Thursday, 29 September 2016

Eight Fun Facts About Burgers

If you intend to make the most of the last few days of the barbecue weather, the chances are that burgers will be on the menu – whether that’s beef, chicken, vegetarian or ham. Burgers are a popular choice as they are easily obtainable, reasonably cheap to buy or make, and they make the perfect comfort food. They are also easy to cook, so your guests won’t have to wait too long before tucking in!

Are you a burger fan who wants to make most of your concrete bbq by cooking up a treat before the good weather ends? To whet your appetite, here are ten facts about this trusty barbecue favourite brought to you by Big K Products, suppliers of summer and winter fuel across the UK.

Burger Day – Did you know that there is a day dedicated to burgers in the UK? August 25 is National Burger Day - the brainchild of London based ‘Mr Hyde’ to encourage people to try new flavours. This year hundreds of people attended a big event in the capital, which featured all sorts of burgers including Thai and Indian varieties and even burger desserts! Scores of restaurants nationwide also jumped on the bandwagon by offering diners money off burgers on the day.

Oddest Burger –The aptly named chef 'Rentokil' hit the headlines a few years back with his pop-up London restaurant that served sweet chilli pigeon burgers topped with meal worms infused with cheddar. However, even if you are the most innovative of chefs, you might want to avoid serving these to guests – if you want to cook for them again next year!

First Burger – The first burger was said to have been invented by a Texan who ran a canteen in the late 19th century. It is claimed that he was the first person who ever served ground beef patties sandwiched between two sliced of bread (although there are also others that have made this claim).

Burger Consumption – In the US as many as 50 billion burgers are eaten annually. It is estimated that if you put this many burgers in one line, they will stretch more than 30 times around the globe!

Burger Toppings – Want to know what some of the most popular toppings are to include in a burger? These are: ketchup, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, mustard, mayonnaise, pickles, bacon and barbecue sauce - although you won’t want them all at once. However, if you are cooking burgers on your concrete bbq this year, it’s a good idea to leave a few of these topping out for your guests.

Expensive Burger – The world’s priciest burger was served in Las Vegas for $5,000 and was made with foie grass, black truffles and Kobe beef. As expected for a burger of this calibre, it was sold accompanied by an extremely upmarket bottle of wine.

Burgers v Sandwiches– If you compare the popularity of burgers versus sandwiches across the globe, burgers would win hands down. As many as 6 out of ten sandwiches that are sold worldwide are, in fact, burgers.

Biggest Burger – South London based Burgers at Blacks’ celebrity claim is that they served Britain’s largest burger to diners. Called The Whopper, it topped the scales at 7lbs and totalled just over 17,500 calories, if you include the chips as a side dish. Anyone who finished eating it within 60 minutes got added to their hall of fame. You might struggle to make this whopper on your outdoor barbecue!

About Big K

Big K Products (UK) Ltd sell a wide range of summer bbqs including masonry barbecues, concrete bbqs and Kamado Joes, as well as barbecue charcoal, lighting aids, tools and accessories. We also sell patio heaters, so you can feel comfortable outside, even on the chilliest of evenings. Just click on the link above to order today.

Monday, 8 August 2016

BBQ Recipe Ideas for a Brazilian Themed Party

Are you hosting a Brazilian themed BBQ to celebrate the 2016 Summer Olympics? Here are some Brazilian BBQ ideas to get your taste buds flowing.

In the 16th century, barbecued meat was the staple food for the cowboys of Southern Brazil, who cooked in pits in the ground. The popularity of the BBQ spread to the capital, and now there are restaurants all over the world that specialise in Brazilian barbecued meat, although the food is now generally cooked on big BBQ grills.

If you are enjoying this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, you may want to take advantage of this party-nation and host your very own Brazilian themed barbecue. To ensure that you’re the perfect host, we have put together some BBQ ideas – including a starter, main course, salad and dessert, so you can show off your culinary skills.

Of course, to get your guests into the carnival spirit, why not put on some samba music, decorate your tables in white and green (Brazil’s national colours), and put some beers and Brazilian bubbly on ice? Your guests will love all the effort you have made and will look forward to your next BBQ party.

