23 April, 2024

Top Chefs Guide To Grilling This BBQ Season

As summer heats up and the BBQ grills switch on, explore our roundup of top tips from leading chefs. From how to achieve that classic smokey flavour, must-try marinades or tricks for spectacular sides, become king of the grill this summer.

Jack Stein – Chef Director at Rick Stein 

Fish on a BBQ is fantastic – make sure you marinade and cook in tin foil, as this will stop the skin sticking to the grill and retain the delicious flavour round the fish. Don’t forget vegetables either, there’s more to a BBQ than meat and veggies like lettuce or hispi cabbage taste great grilled with that smokey, charred flavour.  


Sofian Msetfi – Executive Chef at Ormer Mayfair by Sofian 

Achieve the perfect smokey flavour by adding wood to your BBQ; but be careful not to overdo as you don’t want an acrid taste. Try adding it slowly to let the flavour build gradually. Of course, you’ve got to add plenty of seasoning throughout – barbequed meat, fish and veg will stand up to any combination so don’t be afraid of experimenting.  


Theo Randall – Chef Patron at Theo Randall at the Intercontinental 

Don’t oil vegetables you’re grilling, as burnt oil will overpower the vegetables leaving an unpleasant aftertaste. The best way is to make sure your BBQ is the right temperature and grill the vegetables dry, then once cooked place them on a wire rack and marinate in some good olive oil, fresh lemon and herbs. Grill slowly too, so that any fat from meat doesn’t catch fire – a good BBQ should be glowing, not flaming. 


Gopi Chandran – Executive Head Chef at Sopwell House 

It’s important to use the right charcoal – I always use lump wood charcoal as it burns longer, evenly and lights easily. Once you light it, wait for the flames to die down. You are ready to grill when the embers are glowing.


Nick Yung – Head Chef at Straits Kitchen, Pan Pacific London 

Maintain a consistent temperature with a lidded BBQ, high-quality charcoal, and cooking meat indirectly, positioning it away from instead of straight over the hottest coals. I’d also recommend trying Durian on the BBQ – grilling the fruit makes the flesh moister, giving the fruit a creamier, sweeter, and slightly smoky flavour. 


Kerth Gumbs – Head Chef at Fenchurch, Sky Garden 

Marinade your meat ahead of time – I like to marinade mine at least 24 hours in advance to really let the spices penetrate the meat. Typically, I like to use a mix of chillies, thyme, garlic, spring onion, ginger, pimento, oil paprika & my homemade favourite Sazon. For shellfish, keep them in a slightly cooler spot for longer on the grill, to absorb more of the smoky flavour. 


Daniel Burrell – Executive Chef at The Montagu Arms in Beaulieu, New Forest 

I’m a strong believer in brining your meat before a BBQ. This pre-seasons the meat and keeps it nice and juicy. The best brine for me is 24hrs with a 10% sugar and 10% salt mix (I.e., 800ml water, 100g salt, 100g brown sugar.) Bring this mixture to the boil and leave to cool. Soak white meats in this such as pork and chicken for deliciously tender dishes. 

A secret hack of mine is to chuck some herbs like rosemary or thyme into the hot coals as you’re cooking the meats, which not only gives it a great flavour, but the aroma is like to make the neighbours jealous! 


Mike Reid – Culinary Director at Rare Restaurants (Gaucho & M Restaurants) and judge on Channel 4’s new Five Star Kitchen: Britain’s Next Great Chef 

Pimp up your salads with some barbequed fruits. For the best flavour and price, always go for what’s in season; some of my BBQ favourites are peaches, watermelon, mango, apple and pear. To cook, you’ll need a medium heat for the grill and be sure not to add any fat as you want the fruit to release its natural sugars and caramelise. 


Jonas Karlsson – Head Chef at Aquavit London, St James’s Market  

With BBQs, the key is to keep things simple as often it can be over complicated. I recommend having a sweet and sour glaze to brush the cooked meat with – it adds an amazing shine and incredible burst of flavour. It’s also a versatile and goes well with any meat so is a must for BBQ season. 



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