During our short barbecuing season, make the most of suppers in the garden with this guide to barbecuing beef.
Tips for barbecuing beef
Whether it's a burger or a steak, look to these tips for barbecuing beef:
Making burgers seems simple enough. But often, our homemade burgers fall short of ideal. There are a few common mistakes that people make with their home-barbecued burgers, and if you can avoid them, you're on the road to the world's best burgers every time.
One of the most important burger choices you can make is not in the seasoning, but in the type of mince you use. When you make burgers with extra-lean mince, it's almost impossible to get a juicy, flavourful burger as your end result. When you're in the mood to indulge in the pure pleasure of a perfect burger, buy mince that is at least 15 percent fat. While you're at it, ask your butcher to freshly grind some beef just for you. You will notice a huge difference in flavour and juiciness from the prepackaged mince. Also keep in mind that coarsely ground mince makes a juicier burger than finely ground. You can add additional moisture by mixing in a few tablespoons of tomato juice or beef stock for every 450g of meat.
When mixing in flavouring and forming the meat into patties, don't over-handle the mixture or the result could be dry, unpleasantly dense burgers. There's no need to pat and squeeze your burgers into perfectly uniform discs; just press the mixture lightly until the patties stick together. Finally, once the burgers are on the barbecue, resist the temptation to press down on them with a spatula. Every drop of juice and fat that you squeeze out of them makes the burger that much drier. A gently handled burger is a good burger.
Most steaks you find at the supermarket are good for barbecuing, although some, such as flank steak, require careful treatment in order for them to be tender enough to eat. It's possible to drop a small fortune on a prime steak, but it's certainly not necessary to spend that much for a very tender and tasty piece of beef. Some of the most tender steaks are the most expensive: the fillet, the porterhouse and the T-bone. Some other steaks that are nearly as tender and just as delicious are the chuck top blade, the New York , the club , the rib-eye and the rib, the top sirloin and the round tip. If you're looking to reduce your fat intake, take note that the leanest cuts of beef come from the loin and the round.
Whether you call them skewers, kebabs, shish kebabs, souvlaki, satay or brochettes, just about every culture's culinary tradition includes deliciously marinated and seasoned cubes of meat threaded onto a skewer and barbecued over a hot fire. When choosing beef for kebabs, buy something that's moderately tender. Top sirloin is a good choice, although a yoghurt-based marinade can make tougher cuts of meat wonderfully tender as well. When threading meat and vegetables onto skewers, you'll get the best results if you stick with one kind of food on each skewer since each meat and vegetable has a slightly different cooking time. It may not look quite as pretty, but your dinner will be much better when you don't have to scrape carbonised cherry tomatoes off of your perfectly cooked beef and your rock-hard courgette.