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Friday, 22 May 2009

It's Barbecue time...

I love Barbecues, I really do - my grill even has a name: "The Beefmaster", though this is a brand and not a flight of insanity on my part. Except for the hardy few who'll use their barbecues as wood or coal-fired ovens the year round, May is the start of grill season so here's a few of my handy tips and maxims:

  1. Get yourself a grill brush - they're only a few quid, are easily found in garden and DIY stores and are the best way to clean the grill; once you've discovered that brushing it while warm has a better effect than soaking for hours in the kitchen sink, you'll never make a mess of your kitchen again (and will probably barbecue every other night).
  2. Also get a spray... thing? (what are they called, misters? I use the same type as my wife waters the houseplants with), this can dampen any flare-ups caused by dripping fat and stops things getting unpleasantly burned.
  3. Think about the charcoal you buy, charcoal production causes huge deforestation in some areas but it's easy to find sustainably produced charcoal in B&Q's and lots of other places.
  4. Also, think about what you're cooking when you choose between lumpwood and briquettes, lumpwood burns hotter but doesn't last as long where briquettes give a longer, lower heat; I often use a mixture of the two.
Now, as for what to cook, try some imagination - a single rib of beef, oiled and seasoned will slice into the most wonderful steak for 3 people (or 2 greedy bastards), a leg of lamb butterflied and marinaded in garlic, thyme and lemon for a few hours is fantastic, chicken is a similar marinade or one of harissa lightened with oil or yogurt, a recent discovery of mine is pork leg/shoulder/loin in a Korean marinade, simply heaven. Serve all this stuff with a decent salad and some bread and you can carve it table side, just to show off your masculinity and make your guests (who invariably just chuck supermarket sausages on a barbie) feel inadequate!

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