Once the sole domain of the US of A, the smokin’ hot trend for barbecued food is now a global passion, with new methods, marinades and meats making their way onto the coveted coals.
We asked some of the UK’s hottest chefs to share their brilliant brainwaves for all things barbecue – from meaty morsels to sensational seafood, vegetarian and vegan options to desserts and sides cooked over the flames.
Paul Bates, executive chef at OXBO Bankside At OXBO Bankside we’re always innovating our menus in line with the latest trends. Barbecued food has been a hot foodie trend in the London dining scene over the last few years which is predominantly down to the accessibility and sociable nature which barbecued food offers diners. When it comes to the preparation of barbecued food, there are little cheats you can do to get the most delicious flavours possible. For chicken, I always use thighs; but remove the skin as this not only reduces the calories but reduces the amount of fat that drips onto the coals and creates the flames. For the best possible tasting pork belly, I always poach it in water first with some onions, garlic and star anise for about an hour before I grill it, this can even be done the day before if you want to prep in advance.
Fergus Martin, foodservice development chef at Major International One way to save yourself time when catering for large numbers at a barbecue is to sous vide your meat beforehand so that it can be finished on the barbecue as and when you need it. Not only will this save you time, it will allow you to cook your meat to perfection and still build up layers of flavour in the final stages of cooking.
Philippe Van Hamme, development chef, La Lorraine Bakery Group, Panesco Complement the strong meaty flavour of ‘game’ meats with a strong tasting garnish and burger bun. The use of meats such as wild boar, ostrich and venison requires a garnish and a burger bun that’s up to the challenge. Using a Pretzel bun as a carrier is not only visually appealing with its striking brown crust, but provides that unique Pretzel taste perfectly complimenting the strong meaty flavours. Combine this further with a strong cheese, such as a blue cheese or sharp tasting goat’s cheese and garnishes such as marinated zucchini, pickled cucumber or braised wild mushrooms for that intense flavour.
James Robinson, product trainer, Brindisa Brindisa has been serving chorizo rolls straight from the grill in Borough Market for over 10 years. The moist and succulent Spanish cooking chorizo, enriched with smoked paprika, naturally lends itself to the flavours of a summer barbecue. The recipe for success is five quality ingredients: cooking chorizo, served simply in toasted ciabatta with juicy roasted piquillo peppers, rocket and a drizzle of olive oil. It’s a great tasting barbecued sandwich that has stood the test of time.
Darren Chapman, development chef, Nestlé Professional From the South African Braai to the Australian Barbie, the outdoor dining season is here! Moving away from sausage and burgers, why not try koftas, sasoties or even marinated and stuffed whole fish. For a vegetarian option, try halloumi and paneer cheese with vegetables and herbs, all coming together to excite the tastebuds. To complete the barbecue experience, salads and homemade sauces are a must. A few favourites of mine are an Asian slaw mango and a minted pea salad with a lemon dressing and baby gem. Get creative with the sauces and try a lobster mayonnaise or a wild mushroom ketchup, it’s sure to add that touch of finesse to the meal.
Andrew Christie, executive head chef overseeing The Inn on Loch Lomond and The Lodge on Loch Lomond Here on the bank of Loch Lomond, we attract a lot of corporate groups, and our barbecues on the beach are extremely popular. They are social affairs at which people mingle in ways they don’t when sitting down to a formal dinner. Chicken thighs barbecue very well, retaining moisture. Marinades and seasoning are definitely important when barbecuing – packing flavour into the food with beautiful, smoky tones. We like to introduce spices and flavours people may have not tried before, which is the inspiration for our signature barbecue dish: BBQ chicken, green freekah salad, buttermilk dressing and green sauce.
James Davidson, development chef, Rich Sauces The growing trend of vegan will continue to rise, not only because of health benefits, but for more ideas on how to get the best combo of flavours and textures from plant-based diets. Cauliflower ‘wings’ have been a big hit with hot sauces and blue cheese dressing. Cauliflower steaks can be a mighty morsel and are ideal for the BBQ enthusiast with various toppings to load them out. Cut the cauliflower into three-quarter inch slices and brush with olive oil flavoured with smoked paprika and garlic powder then place on the BBQ for about 6-8 minutes either side, serve with a light summer salad and a citrus and white balsamic dressing.
