Four steps to creating the perfect BBQ area
We’re fast approaching summer and barbeque season. As the weather warms up, there’s no better time to make the most of your backyard with an outdoor kitchen.
An alfresco area is a staple for every New Zealand home – it adds a new dimension to how you entertain while enhancing the appeal of your property. With outdoor rooms continuing to be one of the biggest trends in home design, homeowners are looking for easy and affordable ways to spruce up this space.
Building an outdoor kitchen is a fantastic way to make the most of your alfresco area but this doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune. Smart selections on low-maintenance and multi-functional products will ensure you have the ultimate barbeque area in no time.
Start from the ground up
The first step is to reclaim some of your grassed area to pave a small courtyard. This will provide a solid foundation to place cooking equipment and furniture. Select a place that’s a good distance from your doors and windows to avoid smoke from the barbeque drifting inside.
An outdoor barbeque area can double as a dining space, so it’s important to use a paving product that is easy to maintain and can withstand high foot traffic. Concrete pavers are great as they’re hardwearing and withstand harsh elements. Consider a paver with a smooth surface – they’re easy to seal, clean and maintain over time.
Get your grill on
Whether you’re giving an existing barbeque area a much needed refresh or building an entirely new zone, there are a number of different things to consider.
The first is to bear in mind the space that you’re working with. If you have a small garden or courtyard, consider the scale of what you’re putting in it. If your garden is small, then it might benefit more from having the barbeque tucked away in a corner or against a wall.
If you’re lucky enough to have a large backyard, opt for the complete outdoor kitchen experience, featuring a built-in barbeque. Ensure that there is plenty of space for prep work, cooking, serving and cleaning. Installing a range hood or fan is also a good idea to avoid annoying the neighbours.
Once your grill is up and running, make sure you have all the right tools and cleaning supplies for easy maintenance. It’s recommended that you give your barbeque a good clean with warm soapy water after each use.
Get creative with built-in furniture
Space is at a premium so it’s important to avoid clutter at all costs. Extending the functional value of the products you use to create your alfresco courtyard is key. Garden walls can double as bench seating using masonry blocks – suitable for gatherings of all sizes. Clever lighting and heating products can also cater for intimate and more extravagant dinners as well as a casual ‘neighbourhood barbeque’.
Turn up the heat
When designing an outdoor space, including an appropriate heating and lighting solution is crucial for creating a comfortable ambience – all year round.
Portable gas heaters can do the job but in many cases, they’re hard to store and can become an eyesore. For a more modern approach, opt for a ceiling mounted heating and lighting option, such as the IXL Fresco Aurora Outdoor Heater.
The IXL Fresco Aurora Outdoor Heater combines ambient infrared heat, dimmable task lighting and coloured mood lighting in one cleverly designed unit. Its technology savvy and can be controlled through a free app via your smartphone, making it easy to set and change your heating and lighting preferences.
Once your outdoor dining space is ready, it's time to fire up the barbeque!
The Perfect Steak with Beer Onions
According to the experts at BeefEater barbecues, the secret to a perfect steak is to “sear it quick and rest it long”. The key to cooking high quality steak of average thickness (approximately 3cm) such as aged rib eye (scotch fillet), sirloin (New York cut) or tenderloin (fillet) steaks is to sear the meat quickly and rest it well before serving.
1. Brush both sides of the meat with a little vegetable oil and sear it quickly on a preheated hotplate or grill on medium to high for 2-3 minutes each side. The exact time will depend on the thickness of the meat and the degree of doneness required. Searing caramalises the surface for added flavour. Turn steaks when meat juices start to appear on the surface.
2. For a rare steak, remove after sealing and rest. For medium rare to medium, complete cooking by further resting the meat for a longer time (about 2 to 3 minutes) on a cooler part of the barbecue plate or grill, until it has reached the internal degree of doneness.
3. Avoid turning and handling the steaks too many times when searing and cooking. Brush with limited oil, marinade, or baste during cooking. Sprinkle with a little salt and freshly ground pepper just after searing (if desired).
4. Rest meat in a warm place, loosely covered with foil. Resting prevents excessive muscle shrinkage and moisture loss. It allows the meat fibres to relax, prevents dryness and results in a succulent steak with hot, evenly distributed pink juices for maximum tenderness.
To make beer onions to accompany your perfect steaks, saute red onions until golden brown, add a dash of mustard and a little lager beer and reduce until thick and rich. Serve a generous spoonful over each barbequed steak.
Images courtesy of Adbri Masonry and IXL Fresco.