Thursday, 29 December 2011

018 - Triple Play Chicken

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Number 18 in the list of 100 things to BBQ is the flavourful Triple Play Chicken. It's another from Weber's Complete BBQ Book, and builds up a rich BBQ taste with 3 layers of flavour. First a rub, then some smoke and finally a coating of BBQ sauce... intense! :-)

The recipe calls for chicken thighs and drumsticks, but any bone-in piece of chicken could be cooked this way. There's no reason why a whole chicken couldn't be treated to 3 layers of BBQ flavour!


Often, my attempts at using a dry rub just end up with it burning and turning black as soon as it hits the heat. So I tend to use a little olive oil on the meat before applying the rub. It helps the rub stick to the surface of the meat, and seems to protect it during the cooking process. The rub is left on the meat for at least 30 minutes, at room temperature - giving you time to warm up the BBQ.




I set the BBQ up 50/50, spreading the coals in a thin layer over half of the charcoal grill, giving a large area of medium direct heat and another area for indirect cooking. First, the chicken is laid directly over the coals (skin side first), to crisp up the skin a little and develop a nice bit of colour. First flavour... done!



Next, the chicken is moved over to indirect heat. At this point I added a handful of soaked wood chips to the coals. Second flavour... done! You don't have to worry about "low and slow" for this recipe, so leave the air vents wide open and crank up the heat!

Finally, towards the end of the cooking process, the BBQ sauce is basted over chicken and left on the grill in order to form a nice glaze. It's best to pre-warm the sauce, to maintain the temperature of the meat. I like to do this process 3-4 times, turning the chicken between applications of sauce to build up a lovely sticky coating. Third flavour... done!



I've made this recipe a few times now, using a combination of home made and shop bought rubs and sauces. In my humble opinion, it did taste better with the home made versions that the book calls for - but the combination of Bad Byron's Butt Rub and Bone Suckin' Sauce came a very close second. 

A lot of fun to make, and even more to fun to eat - if you've ever bought pre-marinated chicken from a supermarket and been disappointed with it, I'd urge you to give this recipe a try - you won't be disappointed.

As you'll have seen from the photos, I also made some ABTs to go with the chicken. Watch this space for a future write up of those fiery little treats :-) 

Monday, 5 December 2011

017 - Brandied Pears

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Without wanting to sound like a Weber fan-boy, after I started using their briquettes to BBQ with this year, I haven't used anything else. However, because they maintain their temperatures for so long, it always seems like a waste of charcoal once I've stopped cooking - especially if it was just a quick grilling job. So, this recipe is a really quick dessert that you can throw together after you've cooked your main meal and leave to cook over the remaining heat.

I chose to use pears and brandy but really, you could use any fruit and alcohol combination that you like. Just be sure to choose a fruit that will stand up to the heat and not turn straight to mush :-)


I added the pears to a disposable foil tin, poured in a generous amount of brandy and then sprinkled with some sugar. Then the package was sealed, added to the BBQ and the lid closed. It's a judgement call on whether to place the package over direct or indirect heat, but generally speaking, the longer you've already used the coals then the more likely that you'll be ok to place the fruit directly over them.


After you've finished eating your other BBQ goodness, the parcel will have been steaming for a good while, the sugar will have dissolved into the alcohol and been absorbed into the fruit, making it deliciously soft. Great served with some whipped cream :-)

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

016 - Korean Style BBQ Steaks

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I'd recently been shopping for American sweets from americansweets.co.uk and noticed that they also stocked a range of American food, including barbecue sauces! So I just couldn't resist adding a jar of Stubb's original to my order - you just don't seem to be able to buy this sort of sauce over here in the UK.


After browsing the Stubb's website for ideas I settled on their Korean Style Steaks recipe, and set about ordering the required ingredients. It was only when I came to actually cook the steaks that I realised that this particular recipe from the Stubb's website doesn't actually call for Stubb's sauce...! Talk about a missed marketing opportunity :-)


So the bottle of sauce went back into the cupboard, to be used another day - and I got on with number 16 in the list of 100 things to BBQ - Korean Style Steaks.




