Sum­mer days mean lazy af­ter­noons and back­yard bar­be­cues with friends and fam­ily.

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We asked bar­be­cue and brew­ing ex­pert Jay Mor­gan from Hooked on Brew­ing and BBQ Ballina to name his top six bar­be­cue es­sen­tials to make your next bar­bie as stress-free and en­joy­able as pos­si­ble. Here’s his picks:


The num­ber one sum­mer bar­be­cue es­sen­tial is a meat thermometer, ac­cord­ing to Jay. “Be­ing able to know ex­actly what temp your meats are in­ter­nally and also your grill is para­mount to awe­some cook­ing,” he says. There are heaps to choose from in Jay’s store (which stocks the big­gest range in the whole of North­ern NSW) and you can go as low or high-tech as you like. “We have ev­ery­thing from the fast read probe to a four-probe wire­less unit that can be linked to your phone and tell you what’s hap­pen­ing from 300 me­tres away.”


The right utensils will make your bar­be­cue eas­ier and more en­joy­able, says Jay. Top three? “Tongs, heat­proof proof gloves and a grill lifter,” he says. Jay’s other must-haves in­clude pork claws (for per­fect pulled pork) and mari­nade in­jec­tors to add more mois­ture and flavour to meats.


Fuel is key to a bar­be­cue and its in­flu­ence on your food can be the dif­fer­ence be­tween good and fan­tas­tic, says Jay. The heat pro­duced by char­coal, for ex­am­ple, can help you achieve ex­cel­lent sears and crusts, while cook­ing over dif­fer­ent woods im­part that beau­ti­ful smoky flavour. “Clean heat beads, good Aussie hard­wood char­coal and Redgum can all pro­duce great re­sults, de­pend­ing what you’re af­ter,” says Jay.”the Redgum we stock is dou­ble split es­pe­cially for stick burn­ers/off­sets and is sourced from over the range to en­sure its well-sea­soned, ex­tremely dense and heavy due to its slow growth. “


These are an in­te­gral part of bar­be­cue whether you are sea­son­ing, fin­ish­ing, mar­i­nat­ing or bast­ing, says Jay. There is a huge range of rubs and sauces to suit all meats in­clud­ing fish and chicken and plenty of gluten free choices.


Gas? Char­coal? Pel­let? Stick burner? Choos­ing a bar­be­cue can be a daunt­ing task. Jay rec­om­mends talk­ing to an ex­pert to work out what best suits you, your space, your life­style and what you in­tend to cook on it. “Help­ing to se­lect the right equip­ment for our cus­tomers is part of the ser­vice we of­fer in store,and hav­ing brands like Hark, Big Green Egg, Green Moun­tain Grills, Kitchenaid and Proq gives our cus­tomers all the op­tions they could ever need.


OK, so per­haps not an es­sen­tial, but a kegerator (a re­frig­er­a­tor for a keg that can be used to pour cold beer on tap) will give you some se­ri­ous bar­be­cue cred. “You don’t have to home­brew to use these as they can be plumbed for ei­ther home brew or com­mer­cial beers. I don’t know any­one who en­joys a cold beer that wouldn’t love one of these for Christ­mas,” says Jay.

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