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Our complete guide on mastering the barbecue and creating delicious rubs, marinades and sauces.

With summer entertaining just around the corner, it’s time to dust of your barbecue tongs and sharpen your outdoor cooking skills. Manning the grill is serious business and there’s more to it than flipping paddies if you want your food to stand out.

Get the know-how on making rubs, marinades and sauces and you’ll be serving up a mouth-watering barbecued feast this summer!

Making a barbecue rub

Rubs are highly versatile and its easy to make your signature blend using a collection of spices and herbs. Rubs are a dry mix requiring no liquid ingredient which means they have a great shelf life too. The idea behind a rub is to infuse the flavour on the outside of your meat creating a bark-like covering once seared on the hot plate or grilled.

Simply choose your protein and then the flavour rub. Sweet barbecue rubs are best suited for pork, while beef, lamb and fish are best paired with savory, salty flavours. All you need to do is trim your meat and sprinkle it liberally with your spice rub.

Apply a liquid such as olive oil, balsamic or apple juice to make your rub adhere to the meat. Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes and then coat the other side.

Tip: Love a thick coating? Add brown sugar to your spice rub for more caramelised bark.

Making a barbecue marinade

Marinades are an ideal way to tenderise your meat and avoid dry, chewy barbecue fair. They’ll pack in the flavour from aromatics like herbs, spices, garlic and onion. To make the best marinade you’ll want to combine these aromatics with a source of acid. Think oil, vinegar, yoghurt or citrus fruits depending on the meat your barbecuing.

Chicken pairs well with yoghurt. Fish is better suited to a light, citrus marinade and you can’t go wrong with an oil-based mix for steak. Regardless of what your recipe states, it’s best to marinate meat overnight to avoid the flavours being overridden by the smoke of the barbecue. Fish and seafood on the other hand are better suited to just a few hours marinating.

Avoiding re-applying the marinade that’s been on sitting on raw produce onto cooked meat. So, make sure you reserve some of the marinade in a jar to baste your meat in while cooking.

Tip: Don’t add salt or citrus to your marinade until you’re ready to cook. When you’ve got your meat or fish on the grill, brush it every 10 minutes or so with the marinade to create a great caramelisation.

Making a complimentary barbecue sauce

Sauces are a great way to lift the flavour of your barbecue feast, whether it’s to drizzle over meat or mop up with a crusty piece of bread. Barbecued meat suits a sharp, peppery sauce that’s balanced with just the right amount of sweetness. Think a smoky BBQ with Worcestershire, garlic and paprika or a tangy tomato sauce with a hint of ginger, cinnamon and coriander.

Vegetables on the other hand taste great when drizzled with a lighter sauce like lemon, olive oil and minced garlic. Even a tzatziki, aioli or coconut sauce will give your veggies an extra lift. Try our grilled corn with a coconut lime dressing!

Sauces are relatively quick and easy to make. If you’re cooking your sauce, it’s best to do so a day or two before your barbecue to ensure you get the full flavour punch. Using high quality seasonings and ingredients will also make your sauce stand out. Need some recipe ideas? Here’s a few fool proof sauces to get you started.

Tip: Make sure you sterilise your jars before bottling your fragrant sauce and avoiding adding new batches to old.

Now time to barbecue like a boss! Let the fun begin!

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