The marinade is made by mixing soy sauce, brown sugar, spring onions, sesame seeds and ginger. You'll end up with a really sticky, fragrant mixture that makes the kitchen smell absolutely amazing... if you weren't hungry before, you will be by the time you've smelt this! :-)


To help the marinade penetrate the meat, I trimmed the excess fat and scored each side of the steaks with shallow diagonal knife strokes. A sharp knife is helpful here as you want to slide the knife through keeping the rest of the steak as intact as possible. The steal are then left to marinade for a few hours, turning half way.




The grilling process is really simple for this recipe - you want a hot direct heat to get a nice caramelised outer crust, without having to over cook the steak. As I was only cooking 2 steaks, I opted to use my Weber Smokey Joe as this allowed me to use fewer coals while still getting the required high heat.




After 8-10 minutes with the lid closed and turning half way through the steaks were ready. Then, while they were resting, I poured the excess marinade into a saucepan, brought it up to the boil and left it to simmer for a few minutes so that it could be used as a serving sauce.


I served the steaks in slices, piled high on basmati rice with the extra sauce poured over. The oriental flavours come through strong, but you can still pick up some lovely subtle charcoal grill flavours on the meat. Absolutely delicious!




Now, what should I use that bottle of Stubbs for?! :-)

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

015 - Spatchcock Chicken Peri Peri Style

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On a recent holiday to Norfolk I found a shop that stocked some products from a local chilli farm, www.chillicompany.com. That, and the recent obsession of some my work colleagues with "Nandos" (they've just opened a new one in the city I work in), inspired the latest in the list of 100 things to BBQ... Spatchcock Chicken Peri Peri style!



The first step is to remove the back bone of the chicken. This sounds more daunting than it actually is. Some websites recommend the use of proper poultry shears - but I found that a decent pair of standard kitchen scissors did the job just fine with a little persuasion. There are plenty of Youtube videos out there which walk you through the process, but basically you cut along the length of the bird on one side of the back bone, and then the other side so that you can open the cavity. After that, place the chicken on a board facing upwards and apply small pressure downwards to break the chest bone and make the chicken sit as flat as you can.




Some methods call for skewers to be used and a fellow BBQ tweeter also recommended the use of a cage for ease of flipping. As you'll see from the photos below, it's possible without either - it just makes flipping the chicken over a little trickier. Be careful with the tongs when moving the chicken, the skin can become quite delicate after grilling and you don't want to tear it.


I coated the chicken in a little olive oil prior to adding it to the grill to protect the skin and help with the initial direct grilling. I set the BBQ up using the 50/50 configuration and placed the chicken, skin down, over the coals on a medium direct heat. Turn the chicken every few minutes for around 10 minutes, or until you've achieved the desired colour. Most importantly, don't forget to close the lid during both direct and indirect grilling stages!



After that, I moved the chicken to the indirect side, skin side up and brushed on some of the peri peri sauce (which I'd warmed on the hob) all over the skin.  I gave it another coating of the sauce after about 20 minutes to achieve a nice crust on the crispy skin. This chicken was about 1.5kg so it took about 30-45 minutes before it reached the required internal temperature of 77 degrees C in the thickest part of the thigh. Then removed it from the BBQ and left it to rest, wrapped in foil, for about half an hour.


The initial direct stage left the skin really tasty without being at all chewy, while the remaining indirect and resting stages left the meat really moist and flavourful. I served this in half portions, with a home made potato salad - yum!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

014 - Dr Pepper Brined Pork Loin

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Number 14 on the list of things to BBQ is Pork Loin. More specifically, Dr Pepper Brined Pork Loin with a Cherry and Chipotle Glaze! Once again, the recipe was from Weber's Complete BBQ Book - which, along with Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food is one of the most useful recipe books I've ever purchased.


I've cooked this recipe a few times now and it's fast becoming one of our favourites. The photos shown below are from September when I cooked it for my little boy's naming ceremony. The joint was bought for us by a family member, and I think it was roughly 2-3kg in weight. I actually cooked it the night before the meal and wrapped it up in foil. So that on the day, it would just need warming through with some of the reserved glaze.


First things first, all of the skin and excess fat needs to removed from the loin. Now, as you'll probably notice from the photos - I'm not the best butcher in the world! In my defence, the joint had already been rolled, scored and tied up with butcher string so my attempt at neatly removing the fat ended up being more of a hack and slash affair!