Take Your Marks...

As your guests wait for the food to cook on your brick-built barbecue, it’s a great time to serve up the starters. One really refreshing starter is fresh, roasted mini red peppers with mango salsa. Just roast the peppers until they blister, and peel off the skin once they have cooled. Chop them length-ways into bite sized pieces and fill with cooked prawns and mango salsa. You can make the mango salsa by mixing finely chopped red onion, mango, and a dash of orange juice and lime juice to taste.

Get Set...

An uplifting salad is simple to make and is always a great hit at a BBQ. Combine four handfuls of baby lettuce leaves with a small, finely chopped red onion, 4 grated carrots, 4 finely chopped tomatoes and half a cucumber. Dress your salad with a combination of olive oil and lime juice, seasoned to taste. Then place a bowl of feta cheese on the side for people to help themselves to.

Go...

Marinate chicken pieces for two to four hours in a combination of lime zest, freshly squeezed lime juice, chopped garlic, olive oil and a generous handful of chopped coriander. Once fully marinated, thread the chicken pieces onto skewers and cook until done. Serve it with tortilla wraps, lime wedges and the above salad for a fabulous main course.

...A Winning Finish

In addition to ice-cream and fruit salad for afters, having a freshly cooked dessert is always popular, especially among the youngest guests. A baked banana pie is a great finish to a Brazilian barbecue, and is an ideal way to use up any leftover bananas before they become over-ripe.

This dessert is easy to make. Just peel the bananas, cut them in half lengthways, lightly fry them and place them at the bottom of an oven proof bowl. Next, separate six eggs and mix the yolks with 225gms of sugar and knob of melted butter. Pour this mixture on top of the layer of bananas. Use the remaining egg whites to make a meringue and pour this on top of the mixture. Cook your banana pie for half an hour at about 150C (less for a fan oven), and let it cool before serving. It’s bound to be a real hit with your guests!

Big K

Big K sell high quality barbecues, including big BBQ grills, brick barbecues and stone BBQs, as well as all the tools, accessories and summer fuel to make your barbecue party a success. Just click on the link above to order your products online for home delivery.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Ten Ways to Keep Wasps at Bay at Your Summer Barbecue

The height of the summer is the perfect time to enjoy home cooked food on your brick barbecue. But while a barbecue is a great excuse to invite friends and family round for a gathering, having swarms of wasps buzzing round your guests is the quickest way to call time on your party. Here are Big K’s top ten tips on keeping wasps at bay, so your all-day barbecue keeps running but your guests stay put!

Natural Deterrents

While there are a host of insect sprays on the market, it’s likely you’ll find the perfect wasp repellent in your kitchen. Natural ways to discourage wasps cost next to nothing but reap rewards, as they ensure your guests enjoy a relaxed, pest-free afternoon. One deterrent is to light the contents of a cup of ground coffee. However, if you are unsure about this trick, fill a small bowl with cloves, as this will have the same effect.

Salads

Wasps don’t like cucumbers, and they don’t like the smell of mint either. So one idea is to combine these two ingredients in a salad – that way your guests will be impressed with your culinary skills, and you can keep your table clear of wasps.

Scents

While spraying on your favourite perfume or aftershave is a great way to get ready for a party, wasps also appreciate the smell. Unfortunately, these irritating pests are also attracted to the scent of sunscreen and deodorant, so it might be a good idea to swap these in summer for non-scented varieties.

Clothing

Wasps are attracted to certain colours, such as white and yellow. So avoid these colours when you dress your table – and yourself too. As a host, no matter how much you like your yellow or white T-shirt, this is one occasion when you might want to give it a miss. You could always opt for red clothing instead as wasps can’t see this colour.

Rubbish

It may sound obvious but when the party is in full swing, try to avoid leaving rubbish lying around on tables and chairs, and check your bins are fully secured. This prevents wasps swarming on the remnants of sweet food and drink left on empty plates and cans.

