Magic of lid down barbecuing
Did you know that all Weber barbecues have been specifically designed to cook with the lid down? If you are a Weber owner, and are cooking with the lid open, read on to find out why you should close that lid.
The magic of lid down barbecuing began back in 1952, when George Stephen invented the very first Weber barbecue, the Weber Kettle. George loved to barbecue but was dissatisfied with the flat top brazier style barbecues, the only barbecue available at the time. One day he came up with an idea to create a barbecue with a lid. When George cooked on his invented barbecue with a lid, it was the very day that George discovered the incredible benefits lid down cooking offered.
Why should I cook on my barbecue with the lid down?
We cannot preach enough the benefits cooking with the lid down offers. The food cooks quicker, you will use less gas, your food will be juicier, you will have less flare ups and you will be able to use your barbecue like an oven to roast or bake. But the single most important benefit, is that your food will have the most amazing barbecue flavour.
How does cooking with lid down create flavour?
Imagine a steak cooking on your barbecue. As the steak cooks the juices and fats will drip through the cooking grill, then fall onto the charcoal or Flavorizer Bars™. The fats and juices sizzle, smoulder and then turn into smoke. This smoke is flavour. By cooking with your lid down you are trapping the smoke inside your barbecue and cooking your food in a cloud of flavour; resulting in food with a beautiful smoky barbecue flavour that you just can’t get with cooking on an open barbecue, frying pan or oven.
How does barbecuing with the lid down lock in the meat’s juices?
To explain this one, we need to talk about different types of heat. Again, we are going to imagine a steak cooking on your barbecue. Your steak is cooking over direct heat. The intense radiant heat from the fire is searing your steak as it sits over the direct heat. The conductive heat from the cooking grills is branding your steak with grill marks. By cooking with the lid down another type of heat is created, convection heat. The heat from the fire bounces off the lid and body of the barbecue which circulates around the food (like a convection oven), this convection heat essentially roasts the top of the steak whilst the other side is searing over direct heat. As the top of the steak is roasting, all sides are being sealed locking in the juices, resulting in a juicy steak.
Can I use my Weber Barbecue like an oven to roast or bake?
Absolutely, as demonstrated above you can create convection heat thanks to the design of the barbecue and the ability to cook with the lid down. In order to use your barbecue like a convection oven to roast or bake, you will need to set your barbecue up for indirect cooking (please refer to your barbecue’s handbook for specific information). Indirect heat is where the fire or burners are to one or both sides of the food. The food sits above an unlit section of the barbecue. The heat circulates round and round the food, similar to cooking in an oven. So you can roast anything like whole chicken, roasts, whole fish, or even bake things like breads, cakes and pastries in your barbecue.
How does cooking with the lid down help me save gas?
Because you are cooking with your lid down, the heat from the fire isn’t escaping out into the open air; therefore your grills will stay hotter and the barbecue will work efficiently. Your food does cook quicker which means your barbecue is fired up for less time, saving gas. For example, if you are cooking your steak, it is searing on one side and roasting on the other, it is cooking quicker and more evenly than it would on an open barbecue.
How do I prevent flare ups on my barbecue?
By cooking with the lid down, less oxygen is inside your barbecue which means that the chance of flare ups is reduced. As long as your barbecue is cleaned, the chance of flare up is minimal.
At Weber we have a saying, ‘if you’re looking you ain’t cooking’. Now that you know all the benefits to cooking with the lid down, you can see that you really aren’t getting the best out of your barbecue if you’re cooking any other way.
For more recipes, inspiration and all things Weber, follow us on Facebook.