The Essential AGA Guide to Outdoor Cooking

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AGA Outdoor Grill in outdoor kitchen setting

Although there's little as unpredictable as the British weather, spring and summer are  still a time when many of us are thinking about uncovering the outdoor grill or BBQ and inviting friends and family around for an afternoon or evening of good food.  

If it’s your first time preparing meals outside, our outdoor cooking guide will provide you with some valuable advice to ensure you get off to the best of starts. While for more experienced cooks, our tips will act as a refresher for outdoor cooking.

Shropshire Lad cooking on the AGA Outdoor Grill Getting Started with Outdoor Cooking

Outdoor cooking begins with selecting the right equipment. Your choice between a gas or charcoal grill or BBQ will significantly influence your cooking style. 

Gas grills and BBQs are known for their convenience, offering quick heat-up times and precise temperature control. They are ideal for those who want to enjoy a meal without spending too much time on preparation and cooking. 

Choosing Your Grill

When selecting a grill, consider the size of your outdoor space and the number of people you typically cook for. Larger grills offer more cooking space, but take up more room and use more fuel. Smaller grills are more portable and easier to store, but might not be suitable for large gatherings.


Essential Accessories

No matter which type of grill or BBQ you choose, certain accessories are essential. A good set of grilling tools, including tongs, a spatula and a meat thermometer, is crucial.

Gas grill users should always have a spare propane tank on hand.

Mastering the Basics

The key to successful outdoor cooking is understanding the basics. This includes knowing how to control the temperature of your grill or BBQ. 


Always preheat your grill before cooking. This helps to kill any bacteria, ensures your food cooks evenly and helps to prevent sticking. For gas grills and BBQs, including the AGA Outdoor Grill, preheating is as simple as turning on the burners.

Temperature Control

Controlling the temperature is crucial for outdoor cooking. It’s important you learn to create different heat zones - a hot zone for searing and a cooler zone for slower cooking. This technique allows you to manage different types of food simultaneously. This is super easy on the AGA Outdoor Grill as it features inner and outer burner controls that command variable temperatures across two circular zones. 

Exploring Flavour Profiles

One of the most enjoyable aspects of outdoor cooking is experimenting with different flavours. Marinades, rubs and glazes can transform simple ingredients into extraordinary meals. Experiment with different herbs, spices and sauces to find what works best for you and your guests.


Marinades not only add flavour but also tenderise meat. They typically consist of an acid (like vinegar or citrus juice), oil and spices. Marinate your food in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight for the best results.

Dry Rubs

Dry rubs are mixtures of spices and herbs that are rubbed onto the surface of the food before cooking. They create a delicious crust, especially on meats, as they cook.

Glazes and Sauces

Glazes and sauces are usually added towards the end of the cooking process. They give a sweet, sticky and caramelised finish to your dishes. Be careful not to add them too early, as sugars can burn easily.

Beyond the BurgerFull English Breakfast on the AGA Outdoor Grill

When you think of cooking outdoors, it’s often all too easy to default to the usual suspects. However, the expansive, flat top cooking surfaces of AGA outdoor grills make them perfect for much more than just your typical BBQ fare. As they act like giant hotplates, they’re ideal for a wide variety of dishes.

Thinking beyond burgers and bangers, you can whip up delicious pancakes, tacos and even a full cooked breakfast, or experiment with stir-fries or delicate seafood like crab cakes and scallops. The large cooking surface is also excellent for grilling sandwiches and making various breads, like English muffins and naan, which require a broad surface for even cooking. 

In fact, the possibilities are endless. 

Safety and Outdoor Cooking

Safety is paramount in outdoor cooking. Always set up your grill or BBQ in a well-ventilated area, away from buildings and overhanging trees. Never leave a lit grill unattended, and keep children and pets away from the cooking area. Regularly clean your grill to prevent flare-ups and ensure your food tastes its best.

Food Safety

When cooking outdoors, it's crucial to prioritise food safety to prevent food poisoning. Here are key guidelines to follow.


