The Ultimate Summer BBQ
The invites have gone out, the RSVPs have all come back with a resounding ‘yes!’, and you’re determined to host the ultimate summer BBQ. But, what are you going to cook? How should you marinade your meat? And there’s drinks to consider too…which is where we come in. Over the next few pages, we’ve gathered together some delicious recipes – mains, sides and sauces – sourced the best new beers this side of summer, and gathered some top tips (from celeb chefs, no less) to help you pitch your sun-soaked soiree perfectly. BY POLLY HUMPHRIS
Food fit for kings
The accessibility of really tasty recipes both online and in all manner of cook books these days means home cooks have become more ambitious – the days of pre-packed, processed foods are numbered and people want more for their guests. Additionally, too much salt can easily sneak into our diets over barbecue season, which is bad for blood pressure and heart health generally. The advice from AXA PPP Healthcare is to keep your barbecue as healthy as possible with homemade burgers and salad dressings, so you can track how much salt is going into your servings. With the following recipes, we’ve tried to keep making your own food from scratch as hassle free as possible, and for any additional dishes and ingredients, be sure to check the labels on what you’re buying – check out this handy online guide to ascertain how much salt you should be eating (only about a teaspoon a day!) and how to cut down: www.axappphealthcare.co.uk/health-information/diet-and-nutrition/getting-your-salt-intake-right-article.
The main attraction(s)…
The Cranble Black ‘n’ Blue Burger (4)
(from Matt Healy, MasterChef the Professionals 2016 finalist, www.cranble.com)
1 pinch of sea salt
1 block of blue cheese, crumbled or cut into slices
4 dollops of Cranble burger sauce (one for each burger, recipe in ‘sides and sauces’ below)
1 beef tomato, cut into slices across the middle
1 head of baby gem lettuce, broken into individual leaves
1 red onion, cut into rings
4 sweet pickles, cut into strips lengthways
4 brioche buns
800g minced beef (good quality, from your butcher)
- Make sure you have all your garnishes ready to roll as your burgers will cook quite quickly.
- Weigh your beef mince out into 100g balls. If you don’t have scales, you can divide your mix into eight, and, using the palm of your hand, flatten out into rough burger shapes.
- Pop four beef patties onto a hot barbecue, cook for 1 to 2 minutes then flip over for a further minute, remove from the barbecue and set aside.
- Now you have to work quite quickly – get your buns and put them onto the barbecue ‘cut side down’ and remove the pan from the heat.
- Time to assemble: put a dollop of burger sauce on the bottom of one half of a bun, a baby gem leaf, a slice of tomato then 2 burger patties, finish with your onions and crumbled blue cheese (you can melt this if you want but it tastes much better raw) pop your lid bun on and, using a skewer, fix a slice of sweet pickle to the top. Then get stuck in!
Salt & Pepper Ribs (2)
450g pork spare ribs (short cut ribs)
1tsp coarse or rock salt
1/2 tsp coarse black pepper
1/2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
1ltr vegetable oil
1 red chilli, finely sliced)
1 spring onion, finely sliced)
1 heaped tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp five spice powder
- Gently heat the Szechuan peppercorns in a dry pan for 1 minute. Cool and grind in a pestle and mortar or a pepper grinder.
- Mix the salt, black pepper and Szechuan peppercorns together.
- Place the spare ribs, water, cornstarch and five spice powder into a large bowl. Mix well, cling film and marinade for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator.
- To cook the spare ribs, heat the vegetable oil in a wok or deep frying pan on the barbecue. A good test is to drop a cube of bread into the hot oil and it should brown in 30 seconds. When the oil is hot enough, add the spare ribs and cook for 1 minute.
- Remove the ribs, drain well on kitchen paper and set aside.
- Now heat the oil again until it is almost smoking. Return the spareribs to the hot oil and cook until they start to turn brown. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper.
- Remove all the oil from the wok and quickly stir fry the sliced chilli and spring onion.
- Add the cooked spare ribs to the wok, sprinkle the salt and pepper mixture over the ribs.
- Quickly mix all the components together and remove immediately from the heat. Serve with a finger bowl of warm water and a lemon slice.
