This year’s National BBQ week starts on 5th July, and 2021 marks the Silver Anniversary of this annual event. With the long period of lockdowns and social restrictions we’ve all endured, the organisers are sure that we’ll all be going ‘Barmy for a Barbi’! So how do you make your BBQ go with a swing this July?
Having the right kit can make anything easier, and that’s certainly true when it comes to the BBQ. Whether you are a die-hard traditional charcoal-griller, prefer the convenience of gas, or love to cook on an open flame, here is a round-up of the must-have equipment for summer 2021:
Weber Chimney Starter
A brilliant gadget for getting your barbecue going and ready to cook quickly and reliably, a chimney starter works by allowing air to circulate through the coals, feeding them plenty of oxygen to get them going. This Weber version has two handles, so it is easy to release them onto your cooking area when you’re ready to go.
Buy from Weber
Every BBQ chef needs to look the part! This smart apron from John Lewis is suitably rugged (so brilliantly unisex), made from a heavy cotton fabric, and features a couple of small pockets at the front, perfect for keeping your tools and a lighter (or a bottle opener?) within easy reach.
Available from John Lewis
For a little something different, how about roasting a whole chicken using this non-stick chicken roaster? Cooking a chicken over a beer can is a trick that the Aussies are usually credited with – making the end result moist and tender with succulent juices. This specialist roaster gives similar results but is rather easier to use – and the base collects all of the delicious juices as the chicken cooks.
Jamie Oliver BBQ Chicken Roaster is available from Robert Dyas
Even a novice will look like a pro when they whip out this 20 piece BBQ tool set. Containing everything you need to prepare and cook a delicious BBQ feast (and clean the grill afterwards!), it makes a great gift, too.
20 piece Stainless Steel BBQ tools set available from Amazon
Top Tips for a Perfect Barbecue
1. Choose the right fuel
Try and avoid the service station briquettes, and instead go for a sustainably sourced lumpwood charcoal – for a better, more natural flavour. We are lucky enough to have some local, small-scale suppliers of lumpwood charcoal here in West Sussex. Have a look at the Green Olive Firewood Company, who produce their charcoal in a zero emission retort here in West Sussex, and who also offer a mail order service. Or if you’re in the area pop into Wild Sussex, who offer their local lumpwood charcoal for click and collect, as well as a range of other local timber produce, too.
2. Be patient!
Many a BBQ has been ruined by rushing the food on too early, which often results in an overly charred outside and a raw inside! Take your time and allow the flames to die down fully, before starting to cook. They should be white and glowing, to give the most even heat. Once ready, you can move the coals to one side so that you have a hot area, and one with only indirect heat – so that you can move food around for best results.
3. Don’t forget the vegetables
Often the focus in a BBQ is solely on the meat – but don’t forget the vegetables, too! Most vegetables are delicious when sliced thinly and gently charred on the grill. Just a drizzle of oil and vinegar and they are ready to go. Or plan your sides in advance and put together some simple salads, grains such as cous cous, or even some flatbreads that work brilliant with BBQ food.
4. Spend time with your guests
A BBQ should be fun for the host, as well as the guests! So don’t get so carried away with your BBQ menu that you don’t have any time so spend with them. Choose one or two meat dishes, a salad and side dish, and perhaps some good bread – then open the wine and make sure you have time to chat while you cook.
BBQ’s often require extra space – for drinks, an array of delicious side dishes or condiments, or somewhere to put the sausages while they are waiting to be cooked. Our BBQ folding tables are the perfect extra; they fold away when not in use, and are light and easily transportable. Set one up next to the BBQ and you’ll have everything easily to hand.
Our Teak Butler’s Tray is another BBQ favourite – it can be used inside or out, to transport food or drinks, or as another convenient side table.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…THE FOOD!
Here is our favourite family BBQ chicken recipe, along with a delicious Lamb Kofta recipe to feed a crowd kindly shared by the brilliant chef at one of our favourite Sussex pubs, the Noahs Ark in Lurgashall, plus a recipe from Heston Blumenthal via Waitrose Magazine – a Barbecue Pork Shoulder.
Victoria & Dickie’s Barbecued chicken with Halloumi & Sweet Potato Salad
Spatchcock a whole free range Rother Valley Farm chicken. Mix cajun pepper, paprika, cumin, garlic, brown sugar, sea salt, and thyme and rub onto chicken.
