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DJ BBQ’s Top Tips for Novice Pit Masters: How to BBQ Right!

by Julia Pal

published on 2 July 2014

FoodTube star and Jamie Oliver’s mate DJ BBQ is the ultimate guru of the grill. What he doesn’t know about barbecues isn’t worth knowing. He’s got all the tips you need to make your grill-up go with a swing. Follow these simple rules and you’ll go from novice to gnarly old pit master in no time. Check out Jamie’s Food Tube: The BBQ Book by DJ BBQ for the only barbecue recipes you could ever need. 

From the book

1. Buy the best smoker/cooker/BBQ you can afford.

Or, go online and figure out how to make one.  You can make an offset firebox smoker with a propane tank. Barrel drums make great BBQs. Just make sure the drums weren’t used to carry toxic stuff or chemicals.

2. Try to use charcoal and not briquettes.

Many briquettes contain chemical binders.  If you do use these, then please make sure they have gone grey before cooking on them.  Otherwise they can taint the taste of your meat.

3. Always keep your BBQ/smoker clean. 

The hardest part about cooking slow and low is heat maintenance.  It’s like babysitting charcoal and wood.  You need your cooker to be as efficient as possible so keep it clean of ash, grease, and debris.

4. Use seasoned wood with a 17.5% or less moisture content. 

Try to use seasoned fruit wood at the beginning of your smoking process as the meat takes on the smokey flavour in the first couple hours of the cook.

5. Always use two pairs of tongs. 

If you are cooking on a BBQ you need two pairs of tongs.  One to handle the uncooked meat and a clean pair to deal with the cooked meat.  Cross contamination is not fun. Most food poisoning visits to the hospital happen in the summer due to bad BBQ’n.

6. Never ever serve warm beer at your BBQ!

I see a lot of people who don’t use coolers and ice when having outdoor BBQ’s.  They eat their meat with warm beer.  Invest in a cooler and throw ice on that beer.

7. Don’t get hasty with the BBQ sauce

Sugars burn over flames and charcoal. BBQ sauce has loads of sugar.  So, the pit master needs to apply the sauce near the end of the cooking process.  I usually paint my BBQ sauce onto the chicken about 10-15 minutes before it’s finished.

8. Using a gas BBQ kind of defeats the purpose. 

I understand people want the ease of cooking outdoors…..a gas bbq ticks the box.…but why bother coming outdoors if your fuel is the same thing as you got inside.  Stay indoors then!  Charcoal and woodsmoke give you better flavour.  But, if you already have a Gas BBQ….maybe invest in another one for the authentic experience.  Let’s look at the gas BBQ as a gateway toy to the real thing.  Like a micro scooter is to a skateboard.

Check out the recipe for DJ BBQ’s Rad Rum Ribs from Jamie’s Food Tube: The BBQ Book and get that BBQ smoking!


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