Sealed Containers

Just as it is worth clearing the rubbish as you go, it is also important to keep food in sealed containers, especially if it is likely to be out for some time. Plastic containers are easily obtainable and can be bought from your local supermarket or kitchen store.

Glasses

While this trick won’t get rid of wasps, it will stops stings in unexpected places. It’s worth serving drinks in glasses, rather than cans, as this way your guests can see exactly what they put into their mouth and will prevent nasty oral stings.

Sweet Trays

If you have a small party, one tried and trusted way of keeping wasps off the table is to lay a saucer of fizzy drink away from your guests. This will help attract wasps to their own designated eating spot, so they don’t buzz around your group.

Fake Nests

A quick internet search will show you a host of different ways to build your own fake wasp nest to mark your territory. Fake nests, such as brown paper bags, work as a deterrent as wasps are likely to avoid areas inhabited by ‘other wasps’.

Wasp Traps

These are easy to build out of old plastic bottles, although there are a variety of effective readymade wasp traps on the market. These can be bought from your local garden centre, or you can buy more sophisticated ones from a pest controller in your area.

Now you know how to deter wasps, you can simply relax and enjoy cooking on your brick barbecue. With our top tips your guests will appreciate all the effort you have made to make them feel comfortable, and they will soon look forward to your next party.

Big K – Click here to see our full range of barbecues including brick, masonry or stone bbqs, Kamando Joes, barbecue tools, accessories and summer fuel products.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Summer Cocktails to Sip by the BBQ

With the barbecue season now in full swing, why not try making some colourful cocktails from our recipes below, and impress your party guests with your presentation skills? Cocktails can be made in batches and served from a jug at parties, with slices of fruit added for a summery touch.

Mojito

Mojitos are perfect for summer, and are served over crushed ice with refreshing ingredients such as lime and sparkling water. Traditionally concocted with five ingredients, this cocktail is easy to make in batches and can be served in a tall glass with a straw. To make this cocktail you will need 1 ½ limes, 20 fresh mint leaves, 2 ½ tsp granulated sugar, a handful of ice, 65ml white rum, and a splash of soda water.

Place the lime, mint and sugar into a glass and crush with the end of a rolling pin to bruise the mint and squeeze the juices out of the lime. Add ice to the glass, pour over the rum and soda water, and stir well before serving. Enjoy!

Pimm's

This well-known summer drink has a reddish tint, and is often served in a jug with chopped fruit to add to the flavour. To make a Pimm’s punch, you will need a half a bottle of Pimms no.1, a litre of orange juice, a litre of apple juice, 350 ml of passion fruit syrup, 200 ml of lemon juice, and 30 raspberries.

Place the raspberries into a punch bowl, and add the Pimm’s no.1 to the bowl. Pour in the orange juice, apple juice, lemon juice and passion fruit syrup, and then adjust the measurements to your taste. Chill for three hours before serving to let the flavours develop, and then serve over ice in a jug or individual glasses while you dish up food from your brick BBQ. Additional fruit can be added as well, such as strawberries, oranges and limes.

Shirley Temple

This non-alcoholic drink is ideal for designated drivers, and also for children, to help them feel grown up and involved. To make a traditional Shirley temple, use 40ml of dry ginger ale, 40ml of pomegranate juice, 1.5tsp of sugar, and a wedge of lemon. You can either buy pomegranate juice from a shop, or you can extract the juice yourself from fresh pomegranates.

Measure all of the ingredients into a glass and stir until combined. Ice cubes can be added to keep the drink cool as you cook. For visitors that prefer an alcoholic beverage, you can add vodka or rum to create a "Dirty Shirley".

Gin and Tonic

Why not keep it simple and create a gin and tonic for your guests? Serve in a high ball glass with a slice of lemon or lime on hot days as a cooling drink before you dish out the food. This drink consists of just 3 ingredients: 25ml dry gin, 125ml tonic water and 10ml lime juice.