Once the prep is complete, the pork is added to a brine made of Dr Pepper and Sea Salt and left to rest in the fridge for a few hours. From the photos, you should be able to see how much darker the pork now appears - but it also seems to totally change the texture of the meat. It seems a lot firmer to the touch - probably the effect of adding all that extra moisture.



I prefer to make my glaze in a saucepan, so that I can pre-heat it prior to adding it to the barbecue. It's a mix of cherry preserve, more Dr Pepper, mustard and chipotle chillies - for a mild zing on the tongue. The closest I found in my local supermarket was jarred jalapenos - but I found some of the authentic chillies at casamexico.co.uk



Now we're ready for the grill! I set up my Weber kettle with a 50/50 arrangement and added the glaze to a large foil tray on the indirect side. This left a large direct area to seal the meat on. I'd set it to quite a high heat to make sure I got plenty of colour on the outside.




After about 10 minutes over direct, turning every few minutes, the pork is then moved into the tray to continue cooking in the glaze (which should be bubbling by now). Cooking time will vary depending on how thick your pork is, and by how hot your have your barbecue - but mine had reached the required temperature after about half an hour.


Brining the meat first, before cooking it in the glaze leaves it so juicy and tender, you'd think it would have been slow cooked for hours. I've served thick slices of this with baked potatoes, with some of the reserved glaze as a sauce. And it's equally delicious in soft white rolls, with some of the cherry preserve smeared over it.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

013 - Chocolate Cake on the Barbecue

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Recently I've been wondering whether I could use my Smokey Joe for indirect cooking. I've also wanted to do more desserts on the barbecue. So I decided to kill 2 beer-can-birds with 1 briquette (...sorry!) and attempt to cook a chocolate cake on my little Weber.


My initial reservations about whether indirect was going to be possible on the Smokey Joe was to do with whether I could get enough separation between the charcoal and the food itself in such a small space. As I was planning to bake the cake in a disposable foil tray, I was hoping that as long as none of the charcoal spilled vertically under the cake, that any diagonal radiated heat would be partially reflected by the shiny surface of the foil.


To remove my own baking skills, or lack of baking skills, from the equation I opted to buy a ready-made cake mix rather than attempt my own. I opted for a new one from Mary Berry. It actually came with it's own non-stick cardboard tray which I thought was quite novel - but I wasn't sure it would last very long in the barbecue!


After adding some sunflower oil and 1 egg, I whisked it up for a couple of minutes before adding the mixture to the tray.



Then I prepared the Smokey Joe for indirect. Using about 1/4 chimney of briquettes, I pushed them as far to the sides as I could get them - leaving a long cake shaped space in the middle of the barbecue. Then I put the lid on and walked away, hoping it would work.


One advantage of baking a cake on the barbecue like this rather than in a conventional oven is that I could test how "done" the cake was without having to open up the barbecue - I simply poked a skewer through the air vents! :-) After about 30 minutes the skewer came out looking relatively free of liquid, and only a little sticky - so I decided to open the lid and take a look.




I was really quite chuffed with the results - it looked like a cake! And, at only 30 minutes bake time, it took only 5 minutes longer than the packet recommended.


After it had cooled in the tray, I added the chocolate icing on top and stood back to admire the finished result :-)




I'm not saying that I'll be baking everything on the barbecue from now on. After all, this was a simple tray bake that was probably quite forgiving in terms of what temperatures it could be baked at. But it might be a fun thing to do if you're ever out camping and want a bit of cake :-)




...and no, the Butt Rub wasn't added to the cake mix!

Monday, 19 September 2011

012 - Bacon Wrapped Peppadews Stuffed With Cream Cheese

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Last week, as I was tweeting with some fellow barbecue enthusiasts, somebody mentioned they would be making ABTs that weekend. I had absolutely no idea what ABTs were, but after a quick Google search I had my answer... Atomic Buffalo Turds! 
... I completely understand why they chose to abbreviate it - they don't sound very appetising do they?! :-)


Apparently, the name is derived from hot chicken wings nicknamed Atomic Buffalo Wings. Usually, these are made with jalapenos but as my girlfriend really isn't into spicy things, I decided to opt for peppadews for my first attempt. Peppadews are bred to still have the tangy spicy flavour, but without the after-burn that most chilies have. Playing on the safe side, I ordered the mild versions!



