THE Merdeka Day weekend is long and if you are planning to have family and friends over, why not throw a barbecue party? You definitely want the food to be cooked to perfection. If you are not sure what to barbecue and how to start one, here are some helpful grilling tips and recipes.

Before grilling invest in good tools and always have safety in mind. Here is a must-have/do list:

1. Tong –  It must be easy to handle, sturdy and have a strong grip.

Use a good tong for barbecue.
Use a good tong for barbecue.

2. Temperature gauge – You need a thermometer as our fingers don’t tell temperature accurately and eating raw meat can be dangerous.

3. Water Temperature gauge – Grill closer to water source or have a bottle of water ready, just in case, the fire gets out of hand.

4. Fire starter – If you use a fire starter, let the fumes burn off first. Otherwise, every piece of your meat will smell like kerosene. To make the best fire starter, crumple a piece of paper towel and soak it with vegetable oil. Never use flammable liquid (kerosene, turpentine) to start a fire.

5. Check the wind direction before you light up your barbecue. You should stand facing away from the direction of the wind.

6. To make sure your barbecue does not taste the same, always start with vegetables before proceeding with fish/seafood, steak and lastly anything marinated such chicken or satay.

Grilling Meat Perfectly

1. Steak

– Always grill steak on a smoking hot grill to sear the outside but leave the inside, medium rare (Internal temperature: 135F or 57C).

Make sure the grill is smoking hot.
Make sure the grill is smoking hot.

– Thaw the piece of meat gently in a fridge overnight. Never microwave it. Most of the tips you get in YouTube for thawing are very good.

– To get the steak crisp on the outside and perfect medium on the inside, place the seasoned steak in the freezer for 30-40 minutes while it is being rested on top of a pair of chopsticks to allow cool air to reach both sides of the meat. Quick freeze allows extra moisture to evaporate from the surface and result in the crisp skin in steak.

2. Chicken/quails

– Allow the chicken to rest at room temperature before grilling.

– Choose the cooler part of the grill to place the chicken.

– Chicken is best grilled in a slow, even fire and not intense heat.

– The thickest part of the chicken (breast/thigh) must reach a temperature of 165 degrees F (75C). Raw chicken can be harmful.

– Always grill the skin side first to get the grill mark and the bony side later as it takes much longer to cook it.

3. Fish

– Unless you grill firm-flesh fish such as salmon or tenggiri, wrap the fish to avoid accidents and the fish falling apart. Besides using the baking paper or foil to wrap the fish, you can use banana, pandan (screwpine) or kunyit leaves. You can secure it with skewers or tooth picks.

Here are three mouth-watering recipes:

1. Grilled Eggplant with Tahini and Yogurt. Click here for recipe.


2. Grilled Rack of Lamb with Rosemary and Garlic Butter Sauce. Click here for recipe.


3. Grilled Quails with Chili/Orange Marmalade. Click here for recipe.


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