Smoking without smokers, cleaning without chemicals and the mother of all campfire desserts.
By
Food Network

13 Sep 2017 - 10:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Sep 2017 - 10:32 PM

Use an egg carton to light coals

Want an express way to kickstart your coals burning? Pop an egg carton in the middle of your barbecue and surround it with charcoal pieces, popping a few in the egg holes, too. Then, light the carton and watch the paper turn into a fire accelerant. 

Use an onion to clean your BBQ

There’s more to these tearjerkers than meet’s the (weepy) eye. Rub half an onion (cut side down) straight onto your grill to loosen up grime. The best time to do this is after the barbecue has been cranked to high to burn down the residue. Then when it’s cool enough, rub it with the onion. No chemicals. No mess. Magic.

Peeling back the layers.

Grill fish on lemons

If you’ve ever thrown some fish on the barby, chances are you’ve lost half of it to the grill before. But when it’s done right, grilled fish is a fast, healthy, flavour-packed meal. Next time, slice lemons and place them straight onto the grill or BBQ (depending on your fish size, you may need a few slices). Then, pop your fish on top and cook to your liking. It will stop them sticking and impart some great smoky citrus in it, too – plus, the lemons minimise your cleaning afterwards.

Turn your BBQ into a pizza oven

While we all wait for the day when we can house a woodfire oven in our backyard (right behind the life-size water feature), your humble barbecue with a lid will stand in. Barbecues are great for cooking pizza as you can crank them much higher than a regular oven – pivotal for the all-essential blistered and bubbling slice. Place a pizza stone into your BBQ and preheat it for 30 minutes with indirect heat (so, not smack-bang in the centre) until it’s piping hot. Then, transfer your pizzas over and cook for a few minutes, checking them regularly. Handle with care – these stones are scorching.

This sourdough pizza base is chewy and flavoursome with a golden, crisp crust.

Use a rosemary “brush” to baste your meat

This chef's tip is a great hack for maximising flavour and keeping proteins moist. Make a rosemary ‘brush’ by tying some sprigs together with twine. Then, dip this into your marinade and continue basting your meat as it cooks. Genius!

Grease your meat, not the BBQ

This one’s for those who have lost brows before. It’s always a good idea to oil your protein rather than the grill – there’s less chance of spitting and out of control flames this way. This is also the best time to season your meat – don’t worry: you can add more later, too!

Make banana s’mores

Campfire desserts don’t come quicker (or more indulgent) than this. The skins serve as containers, making them pretty light on mess. More here.

Campfire toasted bananas

Keep meat moist with apple juice

The biggest sin you can commit on the barby is drying your meat out; sometimes it’s only a matter of seconds between cooked and killed. In America’s South, a mix of apple juice and apple cider vinegar is squirted from a spray bottle to ribs, chicken and pork to help them retain moisture as they cook. Spritzing this way at regular intervals (particularly for slower cooked cuts, like the ribs) imparts a great subtle sweetness, too.

American-style smoked ribs

Get all cheffy and serve up some smoked lemonade

Pitchers of this luscious lemonade won’t last. Slice some lemons and roast them lightly on the grill until the acid in them helps them smoke. Then, use these lemons in your traditional lemonade recipe to give it some serious smokiness. Look at you.

Use tea to smoke fish and poultry

This is a great one for fish and poultry. Make a pouch of tin foil and fill it with sugar, rice and tea. Place the pouch in the bottom of a pot and heat it. The sugar will caramelise, creating heat, while the rice will stop it from burning too quickly, and the tea will heat up creating flavour and smoke. Place a colander or steamer tray over the pouch to elevate whatever you are trying to smoke and cover with a lid or tin foil.

Lemon Myrtle Ice Tea

Lead image: American-style smoked ribs

Seasons 4 and 5 of Man Fire Food starts weeknights, 2 October, on Food Network. View our TV Guide to find out when episodes are on air, or catch-up on missed episodes online via SBS On Demand.

In related BBQ news
Hometown bar-b-que Chinese sticky ribs

Instead of a Memphis-style glaze, hit your ribs up with this glaze straight out of Chinatown. It works well on grilled boneless pork chops or chicken thighs as well.

How to cook with fire: A beginner's guide
To celebrate the return of Roger Mooking's Man Fire Food, we chat to chefs around the country about how to use this summer's hottest cooking tool: fire. Seasons 4 and 5 of Man Fire Food starts weeknights, 2 October, on Food Network.
Man Fire Food season 5
Roger Mooking's action-packed series celebrates the passion for building and cooking with fire, the season's hottest cooking trend. Starts weeknights, 2 October, on Food Network.