The season for BBQs has arrived, bringing the chance to eat al fresco in the sunshine with family and friends. Many people are either getting out their BBQ from last year or investing in a new one. Whether you prefer concrete, brick, masonry or stone BBQs, there are many different designs to choose from, including chimney BBQs.
Once you've got your BBQ set up and have arranged the area with attractive seating and tables, the next question is what to cook? Many people rely on the same old favourites every time, such as sausages and chicken legs. However, there are plenty of other sizzling recipes which also taste great cooked and eaten in the open air. Here Big K, who supply a wide range of BBQs, accessories and BBQ fuels, look at some dishes with a difference to enjoy outdoors this summer.
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As well as burgers and sausages, there are also many other meat dishes which can be cooked in the open air. Often it's a case of putting a new spin on a traditional BBQ recipe, for instance by marinating lamb chunks in Indian spices to create kebabs with a curry twist. Alternatively, pour a yoghurt-based Tandoori marinade over chicken breasts, thighs or chunks, and then leave the chicken to soak up the flavours before grilling.
Flattening pork chops, cutlets or cheaper cuts of steak before cooking them can help to make them easier to cook – or you could just prick the meat with a fork. Again, a marinade will help to add both flavour and tenderness. Mix up your own marinades and you can have fun adding different flavours, ranging from garlic to soy sauce, honey, vinegar and rosemary. Peppers or hotter spices will give a stronger tang.
Marinating well ahead is the key to a successful BBQ meat feast. If using charcoal, it's also essential to make sure the coal is at the right temperature and has turned white before adding the meat, so that it cooks evenly throughout. Another way to help the meat cook well is to add a stainless steel steak grill to your BBQ. You could also buy a rotisserie spit and cook a whole chicken over the BBQ, achieving a deliciously even flavour.
BBQ Fish Dishes
Meat might be the first type of food that comes to mind when planning a BBQ, but it's by no means the only option. Fish also tastes great cooked in this way. If you're a fan of BBQ seafood dishes you can even buy a double fish grill to make it easier to cook, making turning easier and keeping the fish in great condition.
One delicacy to try is a salmon fillet, marinated in a garlic and olive oil-based mixture and cooked on foil. Alternatively, whole fish that work well grilled on the BBQ range from trout to mackerel, sea bass, bream or red mullet; and leaving the skin on means a deliciously crispy outside layer. However, it's best to make sure the BBQ isn't too hot, to avoid cooking the outside of the fish too well before the inside is ready. It can be easier to cook fish dishes over gas barbecue grills because of the greater controllability, but they can also be grilled successfully over charcoal.
As well as whole fish, kebabs made from chunks of white fish or prawn skewers are also ideal treats for a BBQ party. Or why not try fish parcels wrapped in foil, prepared with a Thai or Chinese marinade?
So what about vegetarian guests? The good news is that there's no need for non-meat eaters to feel left out, because there are many veggie options which taste equally good cooked in the great outdoors.
Instead of buying ready-made veggie burgers, you could try slices of grilled aubergine with halloumi and pesto patties in a burger bun. Carrot and sesame burgers are another option. Grilled vegetable kebabs, featuring a colourful mix of peppers, courgettes and mushrooms, are also likely to prove popular.
Other Items on the Menu
The key to a great BBQ isn't just the food you cook on the grill, but also the extras. The key is to keep things simple but interesting, for instance by trying out some different salads or more unusual types of breads. If anyone still has room for dessert, banana splits are a great BBQ option. Sprinkle lemon juice and brown sugar on sliced bananas and grill them quickly, with vanilla ice cream as the finishing touch.
If you are looking for inspiration for unusual BBQ dishes, there are plenty of recipe books to choose from. The BBQ Book, presented by Jamie Oliver's Food Tube, includes recipes by American chef DJ BBQ, also known as Christian Stevenson. Ainsley's Ultimate Barbecue Bible, by TV chef Ainsley Harriott, is another popular title on the theme.
Big K has a range of products including brick and stone BBQs, plus many other options to suit your particular garden. We also sell a full range of barbecue accessories and offer home delivery of BBQ fuels.
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