Tip #7 – Planning your cook – 30 Days to better BBQ

So far in 30 days to Better BBQ we’ve covered choosing the right fuel for your BBQ, lighting it and how to monitor and control your temperature so you are almost ready to cook. To round off week one Nathan from kungfubbq.co.uk has given us a tip on being prepared for a cook.


After a few minutes browsing Nathan’s website, his passion for food becomes clear and the variety of different food he cooks never fails to impress. You can follow Nathan on Twitter (@kungfubbq), you won’t find a nicer guy to chat to and ask for advice.


This tip is golden and one that I could probably put into practice a little more!


Being prepared for a Cook


Many thanks to James for asking me to be a part of “30 days to better BBQ”.


Main tip -Like a good cub scout: “Be prepared”


My wife and I have a great love of food and have cooked a lot since we met 12 years ago. Whilst my wife is a great cook who can make up recipes from scratch, I am not a confident cook. I can, however, achieve good results from carefully following a recipe. The methods I have used to help me become a better cook and build my confidence have also helped me improve my BBQ skills. This in turn helps me relax and enjoy the cooks more.


My wife plans our meals and does the food shopping in our house. I always like to cook a couple of times a week but until recently I never knew what dishes I should be doing. I have loads of cookbooks but it’s hard to know where to find the recipes that come to mind, so I started going through them all and listing the cooks I wanted to do in a word doc. I now have over 100 things I want to create on the BBQ in a single list with the book name and page against each item. I just pick out 2 or 3 dishes each week, note the ingredients we need from the food shop and order the meat online. You can see from my blog that I have cooked a lot of different meals this year and have only repeated burgers so far, the “cook list” has really helped to achieve this.


The night before I cook I do as much preparation as possible. I line up everything I need (this ensures I definitely have all the ingredients), chop, slice, make sauces and, if it’s a complicated cook with loads of side dishes, I create a timeline ticking steps off as I go. I used to do this with roast dinners to make sure I got everything ready at the same time and it works well on big BBQ cooks too.


On the day I ensure everything is set up before I start cooking. Any final prep work gets completed and I ensure all tools and equipment are to hand. Being able to just focus on the cooking and plating up at the end reduces any stress and lets me enjoy the cook more.


Once all the hard work is done and I have enjoyed my food, I take some notes on what went well and what I would change next time. That’s why I started my blog to keep those notes in one place. It’s amazing the difference it has made to my confidence to know that I can learn from every single cook I do, and in turn, I am producing much better quality food and am much more chilled on the day.


I hope this helps someone else to relax and build on their BBQ cooking


Told you it was Gold!


You may have heard me talking about a BBQ journal before to keep notes on all your cooks including setups, recipes, temperatures, timings and anything else that may be of use during a cook. I always have my notepad open on the kitchen table during a cook so I can scribble down quick notes.


Nathan has taken this one step further with his website and posted his notes for everyone to see whilst making a permanent record for himself.


Planning out your cooks and doing as much prep work ahead of time keeps you relaxed when it comes to the actual cooking. When you are pushed for time, the last thing you want is to be running around looking for an ingredient or your temperature probe.


A huge thank you to Nathan for helping out with 30 Days to better BBQ and for sharing such a valuable tip. Remember to visit Kungfubbq.co.uk to see all Nathan’s cooks and follow him on Twitter @kungfubbq


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