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Just because they’re laid-back, doesn’t mean barbecues can’t be special. We’ve come a long way since a couple of burnt sausages and a packet of frozen burgers! In my book Tom Kerridge’s Outdoor Cooking there’s a real mix of everything – unexpected flavours, ethnic influences and both luxurious and affordable ingredients. Barbecues are the perfect opportunity to try something new – here are my top five ways to cook this summer...
I love cooking ribs over fire because they’re on the bone and you eat them with your fingers – perfect for a barbecue! It’s basic cooking, but there’s a barbecue sauce with honey and mustard which brings a sweetness that works really, really well. The bourbon-glazed baby ribs in the book is one of my favourite recipes.
Monkfish is great for the barbecue because it’s a robust, meaty fish that sits well on the barbecue and can take a decent amount of flavour. I like it a lot. If you’re not used to cooking fish over fire, monkfish is a great one to start with as it’s easier to handle on the barbecue than more delicate fish, which can break up or stick to your barbecue.
It’s pretty safe to say that when most people think of barbecues, meat of some kind comes to mind. But cooking over fire is great for veggies, too – roasted baby potatoes, grilled cabbage, hot salads – the opportunities are endless. And one vegetable I love to cook over fire is aubergine. It always reminds me of an amazing street food dish I once ate in Singapore, reinvented as a smoked aubergine dip in the book. The flesh is soft and delicious, and just absorbs those gorgeous smoky flavours. It just speaks to me.
4. Chicken wings
Chicken wings are affordable, accessible and such a versatile choice for cooking over fire. They’re great for experimenting with – try them with marinades, rubs. Try something you’ve never had before. Just pick something up in the spice aisle in the supermarket and give it a go – there are no bad decisions. You can stick pretty much anything on them.
It’s not all about burgers – except that sometimes, it kind of is! Who doesn’t love a juicy burger, freshly cooked on a barbie? There’s nothing like layering it up with all your favourite condiments, maybe a cheese slice or two and topping with a few crunchy, vinegary pickles.
Outdoor Cooking by Tom Kerridge is out now (Bloomsbury Absolute, £22).