Although we can’t always rely on the weather, eating al fresco is one of the best bits of the summer and nothing beats a good British BBQ. In time for National BBQ Week (4th-10th July 2022), we asked chef James Strawbridge for his top tips on how to serve unbeatable burgers and give your steaks some sizzle.
1. Cook over embers not flames
Be patient and wait for charcoal or wood to really burn down to achieve a strong constant heat to cook with. Once you have hot embers it reduces the chance of flare ups and gives you much more control on the grill.
2. Veg power
Try grilling vegetables over embers as the star of the show rather than just serving salads and veg kebabs on the side. Spring greens work really well, cauliflower steaks, radishes or peas in the pod can all be cooked in a grill basket.
3. Low ‘n’ Slow
Have a go at a slow cooked recipe this summer with some wood chips for smoky flavour. Try your own beef brisket hot smoked down at 120˚C with an internal temp of 94˚C for 5-6 hours for an authentic tasting BBQ.
4. Get down and dirty
Try onions thrown straight onto the hot coals and cooked in their skins for 45 mins. Once blackened, slice in half to remove the sweet, tender onions from their charred outer layers and toss with parsley and butter.
5. Chimney lighting
To avoid waiting till sundown to tuck into your BBQ get efficient and buy a chimney to light your charcoal. They are really quick and easy to use and massively reduces the set-up time before you can start cooking.
6. Don’t forget the mop
To avoid your food drying out remember to baste, glaze or mop with a tasty BBQ sauce. Also try adding a bowl of water into your BBQ oven if indirect grilling to keep your meats moister.
7. Ole smoky
Add a handful of wood chips to your BBQ for a woody aroma and deep smoke ring. Try using apple, oak, hickory and cherry shavings.
8. Probe safety
Invest in a meat probe to keep an eye on the internal temperature of your food. They are really easy to use and help to understand what’s going on inside the BBQ.
9. Burn baby burn
Buy sustainably sourced charcoal to cook over rather than imported briquettes.
10. Keep smiling
If you’re not smiling, then you are doing it all wrong! Enjoy cooking over fire this summer and be creative with your recipes.