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Here at Jenius Social, we regularly put on classes to help people improve their skills on the grills and have picked up some expert tips and tricks along the way. So here are a few pointers to ensure your barbecues don’t, well, go down in flames this summer.
Cook meat to within an inch of its life – This, perhaps, is the first rule of barbecuing. Just because you are cooking on coals it doesn’t mean the meat has to look like them, too. Many people cite fear of poisoning as a reason for overcooking meat but remember this: only a few meats are dangerous to eat when undercooked. Source good quality lamb, beef and, to a lesser extent, pork and there will be no issues.
Make sure not all parts of your barbecue are the same temperature – This will give you more control in terms of how quickly and consistently things cook. For example, if a sausage is blistered black on the outside but still underdone in the centre, try moving it to a less intense part of the grill (where you have cleared away some coals) – it will continue to cook just in a gentler fashion. Oh, and a meat thermometer always helps.
Neglect vegetarians!– Yep, we’ve all done it.What with all the pressure of catering for multiple stomachs it can be easy to forget that meat is off the table for some. Cue some desperate rummaging down the back of the freezer and a few lonely Linda McCartney sausages being plonked on to the grill at the last minute. Awkward…
Use vegetables creatively –As an increasing amount of chefs are demonstrating, vegetables need not be relegated to mere extras. Give them some affection and they can take centre stage. For the barbecue, choose grill-ready veg like aubergine, red pepper and corn on the cob and lavish them with marinades, spice mixes and composite butters. Robust cheeses like paneer and halloumi also respond well to this treatment, while when it comes to veggie burgers that won’t crumble at the first sign of heat we love this recipe in the New York Times.
Stress too much!– A flustered host puts guests on edge and makes them more likely to look for mistakes once the food is served. When there are hot coals and high temperatures involved it pays to be as cool as a cucumber (which, by the way, is also quite tasty once barbecued).
Prepare beforehand– This seems obvious but it always surprises us how much people leave to the last minute. By the time guests arrive the only thing left to do should be the actual cooking of the meat: the kitchen should be tidy, the salad and sides cordoned off with a double layer of cling film and the washing up that can be done should be done. A tidy cook is a good cook, so they say; or one less likely to take themselves off to the garden shed for a little cry, so we say.
Forget about desserts!– Thought your job was over once the savoury items had been scoffed? Think again. Because no gourmet barbecue is complete without something sweet to round it off. I know what you’re thinking - marshmallows and banana - but, c’mon, we can do much better than that…
Try some of these ideas – Wrap peaches wrapped in a foil parcel of lemon thyme and honey, grill and serve with vanilla ice cream and lightly toasted almonds. Marinate strawberries in rosé or champagne and grill in a parcel of fresh mint and elderflower. Soak pineapple in rum and coat with a mix of cinnamon and brown sugar before charring all over. All of the above will round off your show of gourmet grilling with pizzazz.
Looking for more sweet inspiration? Then why not book a place on our popular Classic French Desserts cooking class.
Try our Wild West BBQ cookery class for the best BBQ course in London! Learn how to make Pulled Pork, Baby Backed Ribs, Buffalo Chicken Wings, Home made BBQ sauce and delicious Coleslaw in 2 hours!
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