1. Start with a pristine cooktop. Even if you left your barbecue clean pre-winter, it could have accumulated dust, spiders and other things that won’t enhance your food offerings.
- Check the gas bottle. If it looks rusty or damaged in any way, replace it. Ask your local council for ways to dispose of the old cylinder safely.
- Check the fittings for leaks, including the hose and connectors, by spraying on a solution of soapy water and looking for escaping bubbles.
- Look over your barbecue fittings such as the grill and flame tamers to ensure they are in good condition, and order replacements if not.
- Make sure the gas cylinder is turned off and give the tray, grills and hotplate a good scrub with hot, soapy water. Rinse well and allow to air dry. Spray a light coating of cooking oil over the (cold) grills and wipe off any excess with paper towel.
- Clean the outside of the barbecue and replace the fat absorber. Exchange the old hotplate liner with a new one, and if your barbecue has volcanic rocks, replace them.
- Maintain the barbecue by cleaning the plates after every cooking session, and replace the fat absorber regularly to prevent fat flare-ups.
2. Add some accessories to take your grilling beyond steak and snags. Try these:
- Pop in a smoker box to give your gas barbecue cooking a delicious, wood-fired taste.
- Use skewers! Metal reusable ones or wooden ones, pre-soaked in water prior to cooking, are brilliant for kebabs. A winner at parties.
- Beautiful roasts can be cooked to perfection in a hooded barbecue with a roasting rack and tray. Use a digital cooking thermometer for perfect results.
- Use a wire frame to grill whole fish or a rib rack for – umm, ribs.
- Invest in a pizza stone to transform your barbecue into a pizza oven – or look to a pizza box for cooking pizzas, baking biscuits, roasting fish and more.
- Plant up a selection of herbs in a pot ready to snip and add to your cooking, and place nearby.
3. Expand your culinary horizons. There are all sorts of things that can be cooked on a barbecue. A few ideas:
- Marinades are your sous-chef for meat, fish and veggies, helping you deliver ever-tastier dishes.
- Use a covered barbecue to bake smores – it takes away the fun of losing your marshmallows in the campfire, but who cares?
- Grill witlof as a base for a chef-worthy Smokey Caesar salad.
- Use a grill basket to toast olives as a piquant addition to a plate of antipasti.
- Thread pineapple cubes on skewers and grill for a divine dessert.