There is nothing like a summer weekend spent relaxing in the garden with a barbecue. Follow my tips below and you will be surprised how easy it is. It’s a wonderfully informal way of eating and you can enjoy tasty morsels spread across the afternoon as different dishes are cooked.
If you are cooking a large amount of food, you will need a good depth of coals in your barbecue to keep the heat going long enough.
To check the temperature, hold your hand about 7cm away from the coals (roughly where the grill rack sits). You should be able to hold your hand over them for five seconds. This is medium-hot, which is usually a good temperature for barbecuing.
Some foods (such as sausages) may drip fat onto the coals and cause flaming. It is useful to have a spray bottle of water on hand so that you can spritz any flames that get too fierce.
It is best not to cook foods that are very thick or large. Chicken breast is best if flattened a little first with a mallet or scored, and drumsticks and thighs can be part-cooked in the oven before finishing on the barbecue.
Try not to use a marinade with lots of sugar, honey or syrup as the sugar will tend to burn quickly in the heat. Wipe off the marinade if necessary and boil down to use as a glaze at the end.
Sea bass is also delicious on the barbecue. Brush the fillets (keep the skin on) with oil and season. Oil the rack of the barbecue and place the fillets on the grill, cooking until they develop a crusty dark sear on the outside and the flesh turns opaque. Cooking time will vary with the thickness of the fillet.
Barbecue teriyaki chicken burger
Makes four burgers
These chicken burgers have a very tasty teriyaki glaze. I add this for the last few minutes, otherwise the honey in the glaze burns.
● 1 tbsp soy sauce
● 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
● 1 tbsp honey
● Quarter tsp ginger (fresh grated)
● Half red onion (55g) chopped
● 1 tbsp sunflower oil
● Half tsp olive oil
● 1 clove garlic, crushed
● 225g minced chicken
● 20g breadcrumbs
● 1 tsp chopped parsley
● Mix together the soy sauce, hoisin, honey and ginger to make the teriyaki sauce and set aside.
● Saute the onion in oil for 8 to 10 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
● Transfer to a bowl and cool slightly, then mix in the chicken, breadcrumbs, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
● Form into 4 burgers
● Oil the rack of the barbecue well with sunflower oil before putting the burgers on the rack.
● Cook over medium hot coals for 5 minutes each side, until cooked thoroughly. Medium hot coals means you should be able to hold your hand over the BBQ comfortably for 10 seconds.
● Brush the tops with teriyaki sauce, turn and cook for 1 minute, brush with sauce again, turn and cook a further minute.
● Repeat brushing and turning once more on each side, then serve.
Barbecue chicken wings
This is a tasty recipe for chicken wings. I only brush the wings with the sauce for the last few minutes of cooking, otherwise they burn.
Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 15 minutes. Serves 4
● 8 chicken wings
● Pinch of smoked paprika (or you could use ordinary paprika)
● 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
● 4 tbsp plum sauce
● 4 tbsp tomato ketchup
● Remove the wing tips then cut the wings in half at the joint.
● Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
● Oil the rack of the barbecue.
● Cook the chicken wings skin side down for 8 to 10 minutes, turn and cook for a further 5 to 6 minutes until cooked through.
● Meanwhile, combine the hoisin and plum sauce with the tomato ketchup to make a sticky sauce.
● Brush the wings with the sauce, then barbecue for a further minute.
● Brush again, turn and cook for another minute.
● Repeat this process one more time. Cool slightly before serving