Summer is on its way, which can only mean one thing – barbecues. But despite National Barbecue Week running from May 27th and June 2nd, there’s a whole load of stuff that can stand between you and that delicious smoky flavour.
For a start, there’s the great British weather, which should never be relied on, then there’s the thought of cleaning the barbecue itself and the thought of burnt burgers when someone takes their eyes off the ball. All in all, it’s much easier to fake it and here are some handy hints to show you how:
Recently, charcoal has become a trendy ingredient, but as well as being used for everything from beating the bloat to whitening your teeth, it can also give you a great barbecue flavour. One of the easiest ways to impart its smoky goodness into your food is through charcoal oil.
Pick up a bottle of the stuff and have it to hand all summer long, or think about making it yourself. The Cumbrian Cook shows you how and even though it’s a bit messy, you only need to do it once to get your whole supply for the season sorted.
When the smoke from a fire is condensed in a cooling tube, its flavours are captured in the liquid. This is then distilled to form a more concentrated solution and all the impurities, such as ash and soot are removed, leaving a delicious substance that can be bought off the shelf and added to anything from meat and fish to veggies.
If it’s raining outside and the prospect of lighting your barbecue looks pretty slim, this is a really effective way to bring those summer flavours into your dishes. You and your mates will just be sat around the dining room table instead of on the patio furniture.
Whether it’s raining or not, just the thought of cleaning the barbecue can be enough to put anyone off having friends round for a summer feast. This is where the OptiGrill steps in. Its easy-cleaning plates take the hassle out of hosting and you know you won’t overdo your steaks, because the LED light tells you when they’re done to perfection.
Sure, the guys won’t be standing around the barbie with their cooking tools in hand showing off, but it’s better to have properly cooked meat in the long run. Maybe organise a tug-of-war to let them prove their manliness instead?
There are a whole host of ways to make your meals taste smoky without going to extremes. Loads of store cupboard favourites will help to impart that barbecue flavour with just a sprinkle or a few drops. Among the best are smoked paprika, which can be added to meat or wedges to get that delicious barbecue taste.
Then there’s molasses, lapsang souchong tea or a smoked porter that can all be added to marinades before cooking. If all else fails, bung a bottle of barbecue sauce on the table and tell everyone to get on with it.