Once you understand the basic principles of covered cooking on your barbeque, baking and roasting is as easy as placing food in your oven. The only difference is that the flavours achieved from barbeque roasting are different and much richer than those achieved in your oven. Follow these few simple steps and you'll be on your way to success.
The Basic Technique
We call it indirect cooking, in which the burners directly under the food are not used. Instead, put the food you want to bake in the middle of the barbeque. Turn off the burner or burners directly below the food, leaving the remaining burners on low. Then close the lid to retain the heat and flavour. This way the underside of the food doesn't burn. The heat and cooking aromas wrap around the food cooking it slowly and evenly.
Step 1 - Getting Ready
Baking and roasting can be done on any covered (hooded) barbeque, be it gas or charcoal. First of all make sure you have everything you need to get started:
- Hooded barbeque
- Fuel (gas or charcoal)
- Roast rack or roast holder to hold the food
- An enamel drip pan or a cast iron baking dish to collect the juices
- Meat thermometer
Optionally, you can also use the warming rack as an extra grill for indirect cooking.
Preparing The Barbeque
A medium temperature is essential when roasting and baking.
- Preheat the barbeque by turning on all burners and closing the hood until the temperature reaches ‘hot' on the heat indicator. Timing will depend on the type and size of your barbeque. (Note: always ignite burners with hood open.)
- Position the roast on the barbeque. If you are placing the roast holder on the plate, use a drip pan to collect the cooking juices. Alternatively, replace the plate with a cast iron baking dish. Make sure that the plate or dish is left in the barbeque during pre-warming. If your barbeque has a warming rack, you may use it if extra space is required.
Time To Cook
- Make sure there is no heat directly under the food. On a gas barbeque, turn off the burners below the food. On a charcoal barbeque, make sure the coals are to either side.
- Maintain a medium temperature inside the hood. If you are using a gas barbeque, turn the remaining burners to low. If you are using a charcoal barbeque, turn the air slide to the low heat position.
- Leave the roast to cook for the required time. It is important not to open the barbeque too often to look at the meat. Doing so will add to the overall cooking time.
- Check the internal temperature of the roast with a meat thermometer prior to removing from the barbeque.
- Use the juices collected in the pan to make a beautiful barbeque gravy – just add a little cornflour, stir and heat gently.