Char Siu Barbecue Pork (6)
1kg pork shoulder or leg (with a good amount of fat), deboned and sliced into 3-4”-thick pieces
1tsp five spice powder
1tbsp Wing Yip Shaohsing Wine
1tsp Wing Yip Sesame Oil
2tbsp Wing Yip Hoi Sin Sauce
2tsp golden syrup
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 drops red food colouring (optional)
A pinch of pepper
BBQ Basting Liquid:
1tsp vegetable oil
1tsp golden syrup
1tbsp Wing Yip Hoi Sin Sauce
- Place all the marinade ingredients into a large food bag which can be securely closed, including the pork. Ensuring that there is as little air as possible in the bag, massage the marinade onto the meat and then place in the fridge overnight, or for at least two hours.
- When ready to cook, preheat the barbecue to its hottest temperature.
- Remove the pork from the marinade and place onto a foil lined baking tray ensuring that the meat isn’t too close together. You do not want to overcrowd the tray.
- Mix the remaining marinade with the cooking/basting liquid and keep in a bowl near the barbecue. Brush or spoon a small amount of the marinade over the pork and place onto the barbecue.
- Cook for 10 minutes until the pork has started to colour and the barbecue is less hot. Baste the pork every 10 minutes, turning the pork over each time. Cook for 35-40 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through.
- Remove the pork from the barbecue and loosely cover with foil, then leave to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Beer Can Chicken (4)
1 whole chicken (1.3kg)
1 500ml can of lager
For the rub:
2tbsp cayenne powder (or less to taste)
2tbsp ground black pepper
1tbsp rock salt
1tbsp garlic powder
1tsp mustard powder
1tsp ground cumin
- Light a lidded barbecue and allow the flames to die down.
- Once the coals are ready, carefully spread them to form a ring around the outside edge of the barbecue as you don’t want your chicken to be placed directly on the heat.
- If you’re using a smaller barbecue, you may need to remove the grills and place the chicken on a roasting tin on the floor of the barbecue in the middle of the coals – this will give you space to close the lid once the chicken is in. If you have a large barbecue, the chicken can sit directly on the grill.
- Mix together the herbs and spices to form a rub.
- Drizzle the chicken with olive oil then massage the rub into the skin, ensuring the inside of the chicken is coated too.
- Open the beer can and take several sips until the can is half full.
- Place the can on a solid surface, grab a chicken leg in each hand and place the bird over the beer can, the beer will evaporate whilst cooking which will keep the chicken moist and tender.
- Once the chicken is sitting upright, transfer the bird onto the centre of the barbecue in the middle of the coals, either in the roasting tin or directly on the grill.
- The two legs should help the chicken to balance like a tripod.
- Close the BBQ lid and cook for 1hr 20 mins until the chicken is crisp, the meat tender and the juices run clear.
- If the juices aren’t clear after this time, cook for a further 10 mins, then check again.
- The internal temperature of the chicken needs to be 74°C.
- Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the barbecue and cover in tin foil for 10 minutes before serving.
Pistachio Crusted Lamb Cutlets with Asparagus, Leeks and Herbs (2)
2 grass-fed lamb cutlets
1 raw egg, whisked
200g pistachios, crushed
Pinch of salt & pepper
Juice of ½ a lemon
4tbsp olive oil
2tbsp mini capers
½ tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 asparagus spears
½ leek, diced
A handful of freshly diced mint, basil & parsley
4 fresh mint leaves to garnish
- Season the grass-fed lamb cutlets with salt and pepper.
- Dip both sides of the lamb cutlets in the whisked egg and then thoroughly coat in pistachios and set aside.
- Mix the diced mint, basil and parsley in a bowl with 2 tbsp of the olive oil.
- Add the capers, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and a pinch of pepper to the herb mixture for the dressing.
- Over a medium to high heat, fry the lamb cutlets in 1tbsp of olive oil on the barbecue for 3-4 minutes (each side), or until cooked to taste.
- In a separate pan, fry the garlic, leeks and asparagus in the remaining oil for 4-5 minutes over a medium heat.
- Place the finely chopped garlic, leeks and asparagus in the centre of the plate and place the lamb cutlets on top.
- Drizzle the mixed herbs and red wine vinegar dressing over the top. Serve and garnish with mint.
