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Lighting & Controlling The Heat 

"Is it lit, yet?!......."
 
Swindon BBQ guide - lighting the barby
....is an often heard phrase at a barbecue, usually accompanied by a scrum of blokes around the barby itself all looking at the unlit coals giving their ten-pence worth of advice to the chief fire lighter.

Sound familiar? Well, fear not!
 
Lighting a barbecue is a lot easier if you prepare properly, be patient and follow our step-by-step instructions below.

Lighting:
 
Choose Your Charcoal
 
Brigettes
You can't have a barby without some charcoal, but make sure its the best quality you can afford and it's DRY - even the most expert barbecue lighter can't make flames if it's damp (ie) kept in shed for 15 years.
 
We recommend charcoal briquettes which are not only the most cost-effective, but also retain the heat better than lumpwood charcoal which, although easier to light, can burn out quickly.
 
You should find some on sale at your local petrol station.

Spread Out A Layer Of Foil
 
To reflect the heat and to make cleaning easier, spread a layer of tin foil at the base of the barbecue.

Arrange The Firelighters
 
To help light the barbecue, arrange some firelighters in the base of it and then spread the charcoal over the top, to a depth of about 3"/7.5cm.

Lighting a BBQ
Light It, Then Leave It!
 
Carefully light the firelighters with long matches or a taper and then go and fix yourself a drink while the barbecue warms up. Don't rush the process by piling on the charcoal too soon - just be patient. The coals will soon start to take, with perhaps a little fanning helping the process on the way.

When To Start Cooking
 
After about 30/40 mins the coals should begin to turn into a grey/white ash indicating the barbecue is the right temperature to start your cooking. And for those still in any doubt - there shouldn't be any flames! Now simply spread out to hot coals to avoid any hot spots and you're ready to get started!

Oil The Grill
 
To avoid sticking, give the grill a quick pasting with oil before placing it over the coalslace a well oiled grid over the coals ready for cooking. To add more coal, don't pile it in the centre, simply place it carefully around the edges of the barbecue with tongs and leave them to catch the heat and come up to temperature.
 
Controlling The Heat:

Now, it's one thing lighting the barby, but it can be another thing controlling the heat!

Swindon BBQ
Well done!:
Get the heat right and you'll enjoy
burgers cooked to perfection
Adjust The Height Of The Grill
 
It sounds simple, but the number of people who turn their sausages into a charcoal because they cook them too close to the heat is just amazing!
 
The head chef should avoid rushing the cooking process and ignore those who think barbecue is short for fast-food by placing the grill at least 4"/10cm from the hot coals and only cooking closer to the heat for searing or flame grilling steak.

Push The Coals Apart
 
To reduce the heat or to make it more even across the grill. Pile up the coals up to increase the heat.

Air Vents
 
Should be opened to make the barbecue hotter and closed to reduce it. Giving it a good fan for a couple of minutes should also do the trick if you feel the barby is losing its heat.
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