Ingredients can be adjusted to suit your personal tastes, and some people suggest that it should be made with equal parts of gin and tonic water. To make a gin and tonic simply fill a glass with ice, and then pour all of the ingredients over the ice into the glass. Garnish with lime or lemon wedges and you’re ready to serve.

Mai Tai

Let your outdoor party take on a tropical theme by serving Mai Tai cocktails. This alcoholic drink is based on rum, and matches well with a variety of meats such as chicken and pork, which can be cooked to perfection on your brick BBQ. To create a classic Mai Tai you will need 45ml Jamaican rum, 15ml orgeat syrup, 15ml triple sec, and 30ml lime juice. Some people also add a splash of Cointreau for extra flavour.

Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker, and add ice before shaking until cold. Strain the contents into a tall glass filled with ice, and garnish with a wedge of orange. The orgeat syrup will give the cocktail a noticeable almond taste, and this can be adjusted to suit the palates of you and your guests.

Woo WooM.

This simple drink is perfect for summer, and is made with vodka, peach schnapps and cranberry juice. Alternatively, light rum can be used to create a Georgia Peach cocktail. Measure out 2 parts of vodka to 1 part peach schnapps, and then add 4 parts of cranberry juice. Shake all of the ingredients together with ice, and then pour into a tall glass.

Big K - sell a variety of brick BBQ fuels to keep you going throughout summer, with fuel options for both modern and traditional styles of barbecues.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Seafood Barbeque Recipes for the Summer

Seafood is quickly becoming a new barbeque favourite as fish is considered a healthier alternative to the fattier red meats. It is also a fantastic option for those who don’t eat red meats for dietary reasons, and means that nobody misses out on the best barbeque food. We’ve found some delicious recipes for fish that would make any family barbeque a memorable one. Any of these recipes can be cooked on a stone or masonry barbeque. Wood-based fuels will create a slightly smokier taste to your fish if you’re not cooking it using foil.

Crispy Barbequed Salmon with Cucumber Yoghurt

Salmon is a light and not too fishy option for a seafood barbeque or as a fresh accompaniment to other barbeque dishes.

Start off with a large side of salmon, skin on, scaled and boned by your fishmonger. First, brush the bars of the barbeque to prevent the fish from sticking. Then lay your fish on a chopping board and using a sharp knife slash the skin evenly about 1cm in depth. Sprinkle the zest of one lemon and some finely chopped basil or fennel heads into the grooves and push it all firmly into the slices. Rub the fish down with some olive oil and season to your taste. Cook on the skin side first until golden and then flip over gently to cook the other side. You can then carefully remove the skin from the fish and cook it alongside to crisp up. Remove your fish once it’s just cooked and allow it to cool slightly before plating up.

For the cucumber yoghurt, cut a cucumber in half, remove the seeds and chop it up into small slices. Add this to some plain yoghurt with the juice of your zested lemon, half a chopped chilli and some finely chopped mint or oregano. Finally, drizzle the sauce over the top of your salmon with some olive oil. It can be served as a refreshing accompaniment to your barbequed salmon.

Teriyaki Tuna

Tuna is a really versatile fish, and even though it can have a fishy taste, it can often replicate the meaty feeling of steak if it’s cooked a certain way.

First, make a teriyaki marinade in a shallow dish using 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of rice wine, 1 large minced clove of garlic and 1 chunk of fresh minced root ginger. Alternatively, you could also buy a pre-made teriyaki marinade. Place 4 tuna steaks in the marinade, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least half an hour. Preheat your barbeque on a medium to high heat, remove your tuna from the marinade and gently brush the side of each steak with olive oil. Cook for 3-6 minutes or until it is ready. Serve with a crunchy salad or chunky chips.

Garlic and Chilli Prawn Skewers

For these simple and tasty skewered prawns, place 3 finely chopped cloves of garlic, 1 finely chopped and de-seeded chilli (or some chilli flakes if you prefer), 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of lime juice and some salt and pepper into a bowl and mix up until well combined. Pop your prawns into the mixture to coat them evenly, cover, then put them in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to marinate.

