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10 top tips for barbecue cooking from Cornish chef James Strawbridge

Grab those tongs and get grilling

bbq tips
Sophie Hamilton
Parenting Editor
June 2, 2021
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After weeks of rain, the British summer has finally arrived with some glorious hot sunshine – and of course, that means one thing… barbecues!

Nothing beats standing around the barbie sipping on a cool drink and chatting to friends.

Now Cornish chef and sustainability expert James Strawbridge has shared his top 10 tips for cooking the perfect barbecue – perfect for those of us who are new to the grill or want to improve our BBQ skills.

MORE: Best BBQ tools 2021: 14 best BBQ essentials for this summer

barbeque lunch

James has partnered up with online farm shop 44 Foods who sell specialist BBQ bundles - high quality, fresh produce which is all ethically sourced, sustainable and delivered to your door.

How to cook the perfect barbecue

Cook over embers, not flames

James advises: "Be patient and wait for charcoal or wood to really burn down to achieve a strong constant heat to cook with. Once you have hot embers it reduces the chance of flare-ups and gives you much more control on the grill."

Veg power

"Try grilling vegetables over embers as the star of the show rather than just serving salads and veg kebabs on the side. Spring greens work really well, cauliflower steaks, radishes or peas in the pod can all be cooked in a grill basket."

weber bbq

Weber Compact Charcoal BBQ, £89, Amazon


Low n Slow

"Have a go at a slow-cooked recipe this summer with some wood chips for smokey flavour," says James. "Try your own beef brisket hot smoked down at 120˚C with an internal temp of 94˚C for 5-6 hours for an authentic tasting BBQ."

MORE: 8 best BBQs so you can get grilling in 2021

meat grill

Onions on the BBQ!

"Try onions thrown straight onto the hot coals and cooked in their skins for 45 mins. Once blackened slice in half to remove the sweet, tender onions from their charred outer layers and toss with parsley and butter."

Chimney lighting

James suggests: "To avoid waiting till sundown to tuck into your BBQ, get efficient and buy a chimney to light your charcoal. They are really quick and easy to use and massively reduce the set-up time before you can start cooking."

MORE: 10 best gin gifts for the gin lover in your life for World Gin Day 2021 - novelty gift ideas

tong set

Grillaholics BBQ Toolset Set, £24.95, Amazon


Don’t forget the mop

"To avoid your food drying out, remember to baste, glaze or mop with a tasty BBQ sauce. Also, try adding a bowl of water into your BBQ oven if indirect grilling to keep your meat moist."


Get a smoky taste

"Add a handful of wood chips to your BBQ for a woody aroma and deep smoke ring. Try using apple, oak, hickory and cherry shavings."

Probe safety

"Invest in a meat probe to keep an eye on the internal temperature of your food," says James. "They are really easy to use and help to understand what’s going on inside the BBQ."

Think sustainability

"Buy sustainably sourced charcoal to cook over rather than imported briquettes."

Keep smiling

"If you’re not smiling then you are doing it all wrong! Enjoy cooking over the fire this summer and be creative with your recipes."

James Strawbridge is the driving force behind Strawbridge Kitchen. He lives on the South Cornish coast with his wife Holly and their three young children.

For more of his tips, head over to the 44 Foods podcast, Green Grass and High Tides, where James explores some of Britain’s best foods.

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