5 Tips to Become a Barbecue Master

After years of throwing barbecues for Steak Club events and catering, I thought it would be nice to condense the lessons I’ve learned manning the grill into “5 tips to become a Barbecue Master.”

It’s only through first-hand experience and by learning from mistakes that we continue to grow.

Learning from earlier failures (and being saved by the quality of our cuts), I became a barbecue master, with customers, guests, and friends complimenting Steak club as having the best steaks and burgers in Europe.

Here goes…

1. Preparing the barbecue

Your barbecue is your all-in-one kitchen, and the centerpiece of any barbecue.

Whether you’re using an open top barbecue, weber, or in our case offset smoker, some rules should always be applied.

The first is to do a thorough cleaning of the grill. You can either use vinegar to scrub off old residue, or our preferred method of scraping off residue at high temperatures after your previous BBQ. 

2. Preparing the Fire & Timing

Preparing the fire (if you have gas, you’re missing out on the flavor) is where most people get their timing wrong.

When people arrive to your barbecue, they’re hungry.

Missing the agreed to meal-time (I normally serve 1 hour after the start of the event) will only give you added stress from hungry friends.

So here are two suggestions. 

The first, use briquettes (brykiet), not wooden coal (węgiel drewny). These will last longer, and give you a much higher temperature -> this will guarantee the perfect grilled steak.

The second, buy yourself a chimney starter (komin do rozpalania). This will cut down the time of getting coals started from 30-40 min., down to 10 min.

3. Temperature Control

Did you purchase briquettes (brykiet) as instructed? Good.

Now the key to not burning the meat (or buns for that matter), is to setup two zones temperature zones.

  1. The hot zone,
  2. Warm zone

Test the temperature with by putting the palm of your hand above the hot zone

If it’s too hot to keep your hand over the hot zone, the temperature is good.

If you’re able to keep your hand over the hot zone, then it’s not hot enough. Add more coal, or get better charcoal

By having a hot zone & warm zone, you can adjust what needs to go where. 

For example, if you have a cut that is starting to char on the outside, but not yet finished (an issue with thick cuts and whole picanhas), you will want to first sear the outside in the “hot zone”, and then move the cut to the “warm zone” until rare or “medium-rare” if you must.

Another example are burger buns. Always keep these in the warm zone (vs. hot) will also ensure you’re not getting charred buns..

4. Grilling Perfection

How do you grill the ideal beef cut to perfection?

The objective in cooking any beef cut, is to have a “bark” or crispy outside (but not charred), with a pink aka rare inside.

Adam’s First Hand Experience Top-Tip: do not put cold meat onto the grill! Let the beef come to room temperature (you can only do this with beef/ruminants), as this will ensure an even cook throughout.

This maximizes the flavor of the beef.

If anyone asks for well-done, ignore them. Beef is supposed to be enjoyed rare (medium-rare if you have to). Well-done is disrespecting the cow.

For steaks that are 2-3 fingers thickwith a hot grill, I like to flip the steak 4-5 times

You will want to do the two sides so they they begin to brown. After the second flip, rotate the steak 90 degrees, in order to get the nice cross grill marks.

By the 4th flip you should feel the beef begin to firm up. Steaks shouldn’t take more than 4-5 min on a hot grill (300C+).

If it’s hard, you’ve gone too far. If it’s still very loose, it will be rare. With enough experience you will find the sweet spot. 

For any steaks or cuts that are 4 fingers thick or more, you will want to first, sear the outside in the “hot zone”, then with the “bark” on the outside, move the cut to the “warm zone”

Check on the steak by pressing on it with your finger. Try and reach that “sweet spot” of not too soft, but not too hard.

5. Let it Rest

Now that you’ve taken your steak/cut off the grill, let it rest!

This is also the perfect time to season your beef with salt & pepper. 

Always season beef after you’re done grilling. The pepper won’t burn, and the salt will not spit out at you while you’re cooking

Why should you let beef rest after grilling?

By letting the beef rest for 5 min. will allow the fat & juices contained in your seared steak to “reabsorb”.

If you don’t wait  and slice a steak or eat that burger, juicy fat will come pouring out.

If you wait long enough, and allow the beef to rest, these fats will reabsorb (becoming less liquid), ensuring every piece is nice & juicy.

Grilling beef on a barbecue is quick once you have the fire going.

Patience is required however!

Once you’ve taken the burger or steak off the grill, let it rest.

That about covers it.

With these 5 tips your friends and family will be talking about your barbecues for years to come. 

That is of course, by combining the best quality beef in Europe with these 5 tips to became a true barbecue master.

Next time we’ll tell you the secret to making the best burger in Europe.

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Feel free to comment or write to us with any questions you may have.

Good luck with your next barbecue!

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