Barbecue Tips & Recipes

Indirect Cooking

Most people think of a barbecue as an open grid on which to cook steaks and chicken pieces. They miss out on the real pleasure of barbecuing. Firstly, we recommend you cook on a barbecue with a lid such as a charcoal kettle barbecue or a gas barbecue with a hood. The vents should always be fully open and the lid fully on or the hood fully down when cooking. The airflow is then carefully controlled to prevent flaring. Flaring is caused by fat dripping onto a heat source in an excess of air, leading to charring on the outside of the meat and salmonellae on the inside.

For direct cooking or grilling, the charcoal is placed in the centre of the barbecue (or the inner gas ring lit) and the food placed directly over the heat source. The meat then has to be turned. This is the best method of cooking steak, burgers, chops and sausages etc. For “indirect cooking”, ie baking or roasting, the charcoal is placed on the outside of the barbecue (or the outer burners lit) and a drip tray placed in the centre. The joint is then placed above the drip tray and the heat reflects off the lid or hood to roast the meat all over. There is no need to turn the meat. The advantage of using a barbecue over a conventional oven is that the meat is sealed on the outside and the juices retained on the inside to give a moister flavour. Of course the meat also has that lovely, crisp exterior and is lightly smoked on the outside too. The indirect method can also be used to bake pizzas or bread (even cake) too. Once the meat is in the barbecue there is no need to tend it (except perhaps to baste it once for some recipes) and thus one can barbecue all year round without the need to stand outside in the cold and rain.

Quick tips

  • Use a chimney starter to light charcoal. It is foolproof and negates the need for lighter liquid (containing petrol or paraffin that can taint the food). For direct grilling half fill the chimney and wait 30 minutes before cooking. For indirect cooking fill the chimney and wait one hour before cooking.
  • Never use a fork on a joint of meat except when carving. It releases the moisture from the inside. Use tongs to lift or turn meat.
  • Try to marinate meat for at least 30 minutes before cooking (overnight is usually better). It really makes a difference and it is fun to invent your own.
  • Rest roast meat for 10 to 15 minutes in tinfoil before carving. It relaxes the meat and makes it more tender to eat.
  • Always cook with the vents fully open and the lid on or hood down.
  • Close all vents when you have finished cooking to preserve the charcoal for use another day.
  • Burn “Australian Heatbeads” on a charcoal barbecue. They burn at twice the temperature and for twice as long as conventional charcoal briquettes.
  • Meats containing a bone, eg leg of lamb or rib of beef, are perfect for roasting as the bone conducts the heat into the centre of the joint.
  • Try out a Weber Style Poultry Roaster. The bird is steamed on the inside as it is roasted on the outside and the meat ends up beautifully moist with crispy skin.
  • Clean stainless steel barbecues with WD40 and wipe in line with the grain.
  • To clean your charcoal barbecue the lazy man’s way (well Shaun’s way), delay cooking for 5 minutes (with the lid on) to heat up the grill plate and soften the fat deposits. Then scrape the fat off with a wire brush directly onto the coals to burn it off. Lower the lid of a gas barbecue and turn up the heat on all the rings. Leave it for 30 minutes to give it a “pyroclean”.

The Barbecue Kings 

One of the great pleasures of working at Dunscar, is the opportunity to meet a wide variety of customers, many of whom have interesting and unusual backgrounds. One such customer is Mr Jorgen Petersen from Denmark. After a successful career that included time as the Sales and Marketing Director for Unilever in Denmark, Sales Director for Xerox Denmark and as a lecturer at Ashridge Business School, Mr Petersen retired to Southport. For over 40 years has been a keen charcoal barbecue cook (he doesn’t rate gas as being an authentic barbecue fuel). After all, after Australia, Denmark has the highest number of barbecues per 1000 of population than any other country so the Danes know a thing or two about barbecues. A couple of years ago on a visit to Dunscar in search of an open grid barbecue, he was instead persuaded to purchase a kettle barbecue from our Danish supplier, Dancook. Mr Petersen admits it was a great decision to give it a go. He reckons barbecuing is now much simpler – dare we say a different kettle of fish?

As he says, “The whole process is so simple. Once everything is set up it more or less looks after itself. So now I can sit down with a glass of wine and just wait for the meal to finish, and the taste is to die for!” Mr Petersen is a keen advocate of marinades and a devotee of the BBC Food website for inspiration. This is one of his favourite and most successful recipes by Paul Merrett for butterflied leg of lamb.


For the marinade 250ml dry sherry, 200ml clear honey, 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme,
8 cloves, 3 star anise, 2 cinnamon sticks in pieces, 10 to 15 black peppercorns, juice from 1 lemon and 1 orange

Marinade the lamb in he fridge for 24 hours, turning occasionally. Roast on the barbecue using the indirect method and a Weber Rib Rack for 25 minutes.

Our General Manager, Shaun, is also a passionate barbecue fan, although only for the past 6 years. Shaun uses either his Dancook (his preference) or his Weber Premium charcoal barbecue all year round, even in Winter, as the food tastes so much better. He is a particular fan of roast leg of lamb and rib of beef. However, earlier this year a customer recommended the Weber Poultry Roaster to him. Having used it most successfully for beer chicken (according to his nephews, the best chicken they have ever tasted) he has become more adventurous and has made up his own marinades. Here is one of his favourites for crispy roast duck with honey and rum.

For the marinade 4 tablespoons clear honey, 4 tablespoons of light rum,
1 teaspoon of ginger

Baste the duck with the marinade and leave in the fridge for up to 3 hours. Roast on the barbecue using the indirect method and a Weber Poultry Roaster (with the well half full of more rum) for 20 minutes per pound and 20 minutes over. Baste every 45 minutes with the juices until cooked.

Marinade for Lamb with Belvoir Blackcurrant Cordial

4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 tbsp Organic Blackcurrant Belvoir Cordial or equivalent
2 cloves Garlic (crushed)
2 tbsp Rosemary (chopped)
Salt & Pepper

Method (Serves 6)

  1. Mix all the ingredients together
  2. Place the lamb in a large Ziplock bag, pour in the marinade and seal the bag. This makes it easier to keep it in the fridge and the lamb is better covered by the marinade than leaving it sitting in a bowl.
  3. If barbequing, pour some of the marinade over the meat as it is cooking. If roasting, do the same but after cooking the lamb, make a sauce by pouring some stock or red wine into the roasting tray, (once the lamb had been removed). Reduce this down and add some crème fraîche.
  4. Season to taste.