The peppadews come jarred in a pickling liquid, so first they need to be drained. The best way to do this is to place them face down on some kitchen towel. You could rinse them beforehand, but it's not essential.




Next, I piped some of the cream cheese into each of the peppadews. @timbossenger suggested I used a sandwich bag to pipe and this method worked really well. Then, each is wrapped in half a piece of streaky bacon (secured with a toothpick) before being dusted with some Bad Byron's Butt Rub - I love that stuff! :-)




Because they are quite delicate I smoked them in the disposable foil tray rather than transfer them directly to the cooking grate. I placed them over indirect heat, and added a handful of soaked woodchips to the coals every 15 minutes. After about 1 hour of cooking... voila, the perfect BBQ entre!



As I had some bacon left over, I also made some pigs in blankets and served them both with some macaroni cheese.


Juicy, creamy and sweet, we really enjoyed this version of the ABTs - all of the flavours mixed really well to create one perfect mouthful of peppery smokiness. I've ordered some jalapenos, so next time I'll go 50/50 peppadews and jalapenos and turn the heat up a little!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

011 - Roast Dinner With All The Trimmings

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Last week I really had a craving for a traditional english roast dinner. But, as I'm currently trying to BBQ 100 different things - I wanted to try and cook the entire thing on my Weber Kettle!


Having already cooked a whole chicken beer-can style, I decided this would be the star of the show - all I needed to do was figure out how to cook roast potatoes, sage and onion stuffing, yorkshire puddings and veg on the grill at the same time.




I'd planned to cook the meal in a 2 hour period, and try to only open the lid 3 times - to make sure the temperature was kept as high as possible. So, here's the plan I followed:


First things finrst - I set up the barbecue with 2 medium sized direct heat zones on either side, leaving a large indirect zone in the centre.


First 30 minutes:
- Beer can chicken, prepped with a little oil and some Byron's Butt Rub, placed in the centre of the indirect zone.
- Yorkshire pudding batter mix made up and left to settle in the fridge.


Second 30 minutes:
- Potatoes (scrubbed, not peeled), placed in a foil tray with a little water and sealed with foil wrap. Then placed over one of the direct heat zones.
- Yorkshire pudding tray added to the grill over direct heat with a little oil added to 2 of the spaces and left to heat up.
- Sage and onion stuffing mixed (from packet) and left to cool.


Third 30 minutes
- Potatoes drained and water discarded. Tossed in a little olive oil in the foil tray, with a sprinkling of some more Byron's Butt Rub. And then placed over indirect heat.


Fourth 30 minutes
- Potatoes shaken about to turn them in the oil.
- Chopped veg placed in a foil tray with a little water and sealed with foil wrap. Placed over one of the direct heat zones.
- Stuffing mix spooned in to the 2 spare spaces in the yorkshire pudding tray.
- Yorkshire pudding batter poured to heated oil, and the tray shifted to indirect heat.


The end result...


As you can see - my yorkshires were quite literally as flat as a pancake!! But I was quite impressed with everything else, and the traditional roast dinner flavour definitely came through strong. I just couldn't get the oil for the yorkshires hot enough, even over direct heat. When I poured the batter into the oil I was hoping for a satisfying sizzle.... but nothing happened, so at that point I already knew they weren't going to work unfortunately.




If I was going to do it again, I think I would probably choose to either do butt rub on the chicken OR the potatoes, not both. I love that rub but as it turns out, you can have too much of a good thing! :-)


I'm determined to try the yorkshires again. I'll let you know if I'm successful - watch this space!

Friday, 16 September 2011

010 - Chicken Fajita Skewers

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Someone recently bought me a set of Weber style metal skewers. I'd been using wooden skewers for a while, but these seemed a lot sturdier and were a welcome addition to my ever-growing barbecue accessory collection!

