How to build a barbecue

Barbecuing is a backyard summer pass-time nearly as old as fire itself. Learning how to barbecue is easy and requires only a grill, your favorite foods, and some basic knowledge. There are two types of grills-gas and charcoal. Even the greatest of backyard chefs will debate which is better, but the differences are mainly in the type of fuel used to create the flame. Gas grills use propane gas to ignite burners and charcoal grills use briquettes that are lit with a match. For safety reasons, itís important to understand the type of grill you are using and how to fuel it, along with keeping water near by to extinguish any accidental fires.

Barbecuing doesnít have to mean preparing food specifically with a barbecue sauce. It generally means preparing food over open flame on a grill rack. The choice of food is most often meat, though vegetables and fruit can be grilled as well, and a combination of all three can be quite delicious.

Start your barbecue with properly prepared food, washed and cut or skewered based on how you plan to prepare it. Meat is best placed on a hot grill, so be sure to pre-heat the grill. Place the meat, be it chicken, burgers, steak, or pork, directly on the grill. Meat must be cooked to the proper internal temperature to be safe to digest. Investing in a meat thermometer is the most accurate way to test doneness and allows you to avoid cutting open meat and allowing the juices to escape.

Achieving perfection when learning how to barbecue takes practice. Over time, you will learn how your grill works and how long it takes for certain foods to cook. It is best to turn meat only once during cooking and to avoid flattening meat with a spatula while cooking, as this also allows juices to escape. When grilling meat such as chicken, that is uneven in size and shape, place it between two sheets of wax paper and roll with a rolling pin or flatten with a tenderizing mallet until it is the same thickness all around. This allows the meat to cook evenly.

When basting with sauce, use a clean brush and apply even coats only during the last 5 minutes of grilling. Experiment with different marinades and meats until you find your preferred taste and tenderness. With practice and time, anyone can be a barbecue expert.