With National Barbecue week around the corner (July 2nd – 11th) and the changeable weather taking a break (for now), many of us will be digging out our BBQs ready for a summer of gastronomy. While many of us will profess to be masters of the grill, some will be looking to avoid serving up burnt offerings or, worse still, undercooked health hazards. With that in mind, talented Cornish chef James Strawbridge has partnered up with online farm shop 44 Foods to share his top tips to ensure you’re barbecuing to perfection this summer. When James is not developing new recipes or directing photoshoots, he can be found foraging for wild food with his family or out at sea gig-rowing for his local club or painting the Cornish countryside.
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.
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.
Low n Slow – have a go at a slow-cooked recipe this summer with some wood chips for a smokey 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.
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.
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 reduce the set-up time before you can start cooking.
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 meat moist.
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.
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.
Burn baby burn – buy sustainably sourced charcoal to cook over rather than imported briquettes.
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.
To take the confusion out of choosing the right foods for your barbecue, James recommends trying a dedicated BBQ box from 44Foods.