National Barbecue Week: Seven Tips From Wolfgang Puck

The celebrated Hotel Bel-Air chef on how to make yours a scorcher.

  • First off, use really good quality charcoal and wood. Think oak wood and mesquite charcoal, and steer clear of briquettes because they just don’t give you the same flavour.


  • Visit your local farmers’ market or butchers for great quality fresh meat and vegetables, it will make all the difference to the end result. Look out for fruit that you can barbecue too, such as peaches and plums, which are ideal for livening up a salad or serve with ice cream for dessert.


  • Take meat out of the fridge 30 minutes before you start cooking and season it at the ready. Once cooked, allow time for the meat to rest as this will make sure it’s juicy. As a guide rest steak, fish and chicken for a quarter of its total cooking time.


  • Add a high quality finishing salt for an extra boost of flavour just before serving. Favourites include Balinese sea salt or Maldon sea salt flakes.


  • We love the rich smoky flavours and dry rubs of Texas style barbecues. This style of preparation really lets the meat shine. A favourite rub is simple yet delicious and is great with ribs, sausages and chicken. Simply mix ground black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika with some of your favourite dried herbs.


  • For an easy but impressive vegetarian main or side dish, grill an assortment of squash and add some baby patty pans, quinoa and a spicy salsa verde. It’s a really colourful showstopper that always gets a great reaction.


  • Always try to set aside a little extra time to make your own barbecue sauce from scratch. It’s the perfect accompaniment to barbecued meats and grilled vegetables, and it will make everyone will think you’re a pro. See a fool-proof recipe below.

Barbecue sauce recipe

Ingredients (for two quarts)

  • 4 onions
  • 8oz light brown sugar
  • 4oz Worcestershire sauce
  • 6oz canola or rapeseed oil
  • 8oz garlic powder
  • 2oz dried thyme
  • 4oz golden raisins
  • 16oz crushed fresh tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2oz fresh sliced garlic
  • 6oz tomato paste
  • 2oz chillies
  • 2oz toasted cumin seeds
  • 2oz toasted mustard seeds
  • 8oz red wine vinegar


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions and garlic until soft.
  2. Add the tomato paste, fresh tomatoes and spices. Cook until the spices release their wonderful fragrance.
  3. Mix in red wine vinegar followed by all the other remaining ingredients and add just enough water to cover it. You can always add more water later if the sauce gets too thick.
  4. Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 45 minutes, stirring regularly.
  5. Allow to cool and serve with your favourite barbecue dishes.