BBQ season is upon us, or certainly was the other weekend and I’m hoping for more hot weather to come. Spring is in the air and the garden is starting to grow faster than I can trim it back. It’s time to rip the cover off the BBQ, freshen it up and fire up the briquettes.
When I do a BBQ, I always have a selection of food both for the BBQ and on the table.
For the BBQ I’ll pick from the following
- Whole Fish wrapped in foil with herb butter and seasoning or just grilled over the charcoal on the rack
- Salmon Steaks
- Tuna Steaks
- Burgers & Sausages – both the meaty and the spicy bean vegetarian variety
- Pork, lamb chops or frying steak
- Chicken drumsticks – mix of marinated in curry paste or rubbed in Cajun seasoning
- Vegetable kebab – chunky slices of peppers, whole button mushrooms, peeled shallots, sweetcorn or squash marinated in a jug of tomato sauce, herbs and spices
- Corn on the Cob – brushed with butter
Alongside some of that lot I’ll have some halved baked potatoes, boiled new potatoes, mixed salad (rocket, lettuce, shredded cabbage, tomatoes, spring onion, baby sweetcorn), another bowl with quartered/sliced boiled eggs or an egg salad, and a couple of bowls with dips, coleslaw and salsa. If there’s a lot of people I’ll prepare a couple of other dishes such as chilli con carne, casserole or soup that I can either put in the oven on a slow cook, put in the pressure cooker or re-heat on the day.
One of the best ways of keeping the beer and wine cool is to utilise a small plastic bin or storage box and fill it with water and ice, cans will float and bottles can stand up in the box. If you need to you can always put another small plastic box in the bottom so you can stand your wine bottles on top of that to keep corks out of the water. Make sure you’ve some spare bottle stoppers available to stop any pesky bugs from sharing your drinks.
For a typical marinade I’ll usually start with an oil base, usually olive oil or sunflower oil. If I want a nuttier taste I’ll use walnut or sesame oil, if I want to produce a thick paste I’ll use butter instead of oil and rub it into the meat. To that I’ll add tomato sauce or a tin of chopped tomatoes, Worcester sauce or Soy Sauce, a small quantity of stock or an OxO cube in some boiled water, salt and red & black pepper. Then I’ll add the spice mix, so this will either be a couple of tablespoons of curry powder or curry paste, teaspoons of chilli powder or any other spice mix (Cajun, pre-made beef seasoning, chicken, etc). If you’re feeling brave add in a couple of drops of hot chilli sauce, there are plenty available and I’ve usually got a bottle of Econa or Tabasco in the cupboard.
To marinade the meat you need to score it with a sharp knife to help it absorb the flavours and leave them coated in the sauce overnight in a covered container in the fridge.
I use the same sort of mix for a cooked sauce, if I’m preparing one for the BBQ I’ll start with some sliced onions, peppers and mushrooms in oil, if I’ve any off-cuts of meat I’ll use those as well, and add a little sugar to help it caramelise in the pan. I sometimes replace the stock liquid with a bottle of ale. I mix in the marinade ingredients mentioned above to a Roux to create the desired sauce, I look for quite a thick sauce for a BBQ. Strain it into a jug, chill or serve hot. If I’ve made it just before the BBQ I’ll also put the vegetables I’ve used to make the sauce into another container with a spoon so that people can top their burgers with the mix.
Knowing how many people are turning up and whether there are any personal tastes or allergies you need to cater for is a huge help so get to know before hand where possible.
I find it’s very easy to buy too much for a BBQ, one of the ways around that is to suggest people bring something to contribute to the party. If you’re going to do that, ask people what they’re likely to bring along, make a list and cater for the difference.
- Peach BBQ Pork Ribs (blogcritics.org)
- Vegetarian BBQ Dishes (bluebird-aspen.com)
- Carribean Rum Mango BBQ Sauce (dietforfoodies.wordpress.com)
- BBQ Meatlovers Pizza Recipe (thecookingchannel.wordpress.com)
- BBQ Chicken with Homemade Mango Salsa (marthaintraining.wordpress.com)
- Barbecue Sauce Recipe (thecookingchannel.wordpress.com)
- Famous Dave’s BBQ (epicureanpnw.wordpress.com)
- Fish Tacos (colesonline.com.au)
- New Pork & BBQ Sauce Coupon + ShopRite Deal (livingrichwithcoupons.com)