Hi! I’m Kate and I’m here to talk to you about all things food in Buckingham and the surrounding areas. You can also follow me on Instagram and Facebook at @kate_a_edwards for more foodie updates.
As I’m writing this, we’re experiencing some un-seasonal snow, however I’m confident that by the time you read this article we’ll be firmly on the road to summer. So what better time to start talking BBQs!
I am fairly new to the world on BBQ-ing, but what I lack in experience, I make up for in passion! I was never that fussed about a classic British BBQ. The charred supermarket bought burgers and sausages never really did it for me, and I found the sides unimaginative. Now don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a time and a place for this classic BBQ fodder, but it wasn’t something I wanted to eat every weekend throughout summer.
Over the past few years I’ve been working on up-ing my BBQ game, so here are my top tips for how to have a cracking BBQ this summer.
Charcoal for is for champs
I’ve been experimenting with both gas and charcoal BBQs, and I have to say, charcoal always comes out on top. If you pick the right fuel, it adds a wonderful flavour to your food, as well as cooking it to perfection. The Oxford Charcoal Company is a great local company with a range of options to choose from. You can also add wood chips to achieve different smoky flavours.
Don’t get me wrong, gas also has it’s place. If you’re rustling up some burgers to feed the kids, or cooking up a few sausages after a bit of day drinking, it’s quick and easy and gets the job done. But if you’re putting time and effort into your food, take the time to get your fuel sorted too.
Pick one dish and cook it well
We’ve all been there. Someone overloads the BBQ with a variety of different meats, cooking them all at the same, at the same temperature, which results in nothing being cooked well and everything being over or under done.
To really wow your guests, pick one thing to be your main dish and really focus on cooking that well. I know it’s tempting to overload your guests with a variety of meats, but trust me, a well thought through menu will be much better received. To make it extra special, pick your meat up from a local butcher. They’ll be able to cut the meat exactly how you want it, and also offer some cooking tips too.
Pick the main event – think a whole chicken, beef short ribs or a leg of lamb. Then plan your sides around it. If you really want to go the extra mile, create a cocktail to go with your menu too!
Direct vs Indirect heat
Funnily enough, not all meats benefit from being flame-grilled over a ferocious fire. You wouldn’t cook everything on max heat in your oven or on the hob, and the same applies to your BBQ.
There are lots of different ways of setting up your BBQ so that you have an area for both direct and indirect cooking. You can see lots of examples online, or in DJ BBQ’s book “Fire Food” (which is a fantastic book to get you started on your BBQ-ing journey). You can then move your food between the two areas depending on what you need at the time.
For example, you don’t want to cook a spatchcocked chicken over direct heat for the whole cooking time, as it will dry out. However 20 minutes at the beginning or end of your cooking time will really hep to crisp the skin up.
It’s not all about the meat
There I said it! Controversial, I know. But there are so many amazing sides or veg based dishes you can create on the BBQ that will go down a treat. Take a look at the book “Charred” by Genevieve Taylor if you’re looking at adding some meat-free options to your repertoire. There are some great recipes there that will be sure to take your fancy.