Citrus-Marinated Beef Steaks
4 x 175g lean rump steaks
5ml dried chilli flakes
100ml fresh orange juice
3tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
2tbsp maple syrup or honey
1tbsp light soy sauce
1 spring onion, finely chopped
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
- Remove the steaks from the fridge at least 20 minutes before cooking to bring up to room temperature. Transfer to a plate, cover and use when required.
- To prepare the marinade: in a large bowl mix all the ingredients together. Pour the marinade into a shallow non-metallic dish. Place the steaks in the marinade mixture and coat well on both sides. Cover and refrigerate for two hours, or if time allows, overnight.
- Remove the steaks from the marinade (discard the marinade) and cook on a prepared barbecue until any meat juices run clear.
- Remove the steaks from the barbecue, transfer to a warm plate, cover with foil and rest for a few minutes. Serve with steaks an avocado salad and potato wedges.
Sides and sauces to serve…
Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Sauce (4)
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 clove garlic, finely diced
500ml vegetable oil (for frying)
100g unsalted butter
100g hot sauce
1tbsp smoked paprika
200g plain flour (for dusting)
10 chicken wings, split at the joint and tips removed
50g blue cheese
50g sour cream
- To make the dip: pulse the sour cream, blue cheese, garlic, milk and lemon juice in a food processor until combined but still chunky. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Heat your vegetable oil in a large deep skillet over a hot barbecue until a thermometer registers 170oC/180oC then mix the flour and paprika in a shallow dish. Dust the wings in the flour mixture to coat, tapping off the excess. Fry the wings in batches, turning as needed, until cooked through and deep golden brown, this should take about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the hot sauce, butter and honey in a medium pot over a medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly (about 10 minutes). Reserve a quarter of the sauce for serving. Add the cooked wings to the pot and toss with the remaining sauce. Serve with the blue cheese dip and reserved sauce.
Cornish New Potato and Harissa-marinated Halloumi Skewers (4)
2 garlic cloves
90g harissa paste
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
450g Cornish new potatoes
1 large red onion
150g natural yoghurt
You will also need:
12 metal skewers, or wooden skewers soaked in water for 20 minutes before using.
- Chop the halloumi into roughly 2.5cm cubes. Crush the garlic then combine with the harissa, 2tbsp of the olive oil and the juice of half a lemon in a bowl. Add the halloumi and toss to combine. Marinate for one hour, or overnight.
- Prepare the potatoes by rubbing off any loose skin under a tap. Chop any larger potatoes in half. Half fill a saucepan with cold water then add the potatoes. Place over a high heat and bring up to the boil, then allow to boil for 7 minutes before draining. Allow to cool slightly while you prepare the remaining vegetables.
- Preheat the barbecue. Slice the onion into wedges and the courgette into 1cm rounds, then cut down the middle to make half-moons. Toss the courgette and Cornish new potatoes in a bowl with the remaining ½ tbsp oil and season to taste.
- Thread the Cornish new potatoes, red onion, courgette and halloumi, reserving any loose marinade, onto the skewers. Barbecue for 12-15 minutes, turning every few minutes, until everything is golden and lightly charred and the potatoes are cooked through.
- Mix the yoghurt with the leftover harissa marinade and serve alongside the skewers, with a scattering of roughly chopped coriander leaves and the remaining lemon halves sliced into wedges.
Corn on the cob with coconut, lime and paprika (4)
4 corn on the cob
Zest and juice of 1 lime
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp Vita Coco Coconut Oil, melted
- In a medium bowl, mix the lime, salt, paprika and Vita Coco Coconut Oil.
- Rub this on your corn and grill on your barbecue for 10-15 minutes, rotating as you grill.
- Brush occasionally with Vita Coco Coconut Oil as you grill.
- Serve straight away when ready.
Tenderstem® Healthy Raw Asian Coleslaw (2-4)
A handful of raw Tenderstem®, very finely sliced lengthways or at an angle
½ or whole kolhrabi depending on size, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 large carrot, peeled thinly lengthways
A handful of chopped fresh coriander
For the Asian dressing:
3tbsps plain yoghurt
2tbsps sesame oil
1tbsp soy sauce
2tbsps white wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, finely grated
A handful of toasted sesame seeds
- Place all the thinly sliced vegetables in a mixing bowl.