If you've read any of my previous posts, you'll probably have figured out by now that I'm a bit of a Weber fan. So I'll try not to rave about these too much - but there's 2 reasons I prefer these over the wooden skewers:
  1. The flat handles, and flat blade make it easier to turn the whole skewer without the food slipping round on it.
  2. The metal seems to conduct the heat inside the food, so that it cooks more evenly and reduces the cooking time required, resulting in more succulent meat.
The disadvantage is that the blade itself is quite thick - so skewering something more delicate (like Haloumi) without it disintegrating is very difficult. And one word of caution - be careful how quickly you serve them from the grill - the metal handles will be HOT!

To try out my new skewers, I decided to cook a Chicken Fajita Skewers recipe. The recipe used to exist within the Weber UK website, although it seems to have disappeared now. If anyone knows where it has moved to, I'll happily link to it :-)

As with most skewer recipes I've come across, it was really simple to prepare. The veg, in this case peppers and red onions, is roughly chopped whilst the chicken was quickly marinated in a combination of spices with a little oil before the pieces are alternately threaded on to the skewer. You can use any combination of spices that you know you like the taste of - I tend to use a simple mix of chilli power, cumin, salt and pepper for a savoury flavour with a little heat.


The skewers are then placed over medium direct heat. One thing I've learned this year is that it's important to keep the lid on, even when cooking over direct heat. The obvious benefit is that it will shorten the cooking time required - but it will also help to prevent flare-ups since the air supply over the charcoal is regulated. The skewers are turned only once during cooking to ensure an even cook, with a nice char-grilled colour.


As I mentioned earlier, the chicken is left really moist because the metal skewers helped to conduct heat inside the meat, meaning the grilling time is relatively short. So short in fact that I was able to close the air-vents and re-use the briquettes the following weekend! We served it with Couscous and a ranch style salad, and it made a lovely summer evening meal.

Do you have any other suggestions, for what I can use the new skewers for? Leave me suggestions in the comments section below :-)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

009 - Beer Can Chicken

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The style of cooking that I was most excited to try on the barbecue was cooking larger cuts of meat, including whole chickens. A few years ago, I wasn't even aware that this was possible - I think I've mentioned before that sausages and burgers were the staple ingredient for my barbecues. So when I heard about Weber's beer can chicken recipe, I knew I had to add it to the list of 100 things to BBQ!


I first tried this recipe back in early June, and it was one of the first few times that I had tried the indirect method of barbecuing. All of my BBQ previous fodder had been thrown over direct heat, and more often than not involved unwanted flames :-)


The process starts by making a dry rub, which is applied to the outside of the bird to flavour the skin. I used a little oil to make it stick and also to help the skin crisp up a little - there's nothing worse than chewy soggy chicken skin.


Then comes the beer! For my attempt I used a small can of Heineken. Half of the contents is poured way (into my mouth...) to allow the liquid to get up to temperature and start steaming quickly. I'd bought the Weber stand purpose built for the beer can recipe, so slotted the can into the centre space before easing the chicken over the top of it. You don't really need the stand to cook this recipe, as the chicken can simply be balanced on the can and its legs. However, the addition of some handles to the stand made moving the cooked chicken away from the barbecue a lot easier.



I prepped the barbecue with 3/4 chimney of briquettes, and arranged them at either side of the charcoal grill to leave a large indirect cooking zone in the middle. If, like me, you use a kettle barbecue, you'll need to arrange them like this rather than the 50/50 method as the bird needs to sit in the middle of the barbecue - otherwise it might touch the lid.


After adding the chicken to the cooking grill, I closed the lid and walked away - trying to avoid the temptation to lift the lid to check on progress. Every time you lift the lid, temperature is lost and it takes a while to build up again, slowing down the cooking process and increasing the overall time required. After about 45 minutes I checked on progress, and decided it needed the same time again. After about 1.5 hours, it looked suitable tasty and the thermometer confirmed the internal temperature had reached the required level (~74 degrees C)




This recipe convinced me that whenever possible, I should use the barbecue, rather than my in-doors oven to cook roasts. The end result was a deliciously moist chicken (the result of the steaming beer), with a really tasty crispy skin - and a kitchen that didn't smell of chicken for days! To be honest, I couldn't really taste the beer - but I put this down to having only used quite a weak lager. I have tried the recipe a couple of times since, and chose to use a darker ale, which seems to help. Definitely a fun first way to delve in to the world of cooking larger pieces of meat outside.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

008 - Meatloaf Sandwiches

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Along with last weekend's MOINK balls, I wanted to try cooking a meatloaf for some friends that we had round on Saturday night. I'd previously tried Jamie Oliver's recipe for meatloaf, which was cooked in the oven like a roast, but it had always been disappointingly dense and heavy. There was a recipe in Weber's Complete BBQ Book for meatloaf sandwiches, and I thought it would make a great addition to my list of 100 things to BBQ!

