Sarah Glover, one of our favourite chefs and Traeger ambassador, shares with us 10 genius ways to help boost your backyard barbecue.
One of the things that the talented chef has learned is that even the humble barbecue can be elevated and turned into a stylish gathering. If you love entertaining at home and enjoy an al fresco meal make sure you follow some, or all, of Sarah Glover's great guides to turning your Sunday barbie into an affair to remember. This of course doesn’t mean turning a backyard barbecue into a 5-star dining experience, however, if you’re looking to go that extra mile and create a lunch that your guests will never forget, then here are her top 10 tips to boost your next BBQ gathering.
Prep before guests arrive
One thing I recommend to grillers, new and old, is that you can’t do any bigger favour to yourself than preparing the night before. Do any shopping, chopping or marinating before your guests arrive to save time and stress, and allow yourself to enjoy your own barbecue.
Choose your meat
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a classic steak and sausage grill-up, but I think we can do a little better than that. Why not accompany your classic meats with some grilled fruit or veggies? Or try grilling something you haven’t before, like a whole chicken or a nice piece of fish.
Don’t forget the seasoning
This step is crucial to taking any BBQ to the next level. Take some time to choose a marinade or rub to season your meat, catered to the type of protein you’re serving up. I can’t go past Traeger’s Signature Rub because it’s such a classic. No matter your meat, this smoky, garlic and chilli flavour just takes every dish to the next level.
Select your sides
Perhaps you don’t need reminding, but serving up the same garden salad with every meal can get a little boring at times. Select sides to coincide with your main dish, why not try a fresh tomato salad, or some roasted veggie skewers, or even some buttery corn on the cob.
Let your meat rest
When it comes to making the most out of flavour remove your meat from the grill a little early and let it continue to cook on its own. 10-15 minutes is plenty, and allows your meat to retain the moisture it might have lost during the grilling process.
Set the atmosphere
Grilling creates a lovely sense of community, so establishing a nice setting is a sure way to boost the overall experience. Hang some lights, turn on your favourite playlist and add a candle or two to your table to easily transform the area.
Spruce up your table
Similarly, retire your plastic tablecloths and paper plates for a colourful sheet, printed napkins and a cohesive dining set. No matter the meal, elevating your tablescape can always be sure to boost any dining occasion.
Create a new cocktail
Are you the hostess with the mostest? Why not create a new signature cocktail for the night? Add your favourite ingredients to a communal jug and even name it after yourself for something fun, and a little different to your usual glass of wine.
Never neglect dessert
You’re so close to the best backyard BBQ, don’t spoil the night by cracking open some chocolate and calling it dessert. I even use my Traeger Pro 575 to make dessert thanks to it’s versatility of grilling, smoking and even baking. In the past I’ve whipped up a chocolate cake, apple crumble and even S'mores for a delicious treat certain to wow any guest.
Add an activity
Now I know not everyone is a fan of playing a game at dinner, but hear me out, I really think there is no better way to create some fun memories while you wait for your meal than whipping out an old fashioned deck of cards or game of choice, plus it's fun for the whole family.
Want to try out something new on your grill? Try my Smores!
Cooking time 15 min
Prep time: 15-20 min
Makes: 16 cookies
1 1⁄4 cups (110g) rolled oats
1 1⁄4 cups (110g) desiccated coconut
1 cup (150g) plain flour
150g unsalted butter
1⁄4 cup (90g) golden syrup
1 cup (220g) raw sugar
1⁄2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup vanilla marshmallows sliced into three round discs
1 block of chocolate broken into pieces
Preheat your Traeger Grill (using cherry wood) to 180°C.
Combine the oats, coconut, flour and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Set aside. Place the butter, golden syrup and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Bring to a simmer and cook for a further 1-2 minutes until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, cool slightly, then add the bicarb soda and 1 tbsp water. Stir to combine, then pour over the oat mixture.
Using a wooden spoon, combine butter and oat mixture. Using 1 tbsp mixture each, roll into 16 equal-sized balls. Divide between two baking paper-lined baking trays, leaving 3cm between each.
Flatten biscuits slightly, then bake for 8 minutes until the top tray is slightly golden, add the discs of marshmallows on top with a few pieces of chocolate. Cook for a further 6-8 minutes until all biscuits are golden. Remove from the grill and cool on a wire rack.