Bank Holidays are made for barbecues – right? Here’s our guide to creating the perfect family feast. Just add sunshine!
Hot Barbecue hints and tips from Jamie Archer of Archer’s Butchers in Norwich
I think it’s important to highlight the different types of barbecues and cooking techniques as this is just as important as the cuts of meat themselves.
- Gas barbecues
These are great for midweek barbecues and provide a convenient and tasty alternative to cooking in the oven or pan. It’s hard to beat the flavour of flame grilled food.
- Charcoal barbecues
These are excellent for when you have a bit more time. Once lit and the coals are almost white, it’s time to start cooking. The smoke generated from the coal gives that extra flavour which you cannot get from cooking on gas.
- Smokers and kamados
These are the ideal for cooking low and slow over lumpwood charcoal or hardwood. This way you can cook cheaper cuts of meat such as brisket or pork belly to perfection over several hours. The flavour you can achieve from this type of cooking technique is amazing if it is done properly, but takes a lot of practice to get right.
My preference at the moment is cooking over smoke with my Kamado Joe ceramic barbecue. I love experimenting with different wood chips and cuts of meat and different types of rubs.
I would always recommend buying your meats from a butcher. There are so many reasons for doing so. The two main ones are because, statistically, the animals come from higher welfare local farms and also you will always taste the difference between a butcher and a supermarket. Butchers also have a smaller carbon footprint. You can always get the right advice about types of cuts and how to cook them, so don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Make sure you have the barbecue on a medium heat. Place the sausages on the grill, pull the lid down and turn them regularly so that they are browned all the way around. You must make sure they are cooked thoroughly but not over cooked and burnt. The best way to test is to invest in a temperature probe and make sure they have an internal temperature of at least 75°c.
A good burger should consist of at least 25 percent fat and be lightly seasoned. Salt and pepper should be enough to give it some flavour without taking away the beefy flavour. You can always add flavour to the sauce in the bun rather than the burger itself. I always cook on a high heat and turn my burgers once. I tend to cook mine so they are slightly pink in the middle, but this is not always advisable especially if you are not 100 percent confident on how they have been made.
Pork and beef ribs are always best cooked slowly as they come from the belly of the animal which is generally tough if not cooked low and slow. If you have time, I would recommend cooking on an indirect heat on a barbecue or smoker for at least two hours to make sure they are soft and some of the fat has been rendered out of the meat. I use a good barbecue rub beforehand which you can easily make yourself and then finish off on your barbecue with a good quality sauce on a higher heat to give them a sweet sticky taste. You can always slowly cook ribs in your kitchen oven the day before, in a tray covered in foil, then once chilled cut into single portions and smother in a barbecue sauce to finish on the barbecue. This is a much more convenient way of cooking if you do not have much time on the day.
WHERE TO BUY YOUR OUTDOOR COOKING
CP Smith Stoves
Based in Fakenham, CP Smith Stoves has a comprehensive selection of outdoor ovens, barbecues, heaters and more. For a start, they stock those wonderful Big Green Egg ceramic outdoor ovens and barbecues beloved by Michelin-starred chefs, along with other products such as OFYR, the Vlaze Adapt outdoor enamel kitchen units and the Chesney Heat barbecue and patio heater range.
Passionate about outdoor cooking, the company will help you select the right outdoor cooker and ensure you get the most of it, providing expert advice, recipes, meats and more.
If it is theatre in the garden you are after, then the stunning OFYR is certainly the product for you. Given the circular nature of this cooking beast, you can cater for very large parties and your guests can even cook their own food while socialising.
If it’s a mix of cooking and feeling warm on those spring and autumn evenings, then the Chesney Heat range would be your port of call.
But call in and visit – the team loves to meet people and chat through all that they offer – there’s a whole world of new possibilities just waiting for you!
Here are a couple of great recipes from two leading butchers in the region
Old Hall Farm
Woodton, Between Norwich and Bungay
Barbecue Pork Kebabs
400ml of OHF Greek style Jersey yoghurt
Fresh coriander and fresh mint, chopped
2tsp of cayenne pepper
2 red chillies, finely chopped
2 limes, juice and zest
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
Red, yellow and green pepper chunks for placing between the meat
1 large white onion, cut into chunks
Seasoning to taste
You’ll also need wooden skewers – soak overnight before using for the best results.
