Barbeques Galore barbecue expert, Adam Roberts explains the secret to grilling different meats to get that perfect shade of 'cooked'.
If you have the responsibility of cooking the meat for your next barbecue, there are some basic things you can do to get the perfect grill.
The time it takes to cook your meats will vary depending on what's on the menu, so it can be a juggle to manage everything at once, but we've got you covered with Adam's foolproof cooking strategy.
Adam says that cooking meats to their optimum internal temperature can greatly improve the tenderness and texture of the meat.
"Each meat or poultry cut has an optimum internal temperature range, or what I like to call 'the sweet spot' for tenderness and also doneness," says Adam.
For beef, he says we already know about rare, medium rare and medium cooking preferences, but each of these finishes actually corresponds with an internal temperature of the meat.
So, how can we achieve the exact temperature for meat? A digital thermometer can be stuck into the meat when grilling. This will give you a perfect result every time.
Using a thermometer
"Whilst the beef and lamb are cooking, turn the meat periodically to ensure even cooking on all sides and edges," says Adam. "Simply probe the meat with the digital thermometer several times during the cooking process until you reach your target internal temperature."
For chicken and other poultry cuts, you really want to be cooking the cut to a 'safe to eat' range, but Adam says it's common to overcook the chicken so it ends up dry and chewy.
"Done right, chicken should be soft, moist and still full of flavourful juices. Achieving this perfect doneness for chicken is made really easy with the use of a digital thermometer," he says.
Optimal internal temperatures
- Lamb cutlets - medium rare - (55C)
- Beefscotch fillet steak - medium rare - (58C)
- Chicken breast - safe range approximate - (74-76C)
Timing is everything
Avoid leaving dishes resting and cold after they've been grilled by strategically planning the order of your meat grilling.
"Prepare all of your cold foods first, such as salads, slaws and breads and set them to the side or in the fridge until the hot food is ready," says Adam.
"When it comes to the cooking process, start cooking the meats or foods that take the longest first, and then add the extras to the grill in order to how long they take to cook."
Follow this guide for cooking times:
- Steak - approx cook time 15 mins, rest time 6 mins = 21 mins
- Thin pork sausage - approx cook time 12 mins, rest time 2 mins = 14 mins
- Chicken breast - approx cook time 8 mins, rest time, 2 mins = 10 mins.
"Using this guide, you'll want to start with the steaks first, then seven minutes later, add the pork sausage and then four minutes after that, add the chicken," suggests Adam. "This will ensure all the cuts are ready at approximately the same time."