Master the art of the burger

Chef Sean Connolly shares his top tips for hosting the best BBQ lunch this summer

There’s nothing better than heading into your backyard, firing up the grill and gathering loved ones around for a summer BBQ. Here, BeefEater has teamed up with Sean Connolly, chef and BBQ enthusiast, to share his BBQ checklist and tips to help you nail your next outdoor get-together.

1. Make sure you have the right tools

Sean says: My go-to tools for the ultimate BBQ session are a strong wire brush for cleaning down between courses and vegetable spray oil. I always put a delicate light spray of protection across the grills and plates to prevent food from sticking.

Tip: You always need to oil and season your food before it goes onto the grill. However, don’t go overboard – the less seasoning you use, the easier the clean-up is later.
2. Welcome drinks

Sean says: I love fun cocktails in the summer! Especially retro drinks with good quality produce, like fresh young coconuts and ripe Bethonga pineapples. Mix that up with some white rum and you have one delicious summer drink!

Tip: Place your whole pineapple on the resting rack and allow it to soften – it will be easier to slice! I love using sliced and grilled pineapple as a cocktail ingredient – hello Pina Colada.
3. Simple starters

Sean says: The trick to hosting a BBQ is to have simple, crowd-pleasing starters pre-prepared and ready to go when your guests arrive. My go-to recipe is prawn saltimbocca and grilled peaches, burrata and a pistachio pesto – this goes down an absolute treat at parties! Recipe below.

Tip: Always cook the saltimbocca prawns on the flat plate or ‘la plancha’ and cook up your peaches on the grill bars and cook until tender.Banner image.
4. The hero dish

Sean says: My absolute favourite hero dish to cook for my backyard BBQ’s is a large, show stopping T-bone steak. It looks impressive and feeds a crowd. Just pair with some simple sides – think fresh salads and duck fat potatoes (see next tip).

Tip: Buy a large T-bone steak from your local butcher (around 1kg usually is the right amount for the dish) which has a large bone base to stand on. Stand it loud and proud on the grill and the bone will act as a heat chimney which will send radiant heat through the bone and help the meat evenly through the centre. Extra tip - I like to cook this dish on a low heat as I find it achieves the best result and consistent cook.
5. Don’t skimp on the sides

Sean says: My favourite BBQ side (and my ultimate go-to) are duck fat potatoes. In my opinion, you just can’t beat the taste of a potato scallop cooked on the BBQ.

Tip: Boil your potatoes until they are super soft, then crisp them on the flat plate on a low heat and add a drizzle of duck fat over the top. Add a whole garlic and salt for extra flavour.
6. Something sweet

My top three favourite desserts to cook on the BBQ would have to be pineapples, bananas (that fun dish we all remember from the 70’s) and peaches. Served with a sorbet or ice cream there’s nothing better in summer.

Tip: I like to wrap my bananas in a combination of baking paper first and then tin foil before I cook on the BBQ to trap all the flavours in. I call it ‘BBQ Origami’.
Sean Conolly