Everything you need to know about barbecue

by Great British Chefs 13 July 2018

There's nothing more simple and satisfying than firing up the barbecue on a hot day and sipping on a cold drink as you cook. Whether you're looking for recipes, technical tips or more, you've come to the right place.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

We love cooking in all its forms, but when summer rolls around and the sun comes out, there's no better way to eat than from the barbecue. The simple combination of food, fire and smoke provides a depth of flavour that's hard to achieve by any other method. The romance of building a fire, cooking outdoors and watching the smoke billowing over your food is tough to beat. It's cooking stripped down to its basics.

In many ways, barbecue is directly tied to our humanity. We remain the only animals in existence who cook our food, and some have hypothesised recently that our evolution is directly linked to our discovery that cooking food made it more digestible, thus allowing our bodies to devote more energy to brain activity. The way ancient man would have cooked is the same as when we barbecue now – over fire and embers. Cooking on a barbecue is very primal and instinctive in that sense – we are connecting with our evolutionary past.

When we think barbecue in the UK, we often have a specific idea in mind – fast cooking over high heat, so that we grill the outside of the food whilst leaving the inside juicy and tender. Strictly speaking, barbecue is anything that involves cooking food over a naked flame or embers – you can slow-cook and smoke as well as even braise and steam using barbecues. Below you'll see some excellent guides from UK BBQ Mag editor Marcus Bawdon on the various styles of barbecue, how to set up your barbecue for different types of cooking and how to use your barbecue as a smoker. Scroll down further and you'll find recipe ideas galore as well as deep-dives into barbecue styles around the world and loads of technical guides.

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Here's the beef

There's no better way to cook a piece of beef than on the barbecue. Hit the button to check out our full list of barbecued beef recipes.

Barbecue around the world

Catch of the day

Cooking fish on the barbecue requires a delicate touch, but the results are worth the extra effort. White, meaty fish take on smoke and char particularly well – take a look at our barbecued fish recipes for some inspiration.

Upgrade your barbecue game

It's all too easy to focus on the main attraction and forget about the rest of your barbecue experience. If you want to take your cooking to the next level, you'll need to start using rubs and marinades to tease extra flavour out of your meat. Don't forget about the sides either – a good spread is essential for barbecue success. Take a look at some of our favourites below.

American barbecue

Finger-licking good

Chicken is incredibly versatile on the barbecue – you can cook individual thighs, legs and breasts or smoke the whole bird using indirect heat. Just make sure your chicken is piping hot and you're all set! Take a look at our full collection of barbecued chicken recipes.

Plant-based perfection