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Become a Barbecue Don

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Become a BBQ Don with the mouth-watering tips, tricks and techniques all served by Michel Roux Jr & Tom Kerridge. Let our meat-obsessed chefs guide you to a barbecue no one will forget

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Michel Roux-Jr says: “Be patient”

The fine-dining king on perfect lamb and a new use for pine cones

Gas is Cheating

“I’ve got a monster of a Weber – the biggest charcoal one you can get. I also have a small smoker, but it’s tiny – I can only fit a few rashers or pigeons in there. I’m not really into the gas barbecues, that’s cheating. But with a charcoal one you can put the lid on and, as long as it’s not too hot, you can throw on some woodchips then smoke on it. I’ve smoked salmon before on my Weber.”

Put the Firelighters Down

“I use pine cones. They are natural firestarters, as they burn very well due to their resin. And it’s important to get good charcoal: big chunks, not dusty bits that burn quickly.”

Make Your Own Burgers

“I’ve got a little mincer at home, and we have great fun making our own burgers and trying out different seasoning. Lamb burgers, pork, beef, even duck.”

Grill Fruit

“Whole peaches grilled, then drizzled with honey work well as a showstopping dessert. Just hold them on the grill and get some good marks on them. They are also good with some goat’s cheese as a side dish to your mains.”

Poach Chicken First

“People are often scared of undercooking chicken and getting sick, so a good way to barbecue chicken is to poach it first. Season wings or drumsticks to your taste then bring them to a boil, turn the heat off, then leave it to cool. Take them out, pat them dry, then barbecue them. Then you’re sure they will be cooked inside.”

Take Your Time

“The Brits are perhaps a little bit too impatient. They have a few drinks, spark up the barbie and just want to eat. Quickly. And that’s wrong. It doesn’t work that way. A lot of thought goes into a good barbecue. But Brits are slowly getting the hang of it – there are now barbecue competitions and an awareness of how to cook properly on barbecues.”

Go For Minute Steak

“You need a really high heat, and flames are good here, as it won’t cook for more than a minute each side. In France, we tend to eat our meat very rare, so it’s all about fierce heat and a short time cooking.”

Always Butterfly Your Lamb

“Cut a boned leg of lamb down the middle and bash it out with a mallet so you get it 3cm even thickness, then add a dry rub. Leave it at room temperature for an hour, then leave it on the barbecue over the embers – no flame, it shouldn’t be scalding hot – and put the lid on. After 30-45 minutes take it out and carve.”

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Tom Kerridge says “Planning is key”

Barbecued cake and brining with the gastropub master

Take Up Smoking

“We don’t often have hot weather in the UK – we set something alight, quickly get it hot, then throw the sausages on. A US barbecue is cooked for a long period of time, and there’s an understanding of the balance of flavour and transfer of heat, rather than it being cooked directly over the flame. We’re now beginning to get more of an understanding of good barbecuing – smokiness and slow cooking.”

Bake a Cake on the Barbie

“I do a maple sponge cake on the barbecue. It’s a sponge recipe with maple syrup running through it, then you put it into a cake tin and sit it on a brick with the barbecue lid on so the air circulates. The key is to make sure the barbecue doesn’t get too hot.”

Maintain the Temperature

“Get your barbecue to the right temperature and continue feeding it coals to keep it at the same level. The key is maintaining that temperature and keeping an eye on it – it’s not just like turning the oven on.”

Buy Thick Steaks

“If you have a beautiful rib of beef, you want the natural flavours and marbling to come to the forefront. No marinade, just brush them with butter when you finish, – the thicker the cut, the slower you should cook it to let the flavours speak for themselves.”

Bring on the Brine

“It’s always best to brine slow-cooking meat in a salt solution for 24 hours as it stops it drying out. Then marinade for 24 to 48 hours before you cook it. You can use a wet marinade or a dry rub, whether on a barbecue or not. If it rains, you can simply slow cook it in the oven and the flavour of the marinade will still come through.”

Plan it Meticulously

“If you’re aiming to do a barbecue on Sunday, you need to start work on the Thursday beforehand to get meat marinating, which is important to add a layer a flavour. We never do enough of that in this country.”

Embrace Beef Brisket

“The more complicated the marinade, the more flavour, but smoked paprika works well for brisket. Try 2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp cayenne, ½ tsp ground cumin, 1 garlic clove grated, 2 tsp vegetable oil, 1 tsp dried sage and ½ tsp salt.”

Use a House Brick

“Kettle barbecues get very hot, but you soon understand how the heat works. I find putting the meat on a brick on the grill, which lifts it away from the heat, helps when indirect cooking.”

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Time to tool up

Kit and accessories to raise your outdoor grilling game

Tabasco Sweet Chipotle And Cola Sauce/Marinade

It works. Trust us. £2.29; tabascofanclub.co.uk

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Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

The definitive ‘low and slow’ smoker, is 37cm with two grates and a built-in thermometer for regulating temperature. £240; weberbbq.co.uk

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Cajun Injector

Fat Boy Injector Inject anything from creole butter to honey. £25; amazon.co.uk

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Ecogrill All-Natural BBQ

This eco-friendly, charcoal-filled log turns into a campfire. £10; notonthehighstreet.com

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Hot Smoked Wood Chip Selection

A selection of flavour-enhancing wood chips. £20; souschef.com

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Outset Leather BBQ Apron

Flame-retardant with extra-deep tool pockets. £37; amazon.co.uk

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Lotus Smokeless Grill

A smokeless charcoal grill with a fan that acts like a bellows. £130; selfridges.co.uk

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Tom Kerridge and Michel Roux Jr will be at Taste Of London at Regent’s Park, London, until 22 June; london.tastefestivals.com

(Images: Thinkstock)

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