First things first, what does every sandwich need...? Bread! I'd been gifted a bread maker a couple of years ago for Christmas so I set that up to make an extra large loaf. I used a ratio of roughly 1:5 wholemeal to white bread flour. I find that just a small amount of wholemeal flour adds quite a lot of flavour, without making the bread to heavy (it also seems to make slicing the loaf much easier). Just before the baking stage, I glazed the top of the proven dough with a beaten egg and sprinkled some sesame seeds on top.


The main ingredients in the meatloaf were minced beef and minced pork. Beef on its own would be too dry, so the pork fat helps to keep the finished meatloaf moist. Breadcrumbs are also added, along with an egg to bind - and several other spices and flavourings. After mixing thoroughly, I added the meatloaf to a foil tray and left it in the fridge to firm up.


 I prepped the kettle barbecue with roughly half a chimney full of briquettes, and arranged the coals at ether side of the grill, leaving me 2 areas of direct heat and a large central area for indirect heat. I arranged the meatloaf and MOINK above a drip tray with some water in it, and added a handful of soaked wood chips to the coals before closing the lid. The original recipe doesn't call for smoke... but I like the smell!


After about 90 minutes the meatloaf had reached the required internal temperature. At that point, I removed it from the grill and sliced it into half-inch portions (I managed to get 9 portions from the single loaf). Each slice was given a generous slathering of sauce (I used a combination of Weber's BBQ sauce mixed with a little Heinz Ketchup), before it was placed back on the grill, over medium direct heat.


In contrast to my expectations, the end result was a really flavourful and light sandwich. The initial indirect phase gave the loaf a lovely moist, light feel and the extra direct cooking stage gave each slice a nice sticky crust. The closest thing I can compare it to would have to be a burger - but the flavours and textures were so much better than that. If you've never thought about meatloaf on the BBQ, I would urge you to try Weber's recipe for yourself.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

007 - MOINK Balls

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After tweeting about my Grilled Bacon Explosion Sandwich, made with some left overs, @RacksOfRuin got in touch to let me know about MOINK balls. He had made some "MOINK in the hole" wth some MOINK left overs.

Now, please excuse my ignorance, but I had never heard of MOINK - let alone MOINK in the hole!

Created by BBQGrail, a MOINK ball is a beef meatball (the MOO part), wrapped in bacon (the OINK part). Put them together and you have a MOINK! His original recipe can be found here: bbqgrail.com

For my attempt at a MOINK (apparently, it's only a MOINK if it's spelt in caps...), I was going to be using Sainsbury's standard beef meatballs, streaky unsmoked bacon, some Bad Byron's Butt Rub and some Bone Suckin Sauce to glaze.

Each piece of bacon is cut in half, wrapped around a single meatball and then secured with a cocktail stick. Once constructed, I dusted my impressive balls with some butt rub... (the opportunities for innuendo whilst barbecuing seem endless!). The construction process reminded me very much of Christmas, and pigs in blankets.


The MOINK are then smoked over indirect heat. I was going to be serving up slices of meatloaf in sandwiches that night, so arranged the balls around the main event.


It took between 45mins to an hour before I thought the bacon was suitably golden. And at that point I coated each MOINK in a layer of Bone Suckin Sauce. I then continued to cook over indirect heat for a further half an hour. I dosed each ball with another layer of sauce half way through, to make them extra sticky and glossy.


These little balls of beef and bacon are delicious! They reminded me of toffee apples from my childhood - but replace the fruit with meat, and replace the toffee with BBQ sauce! The perfect side dish for any BBQ, I'll certainly be doing them again. And next time I'll make sure I make extra, so I can try out RacksOfRuin's MOINK in the Hole.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

006 - Lamb Loin Chops with Uzbek Marinade

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After the dirty burgers during the week, it was back to some more serious grilling on Saturday night. This recipe is from Weber's Complete BBQ Book, and calls for quite a few ingredients in the marinade.



