Gas Barbecue Basics for Beginners

This is my guide to the basics of gas barbecues and cooking on them for the beginner, I'll cover preheating, cooking and the cooking temperatures for different meats.

Created by Andy Hobson (Alumni) on Tuesday, 24th of June, 2014.
Updated on Friday, 2nd of December, 2016.

Gas Barbecues

Most people in the United Kingdom love a BBQ. As soon as there is a hint of sunshine, especially in the run up to a bank holiday weekend, local garden centres will be busy with people looking for a barbecue or an upgrade for their current model.

As soon as the weekend arrives every supermarket will be over run with hundreds of happy people in their summer wear and sunglasses stocking up on supplies for their weekend braai. Meats, drinks, snacks and extra garden furniture will all be on the shopping list.

Coal, Wood or Gas Barbecues, Which is Better?

So first things first, are traditionally fuelled BBQs such as wood or coal better than gas? Do they produce a better taste? This is a common discussion with many people believing that coals produce the 'barbecue taste' 

The experts don’t think so and neither do I, the way that barbecues work means that the flavour will be the same no matter what because of a simple three step process.

The food will cook on the open grill, the juices from the food fall onto the flame or coals below and then they will be burned or evaporate sending a flavour filled vapour back up to the food giving it a great taste. It isn’t the fuel that gives you the flavour it’s the vapourising of the cooking juices.

Pre-heating Your Barbecue

Before you put any food onto your BBQ you should always preheat it, so that the cooking surface has reached optimum cooking temperature. For best results lightly oil the cooking surfaces.

If your barbecue has no hood then turn all burners onto high for approximately 10 minutes, once the temperature is at the desired level, reduce the burner settings. For a barbecue with a hood, turn the two outside burners onto high and leave it for 8 minutes with the hood closed,  once the temperature reaches the desired level turn the burners down. 

I must take this opportunity to say that I advise you never to leave your BBQ unattended for safety reasons. If it’s cold or windy then the times above should be extended.

There are two ways you can cook on a barbecue, direct or indirect cooking. Direct cooking is where the heat is directly under the food being cooked.

Direct Cooking on the Griddle

When direct cooking foods with plenty of fat content you should use the griddle, as foods are normally cooked in a frying pan such as bacon, thin steaks, fish fillets and tomatoes.

To help foods retain their natural juices and a great flavour, you are best to cook them slowly on a moderate to medium heat. If the heat is too high, the food could be burnt on the outside but raw inside. If you cook with a hood which is down then the burners can be left on a lower heat.

Direct Cooking on the Grill

This is the most common way that Australians barbecue their meat, it retains the true barbecue taste and flavour. Usually thinner cuts of meat and fish that cook quickly are sucessful done this way, thicker cuts can be cooked using this method mixed with an indirect method.

Lightly oil the grill before lighting your Gas BBQ. Then after preheating, once it is hot, place the food directly onto the grill to quickly sear and seal in the flavour and juices.

Indirect Cooking

You can only indirect cook if you have a roasting hood, this is because there is no direct heat under the food, rather it cooks by the heat circulating around it. It is similar to a conventional oven and is ideal for roasts, vegetables and whole fish.

Indirect cooking is also great for thick cuts of meat and a combination of both indirect and direct cooking will give you the best flavour and texture.

Cooking Temperatures for Meat

The safest way to test that meat is cooked is by using a meat thermometer. Below is a list of meats and the temperatures they should be when cooked at different levels. For the best reading always insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat and make sure that it doesn’t touch any bones.







Rare 60°C / 140°F N/A Rare 60°C / 140°F Rare 60°C / 140°F N/A N/A
Medium 70°C / 160°F Medium 70°C / 160°F Medium 70°C / 160°F Medium 70°C / 160°F N/A N/A
Well Done 75°C / 165°F Well Done 75°C / 165°F Well Done 75°C / 165°F Well Done 75°C / 165°F 85°C / 185°F 90°C / 195°F

Leave the Meat to Rest

When you cook the meat the juices are forced towards the center of it, when you turn it over the same happens again, this gives the middle of the meat plenty of juice, cutting it straight away means all of those juices run out and onto your cutting surface and the flavour is lost.

By leaving the meat to rest this allows the juices to slowly make their way back to the out edges of the meat giving you an overall juicy, flavourful taste.

Further Information

If you are looking to buy a new BBQ, you can view a wide range of Gas Barbecues on the Gardensite website.

Read our Blog: What Type of Barbecue Should I Choose

Related Articles

Top Ten Pieces Of Equipment For A Forest School

Top Ten Pieces Of Equipment For A Forest School

Forest Schools are inspiring places, designed to give children the opportunity to develop confidence and increase self-esteem in natural woodland. Nathan James Dodd suggests ten items that will useful in such an environment.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Friday, 20th of May, 2016.

Autumn Covers For Garden Furniture

Autumn Covers For Garden Furniture

When the weather becomes too cold and damp to sit outside or host a barbecue it's time to safeguard your garden furniture, Nathan James Dodd reviews the covers that offer protection from wind, rain and snow until next year.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Thursday, 15th of October, 2015.

Next Year's Gardening Trends Revealed At Glee

Next Year's Gardening Trends Revealed At Glee

One of the main reasons for our buying team to attend Glee 2015 has been to gain an insight into the future, here Nathan James Dodd outlines what is currently trending in the gardening industry.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Wednesday, 16th of September, 2015.

Our Review Of La Hacienda Wood Fired Ovens

Our Review Of La Hacienda Wood Fired Ovens

The increasing trend for eating and entertaining outdoors seems set to continue and La Hacienda wood fired ovens, that can be used to cook and grill an impressive range of food, have caught the attention of Nathan James Dodd.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Friday, 28th of August, 2015.

comments powered by Disqus


View RSS Feed


Andy Hobson (Alumni)

former Social Media Co-ordinator

View Profile

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

Poinsettias Now Available From Our Garden Centre

Poinsettias Now Available From Our Garden Centre

With Christmas rapidly approaching, our New Oscott Garden Centre has just taken delivery of that most seasonal of plants – the Poinsettia. These are David Hall's tips on to how to keep these beautiful plants at their colourful best.

Author: David Hall

Written by David Hall.
Published on Thursday, 8th of December, 2016.

GardenSite Donates Christmas Tree To Hospice

GardenSite Donates Christmas Tree To Hospice

Our garden centre has been part of the local community for over 60 years, so when one of our partners, David Coton, received a request to donate a Christmas tree to a nearby hospice, he had no hesitation in helping them out.

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Wednesday, 7th of December, 2016.

How To Choose A Real Christmas Tree

How To Choose A Real Christmas Tree

Many people believe that Christmas would not have the same festive feel without the scent of a 'real' Christmas tree. They're naturally fresh, giving off a lovely aroma, and here Martyn Loach gives advice on which ones to buy..

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Tuesday, 6th of December, 2016.

Premier Christmas Lights

Premier Christmas Lights

There's a huge selection of Premier Christmas Lights, and it's no wonder why they are market leaders judging by the variety and innovation that's on offer. This is Andy Taylor's guide to their range of top quality lights and decorations.

Author: Andrew Taylor

Written by Andrew Taylor.
Published on Monday, 28th of November, 2016.