Top tips for a great summer BBQ

There's nothing quite like a bank-holiday weekend to make you want to get outside and start cooking al fresco. If you haven't already brushed down your barbecue, then now is definitely the time. For those of us who live in lovely unpredictable Ireland we know that a bit of spontaneity is key when it comes to cooking outside, as we seem to be the only country in the world that can have whole four seasons in one day! But fear not, here are some great recipes to get the barbie season kicked off in style, rain or shine.
 
First though, in order to successfully transfer your kitchen out to the elements it is a good idea to have a few decent tools: a wire brush for scrubbing down the barbecue that hasn't been used for months; metal tongs are invaluable and, in my opinion, the best bit of barbecue kit money can buy; and a nice big pastry brush is great for basting (brushing the marinade over the top of) meat or fish as it starts to cook, to prevent it from drying out.
 
If you're a fan of South East Asian flavours, this pork satay with spicy peanut sauce should be right up your alley. The sauce is a fabulous whizz-up-in-two-minutes job and is also delicious with fish, chicken or beef. I also think that no self-respecting barbecue should be without a great salsa verde. Drizzled over meat, fish or vegetables, this will turn a very simple barbecue into a feast, and it's really good for you too as it's jam-packed with oodles of fresh herbs.
 
I love this bulgur wheat salad. It does a great job of soaking up the chicken juices, and the ruby-like pomegranate seeds bring their gorgeous sweet-sour flavour. And the great thing about a spatchcocked chicken is that it will cook evenly and only take about an hour on the hot grills. Any left-over chicken and salad can be simply mixed together for a divine packed lunch the next day.
 

Rachel's BBQ Recipes: 

 
Rachel's tip
 
To remove the seeds from a pomegranate, cut it in half, then hold in the cupped palm of your hand, cut-side down, over a bowl. Use the back of a wooden spoon to smack the pomegranate, letting the seeds fall through your fingers.
 
Rachel recommends
 
If your barbecue has had a few winters (and summers) of sitting outside in the rain then it might be time to finally reinvest. There are many great barbie deals around at the moment, whether it's a small portable version you're looking for, or a larger one to just keep in your garden or on a balcony.
 
At Woodie's they are selling the brilliantly sized and designed Weber Compact 47cm kettle charcoal barbecue for a reduced price of €79.99, down from €99.99. There were still many available at time of going to press. See woodiesdiy.com.
Ikea also have a brilliant range of barbecues, both gas and charcoal, large and small, ranging from €110 to €510. See ikea.com.
 

Shaneod May 04, 2015 News