Place the pork, yoghurt, lime juice and zest, chillies, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper and cayenne pepper into a bowl and mix thoroughly, ensuring that all of the pieces of pork are well covered in the marinade. Cover and set aside in the fridge for 3/4 hours.
Take the skewers out of the water, and arrange the meat, alternated with peppers and onion chunks on the skewers.
Cook on the barbecue for 10-20 minutes until the pork is cooked through, or under the grill for 15-20 minutes if the bank holiday weather doesn’t behave!
Jamie’s St Louis Style Ribs
This is a bit like baby back ribs but with a bit more meat than standard baby back ribs. Basically, it is a whole belly pork with the rind and top layer of fat removed. Ask your butcher to do this for you – I am sure he or she will be happy to oblige. Once it is cooked to perfection, you will have a juicy tender rib that everyone will love.
First, you need to make the rub. This will enhance the natural flavours of the pork and give it a slightly sweet, salty, smoky flavour.
FOR THE BARBECUE RUB
1tbsp of fennel seeds
1tsp of cumin seeds
1tsp of black peppercorns
1tsp of coriander seeds
2tsp of celery salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1tbsp of garlic powder
Heaped ½ cup fine salt
3tbsp of smoked mild paprika
1tsp of dried oregano
1tsp of cayenne
FOR THE BARBECUE RUB
Toast the fennel seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, and coriander seeds in a dry pan over medium heat for a few minutes, shaking the pan, until the spices release an aroma. Tip into a bowl and let cool.
Blitz the toasted spices in a blender to a rough powder. Combine with the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Keep in a sealed container for up to a week.
FOR THE RIBS
Once the rub has been made, generously rub it all over the ribs and leave on the side for approximately half an hour for the spices to infuse. Preheat the oven to approximately 140°c and place the ribs in a baking tray and pour in a mixture of lager and orange juice (about 50/50) up to about 1inch high. Cover with foil and leave to cook for approximately 3 hours. Check them for tenderness by poking with a sharp knife. If the knife has any resistance leave to cook for a bit longer.
When cooked through, remove from the oven and keep the juice left in the bottom of the tray. Skim the fat from the juice and mix with a good quality barbecue sauce. Preheat the barbecue and place the ribs on it, and baste them with the sauce. Turn them frequently until they are nice and sticky. Remove from the barbecue and serve with a zingy slaw and fries.
Half the fun of a barbecue is the sauces, rubs and accompaniments, plus great breads and, of course, beers!
Norfolk-based Rocketship Sauces are handmade using fresh ingredients and are a fantastic accompaniment to any barbecue. Whether it’s the classic Original Hot Sauce for sausages and burgers or the barbecue-flavoured Comet to coat wings, the combinations are endless. Why not mix Supernova, their extra hot sauce, with some mayo for a unique fiery condiment, or use it as a great marinade to give your food some fire? The subtle heat and fruity flavour of Solar makes it great with grilled chicken and fish, or try it in a homemade salsa. Rocketship’s sauces are a little thicker than most, offering more versatility to use as either a spicy recipe ingredient or straight on to food.
Norfolk is experiencing a boom in gorgeous bakeries at the moment. Bob’s Bread Bakery in North Walsham is a real favourite with one member of the Feast team, while Two Magpies, which started out in Suffolk, is now expanding into Norfolk – they’re in Norwich already – and Bread Source is practically an institution in Aylsham and the city. Newcomer Loaf Microbakery in Wymondham is picking up fans, too, and Pastonacre in Cley gets great reports.
Norfolk Brewhouse, based in North Norfolk, has a couple of great Moon Gazer options; Dewhopper lager is always a barbecue favourite as is the Pintail pale ale – both are crisp, with enough about them to compliment and stand up to strong barbecue flavours without overpowering. The gluten free Pintail is light, golden and hoppy, with aromatic citrus notes while Dewhopper lager is light gold in colour, with a crisp, hoppy finish.