Category Archives: BBQ

My Top Ten BBQ Tips

1 – Asses Your Kit
-Use what you have got to the best of it’s abilities. If you have a smoker, break out the brisket. If you just have a small, discount supermarket grill then learn how to make the most kick-ass grilled meats, burgers and vegetables.

2 – Fuel
-Use the best fuel you can get your hands on that is suited to your needs. Charcoal and wood are your two main contenders here. If you are going for a grill, a high quality charcoal and a few woodchips soaked in water is your best bet but if you are planning on a long slow smoke then big pieces of oak and beech will be your friend.
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3 –The Main Event
-Whatever you decide to cook, again go with the best quality you can get your hands on. Think about what you want to cook. If you want good ribs, get good ribs. If you want burgers, get chuck steak mince with a high quantity of fat. If you want a huge spread of salads get fresh fruits and vegetables from the market. It’s not every day we roll out the grill (unfortunately) so when you do push the boat out a little.

4 – Prep your food.
-Salt your courgettes/aubergines for ten minutes before cooking. Oil squashes well. If you are using big, slow cuts like Jacobs ladder, then trim a good bit of the thick, white fat off of them. Fat is an insulator and if you leave too much on there the meat below won’t cook evenly.

5 – Seasonings and Rubs
-Make up a good quality rub for all of your barbecuing needs. I would recommend some combination of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder. For barbeque rubs I don’t think you should go with more than four/five ingredients. The flavours will just get lost with the strong tastes.

-If you want to up your game, make up a different rub for all of your favourite dishes. Chicken, fish, beef and even vegetables can get a serious boost from a great, individual rub.

6 – Cooking Prep
-When heating your grill, make sure to set up the fire and coals about forty minutes before you want to actually start cooking. This will allow the coals to heat up properly. You know they are ready when they all turn white with ash.

7 – Basting.
-There are many schools of thought here but my personal favourite way to keep food moist while cooking is an arousal spray. I use equal parts water, cider vinegar and apple juice. This helps keep the outside moist and develop a great bark of flavour with the seasoning.
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8 – Cooking process.
-While cooking slow cook meats it is important to make sure they don’t all dry out. The best way to combat this is wrapping them. I find wrapping in foil does the job for me but you can wrap in butcher paper or even cloth if you have some around. Wrap meats for the final third of the cook time to balance the smoke flavour with the internal moisture.

9 – Sauce
-BBQ Sauce is one of the most important things when laying out a smoky spread. I recommend finding a simple recipe online (might I recommend this one, or this one.) and playing around with it yourself. Everyone has their own tastes when it comes to sauces and it all about finding your own.

10 – Serving
-When serving up your wares it is importing to stick the landing to seal that perfect Ten from the judges. Let beef and port rest for twenty minutes. Serve chicken and fish as soon as possible. Let vegetables rest in a simple dressing for five minutes.
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Mojo Pork and The Death Of Pulled Pork

Centra now does pulled pork sandwiches. It’s my own fault. Well, it’s our own fault. We did this to ourselves. We demanded it from every sandwich shop and diner. From every deli and every burger shack. Pulled pork, in some form or other, has probably graced the menus of most of the restaurants in Dublin. It was only a matter of time before the newsagents got wind of it. I can’t complain too much, I have done pulled pork recipes myself. I love the stuff, but I think it’s time we said goodbye.

In the spirit of a fond farewell here is yet one more pulled pork recipe. Because why the hell not. This one is called Mojo pork and is something I tried out for the first time earlier this Summer after seeing it in the movie Chef by Jon Favreau. It is a seriously fruity, vibrant alternative to the usual spicy version we are used to. It also works so well with any other fruits you have knocking around the house.

1 Pork Shoulder
2 Oranges
2 Limes
1 Bunch of Mint
1 Bunch of Coriander
8 Cloves of Garlic
2 Tsp Cumin
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-Ok first thing you have to do is make up your marinade. Juice and zest the oranges and limes into a bowl.
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-Crush and chop up the garlic and add it in.
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-Finely slice up the coriander.
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-Do the same with the mint.
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-Add both of the herbs into the marinade.
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-Place the shoulder into a medium sized roasting pan so it fits snugly and then pour over the marinade.
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-Get your hands in there and massage the marinade into the meat well. You want it to be entirely coated in the zesty, herby freshness.
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-Place this into a preheated oven at 200 degrees.
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-After about an hour or so the meat will start to colour nicely.
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-At this point you want to cover it with a layer of tin foil and lowering the heat down to 150 degrees.
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-After another three to four hours the pork will be perfect pulling texture. Take it out and let it rest for about thirty minutes at room temperature.
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-When you are ready to eat just gently pull it apart on a chopping board with a couple of forks.
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The finished product can then be used in sandwiches or burgers or tacos. We had it in some little flatbreads and a dollop of barbeque sauce on top. I’m going to be sad to see it go but it just gets me more excited as to what the next big exciting thing is.

