Saturday, 28 May 2011

First Barbecue of the Year

After having lived in rented places for the past 15 odd years we bought our first house last year and the opportunity to put our own stamp on our home means that I have been slightly DIY crazy recently. I have been working on various projects that I have always wanted to have a crack at but was never able to. One of these is the building of a brick barbecue.

Put in context, I am pretty much entirely useless at anything remotely practical and had never laid a brick in my life. No problems though, the internet has the answer to everything! I read through various instructions until I thought I could have a reasonable stab.

I have learnt many things from this building project, chief amongst which is that I really, really, really hate bricklaying! Most projects that I have tried in the past have had some redeeming feature but I came out of the three days hard, boring, hot and sweaty labour with my back, legs and arms aching for days afterwards. I would love to say that I have been left with a masterpiece in masonry but in truth what I have is wonky, full of ‘character’ and reminiscent of the architecture of ancient Rome (took more than a day to build, is basically a ruin and I fully intend to fiddle while it burns. Sausages that is).

Having put all the work in now it seems only appropriate to get as much use out of it as possible and so a midweek celebration in the form of an impromptu outdoor dinner is the only way to go.

Barbecue Ribs & Marinated Chicken

Bit of a crazy, mis-match of a meal this but then that’s what barbecues are supposed to be like isn’t it? The barbecue sauce used on the ribs is pretty much generic and will work on whatever meat you want it to (or veg I guess but if you’re only interested in cooking veg on the Barbie then you may be missing the point). Serve with various salads, bread, cold beer, wine and whatever takes your fancy...

Braised Ribs

1x Rack of pork ribs
Chicken Stock
Mirepoix (Onion, carrot, celery, leek etc chopped up)

Put the lot in a dish big and deep enough to enable you to cover the ribs with the stock. Cover with foil and put into a 150C oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours.

Barbecue Sauce

4 tbsp tomato ketchup
330ml (ie. a can) Cola
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp Chinese 5 spice
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Thumb size piece ginger, chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce

Put all into a pan and reduce by about a ½

Barbecue Ribs

As the braised ribs are cooling, paint them with the barbecue sauce a few times over. Put them onto a hot barbecue grill, continue painting with warm sauce until suitably caramelised, sticky and ready to eat.

Marinated Chicken

1 whole chicken
½ bunch thyme
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
½ glass white wine
Black pepper

Split the chicken into 10 pieces (2x thighs, legs, wings and 4x ½ breast pieces).Put all ingredients into a vac-pac bag and seal. Leave for an hour or so and then put into a pan of not quite simmering water for 30-40 mins. This will work perfectly well marinated traditionally for longer and then poaching or steaming the chicken or using a well sealed freezer bag in a pan of water. When cooked remove the chicken and chill.

Later on season and finish the chicken pieces on a hot barbecue until the skin is crispy and all pieces suitably brown.

Herb Bulgur Wheat

250g Bulgur Wheat
1x bunch flat leaf parsley
1x bunch coriander
Extra virgin olive oil

Cover the bulgur wheat in boiling water - just over twice as much, allow to absorb until cooked, sieve off any excess. While it’s cooking blitz the herbs with the oil, mix with the bulgur wheat while still warm and season to taste.

- Alan