Top BBQ tips and mouthwatering smokey recipes

Nothing beats a good barbecue. Check out these delicious recipes for a alfresco feast...
 
Cooking with fire is the most primal and pure way of cooking — meat, especially. The smoke and flames create that unmistakeable taste of real barbecue. It is a flavour I wish I could enjoy more often, but, when the rain stops long enough for a good barbecue, I'll savour the occasion and every smoky mouthful.
 
If you can cook with fire, then you can cook with any heat. It's impossible to give exact times for any barbecue recipes because there is so much variability in the heat of the fire, the distance from |the flame and whether the barbecue itself retains more or less of that heat.
 
It's important to keep a good eye on anything you're cooking to see if you need to adjust the fire or the distance.
 
Don't be afraid to give your meat a good prod with your fingers (firmness means it is becoming well cooked) or a poke with a skewer (if the skewer goes in and out easily, the meat is tender and cooked). Of course, barbecuing becomes easier with practice, but marinating your meat is especially useful. As well as adding flavour, the marinade means that the meat will stay moist, even in the dry heat of the fire.
 
My favourite way to barbecue chicken is to spatchcock it first. It's very simple to do, really — using some good poultry shears or a sharp knife, you can flatten out the chicken to ensure it cooks evenly, and every part of the skin gets deliciously caramelised and sticky.
 
I'll marinate it with everything from yoghurt and ginger to all sorts of different herbs and spices.
 
The piri piri spice blend, opposite, is simple but really effective, with the chillies providing just the amount of heat that I like, but do deseed them if you'd prefer your chicken not-too-spicy.
 
Butterflying a leg of lamb or a pork leg is another great way of barbecuing the meat. It ensures it stays nice and flat, so that it will cook evenly throughout. You can ask your butcher to butterfly your meat for you. A butterflied leg of lamb or pork will feed about 10 to 20, or even 30 people, if it is very large. Feel free to adjust the recipe if your leg of meat is larger or smaller than that suggested opposite.
 

BBQ Recipes: 

 
Rachel’s tip:
 
Marinating meat for an hour or so will bring some flavour to it and is absolutely worth it. However, if you have the time (and organisation!) to marinate the meat overnight, the spices and other ingredients will really have time to penetrate and infuse the meat with their gorgeous, aromatic taste.
 
Rachel recommends:
 
We are really lucky to have a few great free-range chicken farmers close to where we live: Dan Ahern’s organic chickens are sold at Midleton farmers’ market and direct. Tom Clancy's beautiful Ballycotton chickens are sold at Mahon Point farmers’ market, while Robert Fitzsimmons sell their birds at local shops around the East Ferry area. All of these farmers will also sell their delicious birds direct.
 
Dan Ahern Organic Chickens, tel: (021) 463-1058
Tom Clancy Free-range Poultry, tel: (086) 308-9431
Robert Fitzsimmons, see www.eastferryfarm.com

Shaneod Jun 15, 2014 News