Asian Style BBQ Sauce and Midnight Munchies

Asian BBQ Sauce

I always like to have a jar of some kind of sauce knocking around in the fridge for emergency munchies when I get home at Ridiculous O’ Clock from the restaurant. This is one I tried out recently and I am absolutely digging at the moment. The Hoisin and Soy Sauce add the perfect balance of sweet and tangy and sour that is exactly what you want smothered over a bacon sandwich at 1am.

It’s also pretty quick to throw together so you have no excuse not to take your late night culinary game up a notch.
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400g Tomato Ketchup
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Dried Chilli Powder
1” Piece of Ginger
2 Cloves of Garlic
2 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce

-In a saucepan over a medium heat, add the ketchup and sugar in together.
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-While they simmer away for about five minutes, grate the ginger and finely crush the garlic.
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-Add them into the pot along with the chilli powder.
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-Simmer this for about 5 to 10 minutes to cook the garlic and ginger.
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-Next add in the Hoisin and the Soy Sauce.
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-Simmer for another few minutes and then you are good to jar it up.
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This will keep in the fridge for a good few weeks if kept in a sealed jar. I sincerely doubt it will last that long though.


Sweet, Spicy and Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

A month or two back I had the pleasure of working at the Big Grill festival in Herbert Park along with John Relihan of Barbecoa in the demo tent. To say that we had fun would be an understatement of insultingly large proportions. We were supposed to cook up set dishes like a full Rib-Eye on the Bone, a Smoked Duck Breast, rubs and sauces and all manner of barbeque staples.

Once we arrived however and got talking to the organisers they pretty much gave us leave to do as we pleased with the equipment we had at our disposal. In came whole lambs, broken down into ribs and shoulders and legs, chickens, steaks, onions, chillies. We were smoking anything and everything we could get our charcoal encrusted hands on.

My personal favourite of the weekend has to be the Beer Can Chickens we did. Mustard and paprika and honey and marmalade gave those birds a skin like you wouldn’t believe, while a trust can of Sierra Nevada made sure the meat stayed succulent and tender. It was an incredible thing to eat and an even more difficult thing to dispense to the masses of awaiting punters at the demos. I felt like I was stuck in an episode of Walking Dead more often than I was comfortable with.

These drumsticks are a more accessible for an easy dish that works a treat for parties. Give it a try and I guarantee you will be doing your chicken this way for a long time to come. All credit to John for this recipe.

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12 Chicken Drumsticks
2 Tbs Frenchs American Mustard
2 Tbs Smoked Paprika
Half a jar of orange marmalade
5 Tbs of Honey
1” Piece of Ginger
1 Small Bunch of Coriander

-Place all of your drumsticks in a large bowl and spoon the mustard on top.
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-Using your hands, coat each drumstick well with the mustard.
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-Next add in the paprika, and a little salt.
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-Again mix them all up well. You want to have a relatively even coating on each drumstick of the mustard and paprika mix.
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-Lay all of your drumsticks out onto a grill tray with the rack on. This allows an even distribution of heat.
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-Bake in the oven at 200 degrees for about 25 minutes, this will vary a bit depending on your oven.
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-While they are cooking you can make up your secret chicken weapon that will change your life. The sweet orange glaze. Start by grating your ginger and finely chopping up the leaves of the coriander (save the stalks for a killer carrot soup).
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-Add these, along with the honey and marmalade into a small saucepan.
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-You don’t really want to cook this so much as bring it together, so about 5/10 minutes over a medium to low heat will be fine.
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-Remove the drumsticks from the oven when they start to get a bit of colour and go crispy.
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-Now this is the fun bit, one by one, dip each of the drumsticks into your sweet and sticky glaze and give them a good turn over in it. Place them all back in the oven for about five to ten minutes.
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-When they come out they should be golden and tacky and the aroma from the glaze should fill every room in your house. And maybe a few from next door aswel.
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Homemade Flatbreads

When thinking about street food you have to think of a few key principles. It has to be fast, it has to be big on flavour, it has to be cheap but most of all it has to be easy to eat. Wraps, sandwiches, tacos, falafel, Kofta, every major street food is wrapped in some kind of bread. And most of these are quick to make, quick to grill and quick to eat flatbreads.

Here I am going to give you a basic flatbread recipe that you can pimp in pretty much any direction you want. If you want Indian, swap the water for yoghurt and add turmeric. If you want Moroccan, use cumin and cinnamon. If Middle Eastern is your style, sumac and cardamom are your man.

Really as long as you have flour, raising agent and a liquid then you can take it to whatever cuisine you like. Or simply add in whatever odds and ends you have left in the press.