Preheat your masonry or stone barbeque to a high heat and poke your prawns onto some metal or bamboo skewers (soak these in water first and beware of burning bamboo skewers). Cook the prawns for a couple of minutes either side, until cooked through and golden in colour. Serve with some fresh lime wedges and home-made mayonnaise for a refreshing summery barbeque snack.

Ginger and Lime Swordfish

Swordfish is a fantastic fish for the barbeque. Just like tuna it holds well and has a steak-like texture. Make a marinade by combining 3 tablespoons of honey, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of oil, 2 small minced cloves of garlic, 2 small teaspoons of grated ginger, the zest of 1 lime and the juice of 1 lime, plus some pepper and salt. Place this in a shallow dish over the top of your swordfish steaks, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat your barbeque to a medium-high heat and place your fish on the grill, brushing the rest of the marinade over as you turn the steaks. Cook for a few minutes on each side and re-coat in the marinade, then allow to cook again for five minutes. It’s tasty with some sweet chilli rice, potato salad or a crunchy, sweet side salad.

Big K Masonry Barbecues – Click here to see our full range of charcoal and gas fuelled BBQs and BBQ fuels.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Ten Delicious Ideas on What to Serve at a BBQ

For most people stocking up on burgers and sausages instantly springs to mind when hosting a barbecue. It’s not surprising when this type of food is easy to find in the shops, reasonably priced, simple to cook, and is just served in a bun. However, cooking from brick BBQs doesn’t have to be about throwing the simplest things on the grill (unless you are catering for a large group and want to cut down on costs). If you love cooking and are hosting a party for a small group, an attractive brick BBQ is your chance to show off your skills and get creative. Unsure what to cook? Here are ten delicious ideas from Big K who sell a range of high quality outdoor living products, stone and brick BBQs, barbecue accessories, and summer fuel.

Although the barbecue season is nearly over there's still chance to host at least one more gathering before the weather cools. And, with these ideas you can impress your guests with your culinary skills.

Big K Products – Click here to order your barbecues and summer fuel products for home delivery.

Kebabs – You can skewer most things in your refrigerator from chicken pieces to monkfish, lamb, prawns or vegetables. Kebabs are easy to put together and they make a welcome alternative to burgers. For an extra kick, try out various marinades to see which one works for you. If you are making chicken kebabs, for instance, why not try Jamie Oliver’s delicious summery marinade by whizzing together coriander, mint, garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice in a food processor, then adding olive oil? Alternate between the marinated chicken, red peppers and onion on the skewer.

Steaks – Rump steaks, such as Aberdeen Angus, are firm favourites on the barbecue. However, as steaks are quite pricy it’s important that you cook them to perfection (or almost!) each time. Experts advise on choosing thick steaks as it’s easier to control how much you cook them. Although there are all sorts of marinades to choose from (including adding a dash of Worcester sauce), a juicy steak is packed with flavour and tastes good just as it is. A top tip is to cut your steaks into chunks after cooking, if you have a quite a few mouths to feed.

Chicken Wings – According to the Bon Appetit website, to make the perfect chicken wings you need to marinade them for at least an hour in advance (or the day before if you have the time). For the marinade, use a mix of fresh oregano, rosemary and olive oil in equal quantities, plus a few cloves of chopped garlic. Then grill the wings for about 20 minutes on a medium heat, and voila, your guests will be queuing for more!

Vegetables – Corn makes a tasty and colourful alternative to grilled meat and the results are simply delicious! They require virtually no preparation at all; you just grill the cobs wrapped in aluminium foil or even in their own husks. Serve with chilli butter or just brush with olive oil as an alternative to plain butter. Aubergine and asparagus also taste wonderful when barbecued.

Fish – Grilled fish is another option and, like the vegetables above, it is better on the waistline. Lemon sole, salmon steaks, seabass, trout, swordfish and red snapper are ideal choices for your barbecue. Grill a selection of fish and cut them into pieces when they’re done, so guests can take their pick. Grilled seabass with garlic butter or salmon steaks with dill and lemon are easy to make and are firm favourites among seafood lovers.