- Add together all of the dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Toss the vegetables in the dressing mixture and finish with a sprinkle of the toasted sesame seeds.
Barbecued Tenderstem®, Melted Goat’s Cheese and Sundried Tomato Dressing (2-4)
1tbsp olive oil
3-4 sundried tomatoes in oil
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1tsp balsamic vinegar
100g soft, mild goat’s cheese
50g pine nuts, lightly toasted
- Toss the Tenderstem® in the olive oil and keep to one side while you make the dressing. Finely chop the sundried tomatoes and place in a small bowl with the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
- Place the Tenderstem® on your barbecue and cook for about 5-8 minutes, turning regularly until it becomes tender with grill lines on the stems.
- Place the barbecued Tenderstem® on a serving plate and immediately crumble over the goat cheese, so it starts to melt just slightly from the heat of the Tenderstem®.
- Spoon over the dressing, scatter with the pine nuts and serve straight away.
Roast New Potato, Kale, Beetroot and Dill Salad (2)
200g new potatoes, cut into wedges
2 small cooked beetroots, cut into wedges
100g kale, stems removed
1 bunch of dill, chopped
10g sesame seeds
15ml sesame oil
15ml rapeseed oil
1tsp sherry vinegar
75ml low fat natural yoghurt
Low-calorie olive oil cooking spray
Salt and pepper to season
- Heat the oven to 200oC.
- Boil the potatoes for 6 minutes, then roast in a little oil until golden and crisp.
- Cut the potatoes into wedges then set aside.
- Spray the kale with the cooking spray and season well. Roast until crisp, turning occasionally (about 10 minutes). Set aside.
- Mix the dressing ingredients together.
- Mix the beetroot with the kale and dill, season and toss through the potatoes and serve with the dressing.
(Not So) Secret Burger Sauce
1tsp of onion relish
1 pinch of celery salt
1tsp of chipotle hot sauce
3tbsp of mayonnaise
½ onion, finely diced
1 pinch of mustard powder
1tbsp of ketchup
Put all your ingredients into a bowl and mix well, set aside until ready to use.
Sweet and Spicy Sauce (great with most barbecued meat and fish)
1tbsp fish sauce
3tbsp soy sauce
Juice of 3 limes
2tbsp hot water
1tsp chilli flakes (more if you like it spicy!)
Pinch of salt
Handful of coriander, chopped
Add everything except the hot water to a bowl and mix well. Lastly, add the hot water and combine, then aside until ready to use.
Something to drink…
Beer and barbecues go hand in hand, so grab a few crates of these new beauties and make sure they’re ice cold for your guests. Once everyone’s full and thoughts turn to a cheeseboard, crack open this very low alcohol wine alternative (perfectly chilled, of course) and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Pistonhead Kustom Lager (4.6%, www.pistonheadlager.com)
A very rich, malty flavour with a balanced and marked bitterness, Pistonhead Kustom Lager is Kustom brewed with a double-clutch of Münchener and Pilsner malt injected with Spalter Select, Magnum and Perle hops that will leave a hint of bitterness on your lips, but never in your heart.
Pistonhead Flat Tire (4.5%, www.pistonheadlager.com)
A full-bodied, malty flavour balanced by a pleasant bitterness, Pistonhead Flat Tire is a lager that pours smoothly without an over-inflated head. It has a balanced and rich malt body and slightly marked bitterness. Centennial and Mosaic varieties of American hops give the brew a fresh floral aroma with hints of tropical fruit and citrus.
Pistonhead Full Amber (6.0%, www.pistonheadlager.com)
The fresh hop taste of Pistonhead Full Amber is well balanced by a full malt flavour. Brewed from an assortment of American Cascade, Citra and Centennial hops, the distinctive, fruity aroma of Full Amber is highlighted by a hint of grapefruit. This is balanced by Magnum and Perle German hops that produce a marked bitterness.
Tribute Ale (4.2%, www.staustellbreweryshop.co.uk)
This pale amber brew is light, hoppy and zesty. Orange and grapefruit flavours are balanced with biscuit malt to create this superb Cornish classic – a consistently delicious ale, this beer was born to be enjoyed and is perfect with burgers.