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500g Flour (Plus extra for dusting)
1 tsp Baking Powder
1lt cold water
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tsp Cumin Seed
1 Tsp Dried Oregano
1 Tsp Dried Chilli Flakes

-Place the flour in a large mixing bowl.
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-Add in the oregano, chilli, cumin and salt.
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-Sift in the Baking powder.
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-Mix the dry ingredients together well with your hand and make a well in the centre of the bowl.
-Make a claw shape with your hand; this is going to be your beater for bringing together the dough.
-Place the bowl on a flat surface with a dish cloth underneath to stop it moving too much.
-Gently start to add the water into the well little by little while also bringing in the flour in from the sides with your claw hand (that’s what it’s called, you are now a Bond villain, Henchman Claw Hands)
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-Keep adding water bit by bit until it all starts to come together.IMG_7899agrv (Large)
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-As soon as it does turn it out onto a large, flat work surface and with the flour set aside for dusting, start to knead the bread together.
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-The best way to do this is with the ball of dough in front of you, press and push it away from you with the base of your hand, fold it back on itself, give it a quarter turn and repeat.
-Do this a few times and you should be left with dough that is smooth and not sticky. If it’s sticky, add a little more flour and knead it again.
-Get your grill/griddle pan on a high heat.
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-Take out balls of the dough about the size of golf balls for taco sized breads or a little bigger for tortilla sized ones.
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-With the dusting flour and a rolling pin/wine bottle roll them out to a little thiner than a €2 coin.
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-Place each one on the grill for about two to three minutes each side. Your grill should be searing hot but without any flame ups.
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-Flip them as soon as they start to bubble and colour.
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Once they have cooled they can last for a few days wrapped up in the fridge and brought back with a few seconds on the grill or even in a microwave. But for me they are best straight off the flames and into your waiting gob.



Fire is an incredible thing. A hypnotic dance of colour, grace and power. It brings us light, heat community and propelled us from cave dwelling primates living around the equator to becoming the dominant species on the planet. Forging, steam power and the internal combustion engine, none of these would have been possible without first mastering fire. But I would argue that all of these inventions, crafts and leaps in human engineering pale in comparison to the pinnacle of Mans use for flame. The S’more.

This American campfire tradition is a hideous, Frankenstein’s Monster of delectability. Nothing reduces grown adults to children faster than the satanic combination of playing with fire and licking oozy marshmallow and melting chocolate off their fingers. Why any civilized person would voluntarily eat one I will never know. That’s exactly why we don’t invite them to our campfires.

Digestive Biscuits
Thin Chocolate Bars

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-This is more an ideology than a recipe. First start with a long metal skewer with two marshmallows on the end.
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-Set up the other half of your s’more by placing two digestive biscuits down with a few squares of chocolate on one of them.
-Start to toast the marshmallows over the fire, I usually make these just over the dying embers of a BBQ after an afternoons grilling.
-When they start to go golden and crispy on the outside lay them down onto the biscuit with the chocolate.
-Place the other biscuit on tap and gripping the marshmallow with the two biscuits pull the skewer out.
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-The chocolate will start to melt and combine with the marshmallows and soak into the biscuits and become incredibly delicious.
-Get it into your face. In whatever fashion you see fit and whatever part of your face is more preferable to you.

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You will never look at fire the same way again.


Jerk Pork Tenderloin

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Jerk paste is something that once you learn to make once, you will be forever indebted to that ethereal balance of smoky and spice, zest and fragrance of all things Caribbean. I know when the sauce comes together it might not look like much, it is when it starts to get a bit of heat and real charcoal smoke that the flavours really come alive.

You can pick up a jerk seasoning in most big supermarkets or I have a recipe for one here.

1 Pork Tenderloin
1 Bunch of coriander
3 Cloves of Garlic
2” Piece of Ginger
1 Lime
2 Chillies
1 tbsp Jerk Seasoning

-First you want to make up the jerk paste that will marinade the pork kebabs. Start by finely dicing the chillies.
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-Crush the garlic.
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-Finely chop the coriander stalks and keep the leaves to one side.
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-Chop up the Ginger.
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-Zest the lime.
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-Add the chillies, garlic, coriander stalk, ginger and lime zest into a blender.
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-To this add the juice from the lime, about two or three tablespoons of sunflower oil, the jerk seasoning and a drop of hot water to help emulsify everything together.
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-Blend baby, blend.
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-When everything is well blitzed, roughly chop up the coriander leaves and add them to your jerk paste.
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-You are now ready to marinade, slice the tenderloin in half lengthways down the middle, then again, making four long fillets of loin.
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-Weave these fillets onto wooden skewers (soak them in water for about twenty minutes to avoid them burning like mine) or the longer metal ones if you have them.
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-Set them on a large sheet of double layered, heavy duty tin foil. I used the container the fillet came in to help keep hold of the marinade.
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-Pour all of the marinade over the skewers and make sure they are well covered.
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-Wrap up the kebabs well in the foil and marinade for about 2 hours, turning after one hour to make sure there is an even covering.
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-When they are done marinating grill them for about three to four minutes each side in whatever fashion you see fit. For me, nothing beats charcoal and good old wood smoke.
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This is a fantastic take on the slow pimiento smoked pork of the Caribbean. The paste here could easily be smothered over chicken or fish aswel and makes a great addition to a BBQ sauce.