How do you light a charcoal BBQ? Here's our step-by-step guide to firing up your grill

AS the weather hots up its the perfect time for a flame-grilled burger or two.

Here are some top tips if you are using a charcoal BBQ, to make sure you heat it up properly.

How to light a charcoal BBQ

Here’s a step-by-step guide to nailing your barbecue technique on the day…

Choose your spot wisely – it should rest on a flat, even surface away from any bushes – and get a bucket of water ready nearby, just in case.

Remove the grill from the barbecue and add a good layer of charcoal to the bottom, then scrunch up some newspaper into balls and place in the pile.
If needed, add a bit more coal to the pile to cover some of the newspaper
Pour lighting gel over the coals and use long matches or a barbecue lighter to light the barbecue in a number of places.
Leave the barbecue for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the coals are white.
When the flames have died down and the coals are pale in colour you are good to add the grill back on to start cooking.

How do you know when food is cooked on a barbecue?

When cooking food on a barbecue you should add oil to the food and not the grill, to prevent it sticking.

If you have food that cooks at different times to each other, you can stagger adding them the grill, or create a split level fire, with one side having more coal and being hotter, e.g. for meats.

Flip items as you go to ensure they cook throughout and use different utensils for cooked and raw meat.

Don’t press down on your burgers or chicken when a spatula when you are cooking as this will remove the juices.

To test if meat is cooked, you should invest in a thermometer to stick in. For reference, 50C is usually considered rare, 60C is medium and 70C is well done.

Allow your food to rest for five to ten minutes after cooking so the juices inside can settle.

How to keep kids safe when using a barbecue

Kids are naturally interested in fire and accidents happen if they get too close when they are playing.

Children should always be supervised when a barbecue is lit, and they should be warned about the dangers.

If they wish to play in the garden, consider getting an adult to take them to the park so they can be out of harm’s way and work up an appetite for the food.

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