Botonique Crisp Dry White (0.4%, www.botonique.com)
A new and unique British-made natural, dry, sparkling non-alcoholic drink alternative for lovers of wine, Botonique contains the beneficial elements of Prelixir®, a unique blend of vitamins, minerals and amino acids which alcohol is known to deplete. This unique element means that Botonique is able to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, alkalising, detoxifying and hydrating benefits, resulting in all the pleasure of drinking without the negative side effects.
Tips and tricks from the experts…
While we’re in no way doubting your BBQ expertise, it’s always good to know how the experts do it, so we’ve picked the brains of a few celebrity chefs (and a well-known pet food brand…) to give you a helping hand.
Chef, Gizzi Erskine (www.groovyfood.co.uk):
“The Groovy Food Company’s Organic Coconut Sugar has a delicious rich toffee caramel taste. It’s great in condiments and sauces, which I cook from scratch. It delivers a real depth of flavour to any homemade chutney, delicious served alongside cold meat and a cheeseboard. It’s also ideal for creating a rich teriyaki marinade for salmon or chicken. A tablespoon of the coconut sugar also adds a sweet, caramel glaze to stir-fried meat dishes, I use it in my Vietnamese caramelised roast pork and is the best substitute for palm sugar in South East Asian curries.”
Chef and Great British Bake Off star, Selasi Gbormittah (www.swearbyit.com):
- Always marinade the night before to ensure your dishes have added flavour.
- Speed things up by popping vegetables in the oven for 15 minutes before, then finish them up on the barbecue – perfect for a last-minute get together when the sun decides to shine!
- Rotate, rotate, rotate! Keep turning your meat and vegetables constantly as you barbecue.
- For added flavour and to ensure your food doesn’t get stuck to the grill, brush with Vita Coco Coconut Oil as you cook
- Get those tunes going! Music is essential when you are barbecuing!
Indian food writer and chef, Anjum Anand (www.thespicetailor.com):
- Marinate over night. There are couple of tricks when it comes to preparing meat for the barbecue. Firstly, and perhaps the most important, involves marinating the meat overnight in the fridge before bringing it back up to room temperature before cooking. For an extra juicy and tender dish, slash or pierce the chicken, pork or beef with a fork to allow the marinade to sink deep into the flesh.
- Use a ‘natural tenderiser’ when cooking with red meat. Essential to any standout barbecue is well-prepared and tender meat. When choosing your ingredients, try using a natural tenderiser, such as an acidic citrus juice, which helps to break down muscle fibres and soften the meat. A favourite of mine is grated raw green papaya, which makes the world of difference and the meat juicer and more succulent.
- It’s not all about the meat! For those who are a little more experimental on the barbecue, why not try cooking with fish. For the best results, score the fish four times on each side and drizzle over some lemon juice and a sprinkling of light salt, before thickly laying on a marinade. Remember to taste this before adding it to the fish – a perfect marinade should be salty and tangy. Overall the result should be a smoky, light and spicy flavour that’s difficult to resist.
Don’t forget your four-legged friends! Tips from James Wellbeloved (www.wellbeloved.com):
- Give them space. Lots of people in a small space can be overwhelming for our pets. Allocate an area in your garden for your dog before people arrive. It will prevent any falls or trips and will ensure your dog avoids those extra pieces of food from generous party guests.
- Create a special menu.It may seem natural to throw your dog a bone, but cooked bones found in ribs and chicken wings can splinter and become lodged in their digestive tract. Ensuring your dog is full before the BBQ kicks off will mean you don’t need to share your plate with your four legged friends.
- Keep them hydrated. We all love our pets to run around and play, interacting with our family and friends, but it’s important to make sure they stay hydrated with regular refills of their water bowl. Frozen watermelons pieces can be a lovely rehydrating treat in between water bowl refills.
- Bin it. We all know how good pets are at sniffing out leftovers, so make sure rubbish is out of reach. If covered in grease or leftovers – aluminium foil, plastic wrap and kebab skewers can be very dangerous, so keep a bin in reach of your BBQ and above floor level.
- Fun and games. Set out some toys or pet-friendly games that your dog and guests can all get involved in – this will ensure your dog gets some attention in between the next round of food!