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Cooking Outdoors 101: How To Do It Successfully

Summer is almost here: Are you ready for some cooking outdoors? The tools we use to prepare and cook food outside is different that what we use indoors, and so requires a slightly different skill set.

As Summer approaches, the barbecue beckons. Cold beer, balmy Summer nights and sizzling food are all reasons that barbecues are something we return to time and again. But unless they’ve hosted, few people realize the skill and effort that goes into cooking outdoors. With a changeable temperature, difficult equipment, and sometimes several guests to cater for, it can be a major feat. But pull it off, and you’re a neighborhood hero.

There are few better sensations than sinking your teeth into a hearty, flavorful meal that you’ve cooked yourself. If you’re a seasoned pro or want to give outdoor cooking a try, you can always benefit from tips. Follow the suggestions below and you will never go far wrong.

Know Your Methods for Cooking Outdoors

Cooking outdoors can be as rustic as over a fire on a stick. Or as extravagant as on a state of the art barbecue complete with luxury accessories. Some ingredients may even require some oven time during the day and then will later crisp up to perfection outdoors. Whatever your method, know it well. Consider what ingredients will suit your meal and how to get the best flavor effect. It can be tempting to think of outdoor cooking in terms of sheer spectacle. But the fact is that we want great tasting food, no matter how it was cooked.

Stone grill cooking is gaining popularity for both its style and substance. Food looks inviting and attractive while sizzling in plain sight on the grill. But the stone grill method also achieves succulent, tasty results. Investigate methods of outdoor cookery and never be afraid to experiment.

Cover Your Food

This isn’t a glamorous or exciting tip and that’s probably why it is so often overlooked. But covering your food before and after cooking is an essential part of achieving great results outdoors. Hygiene can be difficult to manage outdoors. We should always ensure that our utensils and equipment have been thoroughly cleaned and then kept in a clean area. There is no sense in cleaning utensils but then leaving them on a dirty outdoor bench, for example. But our food should be kept equally hygienic before serving. Leave ingredients in the refrigerator or indoors for as long as possible before needing them. If they have to be close at hand, then keep them in a sealed container. Servings can be covered by extra plates or tin foil. It may not look pretty and stylish. But it ensures that no-one leaves sick. Only the flies will go hungry!

Give Yourself Enough Time for Cooking Outdoors

It is a common mistake to think we can slap something on the grill and it will soon be cooked. The nature of being outdoors can mean that a well-ventilated area distributes the heat. We do not get the same results as we would from using a sealed oven, for example. Things can take longer and certain ingredients should be cooked slowly to achieve the tastiest results. We can cook some things ahead of schedule or begin them indoors. We can always mix a few Summery drinks for any impatient guests too!

Use A Variety of Ingredients

Outdoor cooking isn’t just for meat, fish and steaks. We should consider all the flavor possibilities we can unlock. We can create marinades for tofu, grilled fruit, and crunchy vegetables. Not only are these better for the waistline, they pack a major flavor punch. Give your meal a taste of Summer and added dimension by using a wide variety of ingredients.

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About the author

Carma Spence has been experimenting in the kitchen since she was four years old and loves trying out new recipe ideas. She is the author of Bonkers for Bundt Cakes and Your Perfect Pie, as well as author and contributor to several more non-food-related books. With Carma's Cookery, she is taking her passion for empowering people and blending it with her passion for cooking, gift-giving and entertaining.