Monday 4 July sees the start of the 26th edition of the UK’s National BBQ Week, writes Nick Mosley. He talks to chefs about tips to take your summer barbecue to the next level.
There’s nothing like a lazy afternoon in the garden with friends and family – a cold beer in one hand and a burger in the other. During lockdown Briton’s certainly didn’t hold back with recent research revealing that the UK became the leading BBQ nation in Europe in 2021 with an average of ten per household that year. Now that’s a lot of sausage.
Private chef Simon Mckenzie is no stranger to the BBQ having worked in the hospitality industry for over 30 years and regularly cooking at garden parties and hotel weddings. This summer, many of his private clients are also opting for informal BBQs too.
“The mistake most make with BBQing – unless of course using a Kamado style BBQ to slow cook – is attempting to cook most meats from raw”, said Simon.
“Try looking at the BBQ as a smoking hot frying pan, but the other way round. Instead of sealing meats and putting in the oven to cook, put the meats straight in the oven to cook and then finish on the BBQ to sear. This way you ensure food is thoroughly cooked but also have the lovely smoky BBQ flavour without the bitter carbon flavour”.
Chef Kenny Tutt of Pitch and Ox Block fame recommends thinking about what cut of meat you use.
“Buy the best quality meat that you can and consider big sharing cuts to feed a crowd that can be sliced at the table”, said Kenny. “You can then throw lots of things on the side – big classic salads like Cobb or Caesar, BBQ some asparagus and some new potatoes, roast some brassicas or lettuces for something a bit different”.
“Some of the cheaper beef cuts like bavette, onglet and hanger steak work really well and they have tonnes of flavour. Cook medium or rare, and slice thinly. If you’re looking for a bit more luxury, go for big sharing steaks like chateaubriand or a côte de boeuf. I suggest about 600g for two people or even a kilo of meat depending on who you’re cooking for”.
Simon Robinson, co-owner of Twisted Brisket on Duke Street, Brighton suggests flavouring your meat with wood chips.
“When BBQing we like to use some different woods on the coals to ramp up the flavour”, said Simon.
“I recommend using hickory or cherry wood or – even better – use both. Get the wood nicely nestled amongst your smouldering coals to start unlocking the unbeatable smoky taste. You can easily source a box of wood chips online or even pick-up from your local B&Q”.
For more BBQ ideas and recipes visit www.nationalbbqweek.co.uk