the end of the last outdoor cooking season – insects, rust, dust and dirt could easily have made their way into your barbecue.

Put rubber gloves on and make sure you use cleaning materials appropriate for the problem. For example, use brushes with stainless bristles for hardened, baked-on food and warm soapy water for stains.

Don't forget to clean the barbecue hoods, covers and lids, as well as all cooking surfaces, food preparation surfaces and barbecue utensils.

...and Afterwards

After providing a delicious grilled meal for your family or friends, it’s easy to walk away from the barbecue thinking you’re now relieved of your duties, or to promise yourself you’ll return to clean it… before forgetting all about it as soon as dessert arrives. However, this approach will mean you’ll end up spending twice as long cleaning your barbecue than if you just deal with it soon after you’ve eaten.

After you have finished cooking, leave the heat for a few minutes so that any food or grease deposits will be baked into a hardened layer; you’ll find this is far easier to remove than liquid grease. This cleaning regime should be used after every meal you use it for; it is also a good idea to deep clean your barbecue every three months.

You can also steam-clean it by covering the grill in water-soaked old newspaper while the barbecue is cooling down and closing the lid. While it is best to clean your barbecue while it is still warm, it’s also important to let it cool down enough to removing any charcoal or ash from the grill. If you’re using a gas supply, don’t forget to disconnect it from the grill before you begin cleaning.

Big K supplies a special barbecue cleaner which can be used on all grills and cooking surfaces, including masonry barbecues. The spray-on product will cut through the grimiest of surfaces. We also stock cleaning kits with a pan, brush and spatula, together with a holder so you can dispose of any used charcoal quickly and efficiently

Minimise Mess with Oil and Foil

Tin foil can be used to line any ash pan; this makes it easier to clean out and helps make the barbecue more efficient by reflecting the heat back onto the food. Prevention is better than cure – if you use the oil to coat the food rather than the grill, this will help cut down the amount of deposits and reduce the amount of cleaning.

If you're cooking fish, sea food or other delicate foods, cook it in foil pouches to stop it falling apart and onto the coals. Likewise, if you’re cooking a roast or marinated meat, you can use an aluminium foil tray to contain all the lovely juices.

Keep it Covered

If your barbecue is a permanent or semi-permanent structure, it may be a time-consuming process to move it into the garage or shed all the time when it’s not in use. You can avoid long-term damage caused by the unpredictable British weather by covering it up.

Big K supplies a durable, weather-proof covers suitable for brick, gas, masonry and stone barbecues and up to two accompanying side tables, or for barbecues without a chimney.

Check the Instructions

Some types of barbecue may recommend using specific cleaning products. If you do not follow the manufacturer’s instructions, you may invalidate the warranty. For example, some manufacturers do not recommend using abrasive scourers, such as wire wool, as these can damage the surface of chrome-coated grills; sponge pads may be better.

Big K supplies a complete range of fuel for stone and masonry barbecues and other accessories. These include charcoal lumpwood and briquettes suitable for both commercial and domestic use, barbecue cleaners, and stainless steel tool and utensil sets. Follow the link above to view our full range of barbecue-related products.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Vegetarian Options at a Barbecue

You have chosen a date for a barbecue, the weather forecast is good, and everyone has been invited. But what do you do about the vegetarians among your guests?

Happily, there are plenty of tasty options you can offer them as many vegetarian food recipes taste just as good outdoors. At Big K our wide range of products means that whether you want a masonry barbecue, a concrete or brick barbecue or items for an ideal outdoor summer kitchen, we should be able to satisfy your needs. Our products can help you create delicious dishes for both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Here are some of the vegetarian options you could consider for your summer barbecue.

Better Burgers

If you do want to maintain the traditional feel and offer your vegetarian guests a burger, you can buy them ready-made from a supermarket, but it is often more fun to make your own. You could use grilled aubergine with halloumi and pesto as a filling. Beetroot and chilli offer a spicy alternative, but will need to be cooked on a gentle heat for about 10 minutes each side. Mushrooms can also act as the main filling for a burger, perhaps flavoured with garlic or mozzarella cheese.

Grilling Your Vegetables

Corn on the cob is something you can really get your teeth into. They are even tastier if you partly cook them in boiling water the day before – then all you need do on the day itself is barbecue them on a high heat for about five minutes, until the kernels have started to pop. You can serve them with melted butter, black pepper and Parmesan cheese.

Other vegetables which you can easily grill on a barbecue, and which can be served as part of a main or a side dish, include whole peppers, cherry tomatoes, onions, carrots and asparagus. We recommend that where suitable the vegetables are sliced first and cooked slowly; you can also wrap them in packets of foil and cook them directly on the hot charcoal.

Kebabs on Skewers or Sticks

Just because it’s a barbecue doesn’t mean it all has to be about burgers and buns. Grilled vegetable kebabs are an equally tasty alternative.

You can mix together onions, peppers and mushrooms, season them with an olive oil and herb mixture, and they only take about five minutes to cook on the barbecue. Another combination that works equally well is halloumi cheese, sage and new potatoes, although you will need to boil the last ingredient in water for about 15 minutes first.

Cooking vegetables, particularly smaller ones, on a skewer, can help keep them in one place, making them easier to barbecue. Serving them on skewers or a stick can also help your guests, as it can avoid the problem of sticky fingers, and it cuts down on all the mess afterwards too! At Big K we sell BBQ skewers complete with prongs and wooden handle.

Serving Your Salad

Even your meat-eating guests will appreciate a lighter, healthy option. Tomato-based salads are easy to put together. They can be accompanied with oregano or basil or, if you have a little more time, grilled avocado and mozzarella cheese. You will need to do them in advance, however, as these salads always taste better if they have been given an hour or two to chill properly. Chickpeas can also make an unusual alternative type of salad. Using a dressing of lemon juice and olive oil will help to soften them up, and they can be served with parsley and a sliced red onion for flavouring.

At Big K we sell a wide range of barbecue accessories, including fuel and tools, as well concrete, brick and masonry barbecues. Click on the link to discover more about our comprehensive range of barbecue-related products.