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How to barbecue like a boss

By Ben Bartlett 29/04/2016

Summer's coming! But before you start burning the bangers, follow chef Ben Bartlett's tips on getting to grips with the grill.

Scrubs up nice

Vinegar cleans a grill with next to no effort. Simply dilute white table vinegar with lukewarm water and spray on to the racks above and underneath. Leave to dry for 10 minutes, then scrub the racks with some folded tin foil or a wire brush.

Sounds fishy

My favourite item to barbecue is fish, because it's so quick. Chargrilled, steamed in foil or cooked on soaked wood (planking) – the options are endless! Mackerel and sardines work really well; all you need are fresh herbs and some oil – the flavour is fantastic.

Out of gas?

To check the level in a partially used gas bottle, boil some water, tilt the bottle and pour water on the side. Be careful not to pour it on your hand! Place your hand where you estimate the fuel level to be. The bit with fuel in stays cool while the rest will be hot.

Just desserts

Don't forget desserts. In-season bananas, peaches and pineapple are cheap and taste fabulous when cooked on the barbecue. For an adults-only pud, wrap a banana in foil and place on the grill. When it's soft to the touch, slice it open and add a splash of Irish cream liqueur. Simple but delicious!

Mist opportunity

Unsweetened apple juice applied with a garden misting sprayer will help keep chicken, beef, pork or lamb moist and give it a lovely caramelisation.

Bring on the brine

Brining meat or fish keeps it moist during cooking, helps it to cook quicker and packs in flavour. Make a simple brine from sea salt, water and seasoning such as wine, dill, garlic and peppercorns. The more delicate the protein, the less brining time it needs.

Spin doctor

When making kebabs, stab the meat or veggies with two skewers instead of one – no more spinning chunks of meat when it's time to turn it over! Don't forget to soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes beforehand to help keep them from burning.

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