Shellfish – Prawns are always a big hit on the barbecue and can be grilled by themselves, or on a skewer. If you want to go all out to impress your guests, however, grilled lobster tails are simple to cook and make a fantastic party piece. The lobster can be chopped into chunks and served with garlic butter.

Brick BBQs are an attractive addition to a garden and are the perfect choice for outdoor parties and celebrations. Click on the link above to see our full range of charcoal and gas fuelled barbecues from Big K Products.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Four Superb Salads for Barbecue Parties

If you are entertaining al fresco this season, you’ll already know that barbecuing is not all about the meat, fish or veggie burgers you are grilling (although this is a big part of it). But it’s also about what to serve with it. And, with a rise in the numbers of people striving for healthier ways of eating, salads are becoming a vital part of the al fresco experience.
Salads have come a long way since the days of shredded Iceberg lettuce, chopped cucumber, tomatoes, onion and a vinaigrette. They are now becoming increasingly more exotic with a host of different ingredients thrown into the mix, which are all designed to stimulate the palate and leave your guests craving for more.
Since budding chefs and professionals have started to experiment with herbs, spices, chillies, dressings, feta or haloumi cheeses, exotic vegetables, seeds, bulgur wheat or couscous in salads, gone are the days of the predictable side dish. So to ensure that your barbecue is a hit with your guests this summer, here’s four salad ideas from Big K, who are suppliers of gas fuelled, masonry, concrete or brick barbecues and accessories in the UK.
Big K Barbecue Accessories UK – Follow the link for details of our barbeques, accessories and fuels.

Refreshing Summer Couscous, Mint and Tomato Salad

Put about 250g of couscous into a large bowl, cover with boiling water and set it aside for about ten minutes. Meanwhile, chop a generous handful of vine tomatoes, 3 finely sliced spring onions, cucumber (seeded and diced), one red chilli, a handful of chopped mint leaves, parsley and coriander, and mix them all together.
Mix up the couscous with a fork and stir in your vegetables. Add a couple of tablespoons of virgin olive oil, the zest and juice of one lemon, and a pinch of cayenne. Mix it all up and you’re ready to serve.

Scrumptious Spinach, Beetroot and Feta Cheese Salad

Combine a bag of baby leaf salad and baby spinach leaves and place in a large bowl. Chop up four cooked beetroot, and crumble two packs of feta cheese and add them to the lettuce. Combine with four finely chopped spring onions and a handful of chopped mint leaves, plus one finely sliced red chilli (with or without the seeds).
Finally, make a simple dressing of 75g of lemon juice, a heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard and 75g of extra virgin olive oil. Then mix up the dressing, pour it on top of the salad, and it’s ready to go!

Avocado and Mango Salad with a Zingy Lime Dressing

This summer salad is easy to make. All you have to do is put a bag of baby leaf lettuce into a large bowl. Then roughly cut two mangos and two avocados into half inch cubes and place them on top of the lettuce.
Then it’s time to make the dressing. Just combine the zest and juice of two limes, with a chopped red chili, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil. Add a touch of honey and some chopped coriander leaves and mix with the salad. You might want to place a few lime wedges on the side for presentation.

Delicious Pear, Walnut and Haloumi Cheese Salad

This doesn’t take long to put together and it is a fantastic accompaniment to a barbecue. Just empty a bag of baby leaf lettuce into a large bowl. Roughly chop two pears into cubes and add to the mix. Slice a packet of haloumi cheese into rectangles and grill for a few minutes each side, then pan fry two handfuls of walnut pieces. Add some lemon juice to taste, mix up all the ingredients together and you’re ready to serve.
Big K
Along with charcoal and gas fired barbecues, Big K also sell a wide range of barbecue tools and accessories in the UK including grill brushes, kebab skewers, barbecue skewers, tool sets, shovels, forks and cleaning kits. We also sell steak grills, fish grills, charcoal or wood braziers, gas conversion kits, fireplace protection, rotisserie spits and kits, wok plates and stone sets. Click on the link above to see our full range.