The Magnificent Seven BBQ Tips For Winners
It could be fought between best friends or spouses, between partners or co-workers – when spring and summer swing around, one’s thing for certain: the battle of the barbecue is on! Cooking al fresco has the uncanny ability to bring out the competitive streak in even the most placid souls. So how do you ensure that your barbecuing game stays ahead of the rest?
Nothing says barbecue meat quite so much as those instantly recognisable, deep, dark char lines that sear across perfectly cooked steaks, burgers, chicken and more. Luckily, there’s an easy way to up the sear stakes… by lightly oiling the grill. Simply coat a clean, folded-up tea towel with vegetable oil – one that you’re willing to say goodbye to, note – grasp it firmly between your tongs and rub the barbecue’s bars. Bingo – meat that looks like the real deal.
It’s not only about the meat. Don’t overlook vegetables (or, whisper it, even firm tofu). Slices of onions, aubergine and courgette cook up beautifully on the grill. Onions work particularly well because their natural sugars caramelise during cooking, bringing out deep, sticky sweetness. Simply brush with a little oil and leave the flames to do their work! For vegetarians, make sure you declare an area of the grill meat-free to avoid cross contamination (and unhappy friends).
A Piece Of Pie
Looking for a sure-fire way to impress even the most demanding guests? Serve up barbecue pizza. We’re serious. Simply make or buy a base, slather with tomato sauce, and your favourite ingredients, and the crust will crisp up just like it does in your favourite Italian place. If you have a pizza stone, all the better – but not to worry, simply cook straight on the grill or use a baking tray, dusted with flour.
Barbecuing is just cooking in the great outdoors. So the age-old adage for preparing any kind of food, in any situation, also holds true. Seasoning properly is key.
Let’s talk marinades. Sure, leave meat soaking in aromatic good stuff overnight in the fridge – think pepper, herbs and more – but don’t ever add acids, alcohol or salt this early on. They’ll all start to ‘cook’ the meat, messing around with texture and colour way too early. Instead, introduce acids and alcohol no more than two hours before you’re going to get the coals glowing. And, keep a special eye on anything citrus, which will mess with fish in particular in a matter of minutes!
As for salt, season the very last minute before meat meets grill. And by the way, don’t throw money into the fire – coarse, expensive sea salt will simply slip off into the flames. You should be using fine salt instead.
Ahhh, the smoky flavours of summer – a barbecue wouldn’t be worthy of the name if meat and veg weren’t filled with deep, toasty, smoky notes. But don’t settle for that alone!
The judicious addition of a few herbs on the coals will infuse ingredients with even deeper flavour. We suggest fresh thyme and rosemary to start with; simply soak them in water then throw them in – that water will help the herbs stick around for longer as well as creating a load of smoke.
But Most Of All…
Have fun in the sun!
FIELDS (www.fieldschina.com) is a popular online grocery store for safe, quality food in China. FIELDS stocks fresh organic fruit and veg, imported and domestic meat and seafood, plus essential pantry items from home. Order before 5pm in Shanghai and benefit from same day delivery with delivery free for orders over RMB 200. A new customer? Great – you’ll receive a free gift with your first order!
With a full range of meats and veg, perfect for the barbecue, FIELDS also stocks all the essentials you need to get grilling in the sun. Shop through May and save up to 50% on selected barbecue fare.