The star of the show though would be some lovely lamb loin chops, fat removed. As I came to write this post, I was wracking my brain trying remember the last time I had cooked with lamb... and I couldn't actually remember ever using it! I don't even remember buying as much as a lamb burger! This is clearly a massive oversight on my part, and something I'll look to remedy as I continue on my quest to barbecue 100 things.
The recipe called for the use of a blender. But, since I don't own a blender at the moment and since most of the marinade is brushed off anyway, I just did the best I could with a knife and chopped everything very finely. I left the meat to marinade for a couple of hours, so the mix of spices and vinegar could work their magic.




Just as I was about to light up the coals, the clouds that had been hanging around all day decided to open up. Last year, I would have given up and turned the grill. But not this year! So up went the table parasol - these chops deserved charcoal and that's what they were going to get! In the reduced light, the briquettes had an even more satisfying glow...




Once the smokey joe was up to temperature, the marinade was brushed off the chops and they were laid on the hot grill with the lid closed.




I gave them roughly 8 minutes, turning a couple of times, which left them medium rare and nice pink and juicy in the middle.




We had them served with cous cous and salad. The chops were lovely - the marinade had definitely done its job, leaving just enough flavour on the outside to leave a mild spicy zing on your tongue, whilst still penetrating the meat, helping it stay juicy and tender. For my first attempt at lamb, I'm calling it a success and I'd certainly recommend the recipe. I'll definitely be trying more cuts of lamb in the future.

Friday, 26 August 2011

005 - Dirty BBQ Burgers!

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As much as I love exploring new barbecue food, sometimes I still crave a good old dirty burger! Last night was one of those times when I didn't want to reach into the spice rack, and instead just opened the freezer and searched for that pack of frozen burgers that I knew was in there somewhere.


I decided I wanted a sort of ranch BBQ flavour going on, so I also dug out the bag of battered onion rings and threw a few in the oven. Then, from the fridge, some cheese slices (the sort you'll get in any dirty burger joint) and some cheap BBQ sauce... well I didn't want to waste the good stuff on this!


The Smokey Joe is my grill of choice for these small quick jobs, since it requires far fewer briquettes and can therefore be up to temperature a lot quicker.




While the burgers were sizzling away, I prepped the bread. Taking 2 rolls for each burger, I sliced a couple in half. Then, with the other rolls, I sliced the top and bottom thirds off - leaving only the crustless centre. A slice of cheese was then added to the bottom and centre sections of bread.




When the burgers were cooked, these were added on top of each slice of cheese. And finally a couple of onion rings were added to the top burger with a generous splodge of BBQ sauce.




And there we go, a good combination of grilled meat with the savoury cheese plus sweet onions and sauce. But more importantly, my craving for a dirty burger... satisfied!



Thursday, 25 August 2011

004 - Grilled Bacon Explosion Sandwich

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After the success of the Bacon Explosion, we'd only actually managed to eat about half of it. So I was looking for something to do with the remaining half which was wrapped up in foil in my fridge. I happened to stumble across a YouTube video, with the most outrageous looking grilled cheese sandwich I've ever seen!

So, I set about making my own grilled bacon explosion sandwich.

They key to any grilled sandwich is to butter the bread on both sides, so that the outside edge of the bread partially fries rather than toasts and burns. I sliced the remaining bacon explosion into half-inch slices and added three slices to each sandwich.

I decided to have mine with extra BBQ sauce and cheese, while my other half wanted hers plain (not that the bacon explosion could ever be described as "plain" ..!)


My Smokey Joe still had some partially used briquettes in there from the last time I'd used it, so I set about relighting those because I'd only need a low heat for this.


Then I grilled the sandwiches, whole, over direct low heat. I kept the lid down to help raise the temperature of the grill, re-heating the meat and turning the cheese all gooey! In total I think I grilled it for roughly 7-8 minutes, turning once half way through.


The result, a tasty hot snack with a crunchy exterior and a lovely soft gooey interior. It makes me want to cook more meat than I need each time I barbecue, just so that I have some left-overs...