Hand Washing

Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water before and after handling food, especially raw meat.

Separate Utensils

Use different utensils, chopping boards, and plates for raw and cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination.

Avoid Washing Raw Meat

Washing raw meat can spread bacteria around your kitchen.



Fully defrost frozen meat in the fridge before cooking.

Cook Thoroughly

Ensure all meats, particularly chicken, pork and minced products like burgers and sausages, are cooked thoroughly with no pink meat visible and make sure that any juices run clear.


Separate Plates

Use different plates for raw and cooked meats.

Keep Chilled

Store perishable foods in the fridge or a cool bag until ready to serve.


Cool and Store

Cool leftovers quickly and store them in the fridge, consuming them within 48 hours.


Reheat leftovers until piping hot and only reheat once.

Fire Safety 

When enjoying outdoor cooking, it's essential to be mindful of fire safety. Here are some crucial tips to ensure your BBQ is both enjoyable and safe.

General Fire Safety Tips


Set up your BBQ on a flat surface, well away from trees, fences, sheds or shrubs.


Never leave the grill or BBQ unattended. Always have someone responsible for the cooking.

Safety Precautions

Keep children and pets away from the outdoor cooking area. Have a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies and, if available, an appropriate fire extinguisher.

After Cooking

Allow the BBQ or grill to cool down completely before moving it.

Cylinders for Gas Grills and BBQs

When handling and maintaining gas cylinders, it's essential to ensure their safety and functionality. Begin by inspecting the cylinders for any signs of damage or rust, as compromised cylinders cannot be refilled and should be replaced immediately. It’s also crucial to check the hoses regularly to verify that they have not perished, and ensure that all connections are clean and fit snugly. 

In the event of a gas leak from a valve, safety precautions must be taken promptly to mitigate any risks. Relocate the gas bottle at least 20 metres away from any potential sources of ignition and confirm that the valve is securely turned off. 

When replacing gas cylinders, always turn off the tap first and perform this task outdoors or in a well-ventilated area to prevent gas build-up. Check for leaks by applying soapy water to the connections - the appearance of bubbles will indicate a leak. Remember, cylinders that have not been tested within the last 10 years must not be refilled until they pass a safety inspection.

Finally, after using your barbecue, always turn off the gas cylinder before shutting off the main control to clear the line of any remaining gas, enhancing safety and preserving gas.

Extinguishing a Fire


Have equipment like a bucket of water, sand or a dry powder fire extinguisher nearby. Dry powder extinguishers are effective against BBQ fires as they smother the fire by removing its oxygen content.


In case of a fire, act quickly and safely. Foam fire extinguishers and fire blankets can also be used to control or smother a BBQ fire.

AGA Outdoor Grills

Penny Zako by the AGA Outdoor GrillAGA offers a range of outdoor grills for al fresco cooking. AGA Outdoor Grills and Cooktops are extremely versatile, offering the chance to try out various cooking styles. Models in this collection include freestanding versions like the Wheeled Cooktop and Tabletop, as well as built-in models like the Affinity 30-G and 25-G, suitable for custom outdoor kitchens. Made by EVO, a sister company of AGA, these grills are constructed from heavy stainless steel for strength and rust resistance.

The Kamado Joe range, part of the AGA family, offers a unique cooking experience. These grills use the traditional Japanese kamado cookingKamado Joe style, where air flows through the ceramic grill, retaining heat and imparting a smoky flavour to the food. Kamado Joe grills are known for their craftsmanship, innovative accessories and flexible cooking surfaces.

Outdoor cooking is a delightful way to enjoy food and company. Whether you're grilling a simple meal for two or hosting a large gathering, the key is to have fun and experiment. 

Remember, the best outdoor cooking experiences come from trying new things, learning from your mistakes and enjoying the process. So fire up your grill or BBQ, gather your friends and family and enjoy the wonderful world of outdoor cooking.