An hour and a half before serving, put kindling into a Kadai fire bowl and light. After 15 minutes or so, add charcoal. When charcoal is evenly ash-white throughout, put on grill, heat it, and brush off.
Barbecue chicken breast side up for 30 minutes, then turn for another 30 minutes.
Halloumi & Sweet Potato Salad:
Wrap 2 large sweet potatoes in foil and cook on the barbecue for an hour or so until soft. Roughly chop 500g ripe mixed-colour tomatoes and toss with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, and season.
Cut halloumi into 1cm thick pieces and barbecue for 5 minutes.
Tear soft sweet potato onto plate, toss rocket through tomatoes, then pile on top. Add halloumi, drizzle with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of pepper.
Served with a glass (or two) of Rose.
The Noahs Ark Lamb Koftas with Flat Bread & Tzatziki
Serves: 15 – 20
2kg lamb mince
1 – 2 red chillies (depending on how much chilli heat you prefer)
3 cloves garlic
¼ large bunch coriander
1tsp coriander seeds
1tsp cumin seeds
Salt and Pepper
1. Finely chop the chilli, garlic, coriander and seeds together and mix by hand in to the lamb mince.
2. Season well then make one small ball and cook in a pan to check the amount of spice and flavour. Adjust and re-check. (Chefs Tip: the juice and zest of a lemon and a good slug of Worcestershire sauce will add a little depth)
3. Divide the lamb mixture into individual portions (each should weigh approximately 45g, as a guide) and mould into cylinder shapes – they will be served on skewers. Do not put skewers in until AFTER they are barbecued
4. Cook your koftas on the BBQ, turning frequently to make sure they are evenly cooked and coloured on the outside.
5. Serve with a rocket, grated carrot and toasted cumin seed salad with a simple salad dressing, flat breads, and tzatziki
Flat Bread Ingredients
1kg plain or bread Flour
50g fresh yeast
5 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar
400ml lukewarm water
1. To make your dough, mash the yeast with the sugar in a bowl until the yeast starts to dissolve, then add the warm water. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then add the yeast mixture, mixing well to form a soft dough.
2. The bread dough doesn’t need to prove – so once you’ve made the dough, divide into evenly sized balls (depending on how many and how large you would like your flatbreads to be), and then pat / roll them out so that each one is around 1/2 inch thick.
3. Place on a hot BBQ (no flame), and grill for about two minutes each side, until each one is charred on the outside and light and fluffy inside. Brush with garlic oil as soon as they come off the grill.
4. To make homemade tzatziki mix greek yogurt, fresh chopped mint, deseeded and sliced cucumber cubes, a sprinkle of cumin, one minced garlic clove, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add finely diced red onion added just before serving.
Heston Blumenthal’s Barbecue Pork Shoulder (with thanks to Waitrose.com)
Serves: 8 – 10
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp salt
2kg Waitrose Free Range Whole Pork Shoulder, bone out
2 x 175ml Heston from Waitrose Ultimate Barbecue Sauce
1. Place all of the dry spice ingredients in a bowl together and mix well. Place the pork shoulder in a bowl and sprinkle the spice rub on the surface of the meat, cover and allow to rest in the fridge overnight.
2. To barbecue, prepare an indirect heat barbecue by stacking the coals to one side of the pit and placing a heatproof tray filled with water on the other side – this creates an area which will gently cook and smoke the meat. Light the coals, place the grill over the barbecue and preheat for 30 minutes.
3. Oil the grill and place the pork shoulder on the cooler side of the grill (over the water tray) skin side up. Cook for 4 hours, adding more coals if necessary. The water tray should be constantly simmering – add more water if required.
4. Double wrap the joint with aluminium foil and place back onto the barbecue for a further 4-6 hours until the meat is falling apart.
5. Alternatively, to cook conventionally, preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6. Place the pork on a rack over a large roasting tin half filled with hot water. Roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 100ºC, gas mark ½ and cook for a further 3½ hours. Double wrap the joint with foil and place back on the rack in the oven to roast for a further 4 hours until the meat is falling apart.
6. To finish, pull the meat apart by shredding with 2 forks and serve with the barbecue sauce.
Enjoy your National BBQ week, however you choose to mark it!