5 tips to take your barbecue game to the next level

As you all know, I take food very seriously. In fact, I’ve always loved to cook. However, one thing I’ve admittedly been happy to give up the reigns to has been barbecuing.

Why? Not because I don’t enjoy it or think it’s a man’s job (believe me, I love a good hash mark as much as anyone else, and I don’t subscribe to gender roles). But because I know barbecuing is a whole ‘nother ball game. When I do something, I like to do it right; and if I don’t have the time to commit to something, I prefer not to do it at all.

I think back to the first time we fired up the barbecue this year. What were supposed to be yummy grilled veggies ended up looking more like a charred disaster! I told my husband we couldn’t barbecue anything again unless we first researched how to do it properly – temperature control, tools, techniques etc.

Thankfully, we were able to do so, with the extra time at home this year. We found a one stop shop for all things barbecue—the House of BBQ EXPERTS™️ website—which has been an amazing resource for barbecue products and information. We also got a brand-new barbecue from HOBE (House of BBQ EXPERTS™️), so then, there’s also that 😉.

napoleon prestige 500 barbecue

Now that we’ve had the BBQ and accessories we picked up from HOBE for a few weeks, I feel confident in being able to share this post with you. Mind you, we aren’t pitmasters, by any stretch. But we have become better than the recreational barbecuer. We’ve learned 5 simple tips, which I now want to share with you, that can help you take your barbecue game to the next level.

1. Invest in the Right BBQ

What “the right BBQ” means to one person may mean something completely different to someone else. I’m not advocating that you go out and buy top of the line. I think it really comes down to your individual circumstances and needs.

Napoleon prestige 500

We got the Napoleon Prestige® 500 Propane Gas Grill from HOBE and we are in LOVE. There are close to 200 different types of barbecues on the HOBE website (including major brands, like Napoleon and Weber). The barbecues range from charcoal to natural gas, to propane, like ours. There is truly a barbecue to suit all budgets on the site.

We don’t have a gas hookup on our rooftop, so propane was the way to go (the Prestige 500 actually comes in both propane and natural gas). If you love charcoal, you can have the best of both worlds with this barbecue by getting this charcoal and smoker tray.

Infrared side burner napoleon prestige 500

The Prestige 500 is made from high-quality stainless steel, and acts like a full outdoor kitchen. It’s equipped as a cart on wheels with 4 main burners, an infrared rear, and an infrared side burner. They pretty much thought of everything for it! Some of the other features we think are absolutely GENIUS are:

  • Easy assembly – Napoleon is actually known for this and they ship their grill head already assembled. All you pretty much have to do is assemble the bottom and then snap/screw the grill head on. Because who wants to spend hours assembling a barbecue, anyway?!
  • the JETFIRE ignition system guarantees start-up every time, so no fiddling with an ignition switch
  • the SafetyGlow Feature means the knobs glow red to indicate the burner is on
  • the SIZZLE ZONE side burner is so handy to sear meat or use as a separate cooktop for other things, when the main burners are in use
  • the WAVE cooking grids that are specifically designed to ensure even heating and to prevent smaller foods from slipping between the cracks (in other words, no more food casualties on the grill)

This barbecue punches well above its weight and I think would make any barbecue enthusiast very happy! We’ve been using it as often as possible, since getting it.

lighting smoke tub on barbecue

Lighting a smoke tube filled with wood pellets on the side burner to smoke meat on the barbecue

2. Try Different Cooking Techniques

Don’t just slap some burgers and sausages on the ‘barbie’ for direct cooking and call it a day. There are so many different cooking techniques you can use when barbecuing (our barbecue accommodates up to 8, in fact). For example, one of the biggest selling points of our barbecue was the heavy-duty rotisserie kit that came with it.

Have you ever tried to rotisserie on a barbecue? My friends, it is GLORIOUS! We’ve done chicken, Brazilian-style pineapple, pork, and will soon be trying our own döner, leg of lamb, and prime rib!

chicken kebabs on barbecue

Using direct heat to cook Middle Eastern style kebabs on flat metal skewers

smoking baby back ribs on barbecue

Smoking baby back ribs on the barbecue

We used direct heat to make Middle Eastern style kebabs on these metal skewers. We were also soooo excited to be able to smoke meat on the barbecue, without buying a standalone smoking unit. We bought a smoking tube and wood pellets separately. But you can find everything from smoker boxes for wood pellets to smoker boxes for wood chips, plus the wood chips and wood pellets, on the HOBE website.

3. Make Sure Your Spice Rub and Sauce Game are on Point

Spice rubs and sauces can be incredibly touchy subjects. There are a whole host of different opinions on what’s best. Without delving into this debate, suffice it to say that it comes down to personal preference. That being said, neither is something you want to neglect when barbecuing – because salt & pepper, alone, ain’t gonna cut it!

Did you know that some rubs are suitable for certain types of meat and not others? In my opinion, having the right spice rub for the job is absolutely key. What’s even better is having an all-in-one kind of rub, as opposed to having to buy and combine a variety of herbs and spices. This will save you shelf space, and more importantly, money.

House of BBQ Experts Kansas rub House of BBQ Experts Kansas rub

We got the HOBE Kansas spice mix which is ideal for slow-cooking. We used it to make smoked baby back ribs and I literally could not stop thinking about them for daaayyyysss afterwards!

House of BBQ Experts has their own line of about 20 rubs and sauces. Apart from their own line, they have an inventory of over 150 spice rubs, barbecue sauces, hot sauces, wing dusts, and more to choose from on their site! Whether you’re a Kansas City-style, Texas-style or North Carolina vinegar-style sauce lover, whether you like it hot or not, there is something for everyone.

4. Get your Meat Doneness Correct

Do you know what the 2 cardinal rules of barbecuing are?

  • Don’t overcook your meat – because nobody wants their meat to be tough, dry, and nutrient-less; and
  • Never, EVER cut into your meat to see if it’s done – this causes all the precious juices to run out.

The other thing you don’t want to do is open the lid to check the doneness constantly. As the saying goes, “If you’re lookin’, you ain’t cookin”.

meat thermometer

The best and most reliable way to check for meat doneness is to use a probe or thermometer. You don’t have to break the bank on one either. You can get as basic as this stainless steel thermometer or as high-tech as this Bluetooth probe.

5. Do Your Research and Learn from the Experts

As Otto von Bismarck once said, “Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others”. Over the years, I’ve seen countless rookie grilling mistakes being committed by friends and family. These mistakes often come at the cost very expensive cuts of meat, haha!

My take? Don’t be a maverick. Do your research first and defer to the experts. You can spend hours reading articles, finding recipes, or watching YouTube videos. Or, you could just head to the House of BBQ Experts website to find products, knowledge, and support in one place! Since the founders have pretty much dedicated their lives to perfecting grilling techniques, I trust HOBE as an authority in this area. Plus, it’s a Canadian company that I’m proud to support. Check out their blog for a range of topics, and their recipes too.

table of barbecue

Follow all 5 of these tips and you’ll be a pitmaster in no time! Do you have any additional tips of your own to share? If so, drop them below in the comments!

*This post was done in partnership with House of BBQ Experts. But as always, all opinions are 100% my own.