It seems to me there are three reasons to fire up the barbie. One, it affords a refreshing opportunity to indulge in stereotypes and allow the male of the house to display his macho cooking skills in the face of fire and enormous slabs of meat. Two, it’s fun! Cooking outside is a gas – even on coals! An event. A spectacle. And an escape from the daily drudge of feeding folk. And three, cooking over charcoal makes food taste darn good.
So to highlight each of these very fine reasons for wheeling out the BBQ I’ve chosen three of my favourite BBQ recipes that are in turn; man based and meaty, entertaining and a bit silly and gloriously charred and delicious.
Mr. B’s BBQ Ribs
First up, Mr. B’s spare ribs. This is man cooking of a very primitive nature indeed. It comprises of great hunks of juicy ribs slathered in a sweet sticky sauce that could punch the living daylights out of you – but in a nice way.
No matter how many you make they will all be chomped and the ribs sooked free of their sauce.
half a pot of strawberry jam – or homemade apple chutney
2 heaped tsps ginger
2 star anise
4 – 5 tbsps dark soy sauce
2 tbsps honey
good glug of balsamic vinegar
Optional extras inc: marmite, pomegranate molasses cinnamon or other favoured spices.
Combine all the ingredients in a shallow bowl; slather the ribs in the mixture. Bag the whole lot up and leave overnight in the fridge, or for as long as you can.
Preheat oven to 160°.
Put the ribs and marinade in an oven proof dish, cover well to keep the liquid in and cook for about 60 – 90 mins, opening up once in a while to turn the ribs. Flash up the heat towards the end of the cooking to help darken the marinade a little.
Once the flesh is soft and beginning to tease away from the bone, bring the pot out to the BBQ and pour over any remaining marinade. Add a squirt more runny honey and flash the ribs onto the BBQ just long enough to blacken the sauce up and give them a nice charcoal finish.
Beer Butt Chicken
Quite honestly cooking doesn’t come more fun than this exemplar of Southern US cuisine.
Sticking a half drunk can of beer – how you dispose of the unneeded half is up to you – up a chicken’s bottom may seem crude and ludicrous but there is method in the trailer trash madness. The beer gradually steams the chook from the inside out and the coals infuse the meat with a deep charred flavour. Win. Win.
1 whole chicken
1 can beer, or lager
Wash the chicken inside and out. Pat dry, rub with a tablespoon of olive oil, season, scatter over a handful of chopped thyme leaves, you could always post a few sprigs through the ring pull hole before putting the can in place. Next put the half drunk can of beer up the chicken’s bottom and place upright on the BBQ.
There are two key things to getting this right. First make sure the chicken is standing upright, so ensure the legs are untied and sitting out at an angle to support the weight of the bird. Second make sure the BBQ is at the right temperature – not too hot or the bird will burn on the outside and be raw inside. Best to have a pile of smoking coals at one side of the BBQ and the chicken on the other. Then add a handful of coals every half hour or so to keep things ticking over.
After your chicken is settled close the lid of the BBQ and cook for about an hour and a half – maybe a little more. Pierce the flesh just behind a leg to check if the juices run clear.
Don’t stop reading! There’s nothing to be afraid of. BBQ’d squid is easy, simple and delicious. Also squid goes brilliantly with meaty flavours, and is at it’s sweet, juicy best on the BBQ. You can even buy it frozen, prepared and cheap as chips from the supermarket. It doesn’t suffer at all from freezing.
750g of prepared squid, of any size, tentacle or not
1 tbsp olive oil
Regardless whether you have big or small squid the principle is the same. Insert a knife into the body cavity of the squid and cut a seam down one side so you can open it out flat. Next score the flesh diagonally, each way to form a diamond pattern, without cutting all the way through the flesh.
Next zest the lemon and mix into the olive oil with the seasoning. Rub this mixture all over the squid and put back in the fridge until needed. Leave for a minimum of ten mins.
When your BBQ is ready place the squid diamond side up on top of a BBQ basket and char on each side for about 1 min. The squid will curl as it cooks which is why I use a BBQ basket – it stops the squid falling between the bars. Jiggle the squid about to make sure it’s cooked on all sides. Cook for no more than 4 mins total.
Squeeze liberally with lemon juice and enjoy!
If you enjoyed this post and know any BBQ fans please “like’ and “share” it using the social buttons.