Tag 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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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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Ingredients
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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Ingredients
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.

S’mores

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
Marshmallows

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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.

Monday Munchies with DoodleMoose Designs

Cajun Prawns

So this is pretty cool. This is the result of a nifty little collaberation between myself and the two fine people behind DoodleMoose Design, who have been running their Monday Munchies blog for the last few months.

It is a great blog and they have a very intriguing style running through all of their designs. I recommend checking them out and keep a close eye on this series. I’m sure there are going to be some seriously incredible stuff coming through here in the next while.

The Big Grill BBQ Festival

Last week I had the opportunity to work with some absolutely incredible chefs and food people of all walks of life at the first Big Grill Festival in Herbert Park. Here are just a few of the adventures we got up to over the weekend, including the pain event, the 30 hour slow roast of a whole pig.

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I said BBQ is delicious, I didn’t say it was healthy.
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Legs of lamb searing off before being smoked for a few hours over Irish turf and apple wood.
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Apple Wood, Cedar, Oak and Irish Turf provided the fuel for the weekends festivities, along with a healthy dose of lumpwood charcoal
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The setup for John Relihans demos.
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The smoker, hard at work.
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Smoked Lamb legs
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John working on the meats in the smoker
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Beer can chicken. Not sponsored by Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It’s just delicious.
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Beer can chicken, smoked and ready to go.
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The Lamb legs getting carved up for the crowds

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In our cosy little demo area we also had the lads from Living Wilderness Bushcraft School to show us how to make a fire without matches, build any and all cooking equipment out of nothing but a pocket knife and some branches and even fillet the entire skeleton out of a fish.

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OUr demo camping area.
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That kid is loving his Ice Cream / Fire demo combo.
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Not just a great Barbeque chef, now also a fire master.
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Johns Fire in it’s infancy

The showpiece of the weekend though had to be the Whole Hog. We smoked this bad boy for about 30 hours in a cylinder block pit. John had the apparatus made up for his own festival in Duagh, Kerry the week before and we got some seriously good use out of it aswel.

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Overall an incredible weekend and I am seriously excited for next year!