One of the main differences between barbecue cooking and regular home cooking is that the focus is less on convenient food, and more on making food that’s fun.
When you cook using coal and wood, things are a bit less predictable. There’s something quite primal about cooking when you have to man the fire and watch your meat closely, making sure it doesn’t burn.
Choosing the correct equipment for your needs is important. If you want to smoke meat for hours on end, you will require something which can take charcoal, but if you are going to mainly stick to burgers and steaks, you may want to opt for our gas griddle for sale.
If you are going to be cooking low and slow, you will want to buy a good meat thermometer. In order to get the most succulent meat, you will need to ensure it stays at the correct temperature for the duration of the cook, or else it will end up drying out.
Choosing your ingredients
As well as having the right equipment, it is equally important that you select the correct ingredients. We have taken a look at this in a bit more detail below:
When it comes to slow cooking beef, ox cheek is an absolute dream and can now be found in many supermarkets. It is a great choice for slow cooking as it has all the fatty qualities of larger slow cooked meat such as brisket or shin, but it is small enough that you can cook it quickly – 5-6 hours at around 120°C.
If you are looking for something to cook a bit quicker, short ribs are great for grilling. The British short ribs aren’t quite as large as the American varieties, which means you can cook them in about 8-10 minutes on a grill.
Chicken and Duck
Chicken is a perfect ingredient for the barbeque, and you don’t need to mess about with it; go whole. To ensure the bird cooks as evenly as possible, open up the cavity and spread the legs as much as possible. Cook it for about an hour and 20 minutes at 120°C and make sure it is cooked through. You can then either eat it straightaway, or let it cool down, then grill it hard to get a good char, or roast in a hot over for crispy skin.
Duck is very much the same, but you may wish to remove the legs and cook the crown separately, as the legs take a little while longer to cook (unless you don’t mind well-done breast meat). But if you are going to overcook the breast, you might wish to take it a step further so it is like Chinese crispy duck, as the stage between medium and well done tends to lack flavour.
Pig wings, otherwise known as pork hocks, are a very underused cut of meat, but they are great value for money and cook on a barbeque brilliantly. Pick it up from your local butcher and ask them to remove the skin. Then, season with salt and pepper or your favourite rub and cook for 6-8 hours at 120°C, or until soft and tender.
For something a bit faster, opt for pork shoulder steaks over than loin, as they have a much more interesting marbling and flavour to them. Cook them quickly to a nice medium (6-8 minutes on a grill) and serve with your favourite condiment – although a dollop of good mustard never goes a miss!
Pork ribs are a fantastic option for a summer BBQ as they are on of the cheapest cuts you can get and also one of the tastiest! Dry rub your ribs 24 hours in advance and cook them low and slow over your BBQ, slathering on a sticky marinade as they cook.
Lamb ribs are among some of the best cuts out there when it comes to slow cooking. Similarly to ox cheek, they are smaller than other ribs but have a high fat ratio, so they can be cooked quicker – around 5-7 hours at 120°C.
Thin-cut lamb chops are a great way to feed guests who are getting a bit impatient and peckish at your event. Cook them hot and fast on the grill, then have a bowl of your favourite seasonings or spices at hand to coat them in as they come off the grill.
If you are not a meat fiend, vegetables are perfect when cooked on the grill. You shouldn’t be afraid to get some heavy charring on the outside – it tastes bitter on meat but is perfect on vegetables.
You should buy what’s fresh and in season, then chuck it all on the grill until it is soft on the inside. If it starts turning too black, take it off and set it to one side.
To kick things up a gear, halve some lemons, caramelise the insides on the grill and then dress the veg with the juice, some olive oil and a handful of fresh herbs.
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