Ben Bartlett, celebrity BBQ chef and brand ambassador for Lion sauces For an attention-grabbing, mouth-watering dish, try BBQ bacon sushi rolls. Lay slices of dry-cured bacon in rows on a sushi mat and top thinly with minced beef seasoned with a BBQ rub. Place a line of creamy Lancashire cheese on to one end and roll up the sushi mat to create a firm tube. Grill for 20 minutes on medium heat until cooked, then brush the roll in the final minutes with warmed Lion American Smokey BBQ Sauce. Roll the tube in crushed crisps, slice into portions and serve with extra BBQ sauce. For the full recipe please visit www.stiritupmagazine. co.uk/recipes
Margie Nomura, chef, food stylist and host of the iTunes number 1 podcast Desert Island Dishes Cooking fish on the barbecue is one of my favourite ways to cook fish. I love putting fresh herbs, chilli and lemon slices inside a whole gutted fish, drizzling with olive oil and a good pinch of sea salt and popping that on the BBQ. Remember not to put it on the hottest part of the grill, medium heat is best so that the skin doesn’t char too quickly before the fish is cooked. Try wrapping your stuffed fish in newspaper then soaking the parcel in water and then popping this on the barbecue – you get a wonderfully gorgeous smokey flavour!
Jimmy Garcia, founder of London pop-up The BBQ Club The BBQ Club features a walk-up BBQ Bar showcasing gourmet dishes straight from the grill and the BBQ Club rooftop restaurant, serving an ever-evolving six course tasting menu. From fresh charred squid to the delicious pork chop and potato salad, each dish tells a tale of provenance and sourcing. The walk-up BBQ Bar serves speedy, fresh and flavoursome gourmet BBQ dishes such as hot smoked salmon with grain salad and crème fraiche, or the delectable monkfish burger with tarragon mayonnaise and dill pickled cucumber.
The BBQ Club menu
• ‘Char Ma lass’ Miso glazed charred baby aubergines, pomegranate molasses yoghurt, pickled green chilli, fresh mint
• ‘Holy Guacamole’ Charred squid, green olive and avocado guacamole, lime and rocket oil
• ‘Hard Core Prawn’ Langoustine, roast red pepper puree, black garlic, jamon, smoked almond
• ‘Proper Kebab’ Lamb kebab, flat bread, tzatziki, pomegranate tabbouleh, mint oil
• ‘Summer at Next door’ Pork chop, potato salad, charred corn heritage tomato salsa, bbq sauce, charred spring onion
• ‘Honey for ma Sugar’ Griddled apricots, honey mascarpone, ginger biscuit crumb, candied orange peel
BBQ guru Richard Holden’s top 10 BBQ tips:
1 Use a thermometer Temperature is King when it comes to BBQ. A digital thermometer will guarantee your food is safely cooked every time. ‘75 stay alive’ is how I encourage people to remember the target temperature for anything that is cooked through.
2 Use rapeseed oil It has a much higher burn point than olive oil so won’t ruin the taste of your food. You can also use it to oil the grill and as the base for salad dressings.
3 Grill at 250°C This will give you the control and time to cook foods through before they have a chance to over colour and burn on the outside!
4 Get a wire brush Clean your cooking grates with a wire brush after the grill has preheated and before you put your food on. This will get them smooth before cooking.
5 Leave a small section of your BBQ without fuel This is called indirect heat. With the lid down this creates a safety zone where meat can be put to cook through, rather than just burning.
6 Preheat your BBQ Ensure your BBQ is burning for 10 minutes before cooking. This will burn off anything left over from your last BBQ and sterilise the cooking grate. It will also help your BBQ to hold its temperature while you cook.
7 Cook meat from room temperature Bring meats up to room temperature for 30-40 minutes before putting them on the BBQ. The high heat will penetrate the meat easier, cooking it faster and keeping it tender.
8 Rest! Not you – the meat! For tender, mouth-watering results, leave meat to rest once you’ve taken it off the BBQ. For steaks and smaller pieces of meat allow 10 minutes, for bigger pieces like joints a good 20-30 minutes will do them the world of good. Rest on a warm serving plate, under foil and insulate with a clean t-towel. You’ll really notice the difference.
9 Use a lid Cook with the lid down and you will achieve a wonderful authentic BBQ flavour as the fats drip onto hot coals and create aromatic smoke! Lid on cooking also helps reduce flare-ups and will cook your foods faster.
10 Two sets of tools Use one for raw, uncooked meat and one for taking cooked food off the grill. This will avoid any chance of contaminating your grilled food.