Life in a Cumbrian Village

Food & Drink

Tips for the Perfect BBQ

As summer has put in an appearance of late this seemed an ideal opportunity for us ask two of Cumwhitton’s barbeque fiends to give us the benefit of their expertise, hopefully the weather will still be good when this is published !

Richard Voysey

With the summer upon us and the dry weather now hailed as drought no doubt the farming community will be looking for effective rain summoning mantras. Few such rituals are as effective at rain summoning as the BBQ. Across the land as the sun hits its midday peak the noble English gent will forgo his normal genteel attire and step proudly forth with his shorts respectfully at half mast for the demised daffodils in his parched corner of little England and with tongs poised in one hand and a drink in the other will begin the ancient ritual. With this in mind I offer a few tips to the novice.

  • Variety – little of lots of things is always best. Buy big joints of meat such as pork loin when on offer, portion into small bags and freeze – then defrost when needed.
  • Marinade is the key. Marinades tenderise, maintain the moistness and flavour the meats. Marinades must be acidic, so wine, vinegar, lemon juice, fruit juice, yoghurt etc work well. These can then be sweetened with sugar or honey and finished with a bitterness from either herbs or spices. A great classic would be lemon juice and honey with some oregano and olive oil. They take a long time to penetrate the meat so when portioning your meat (as above) marinade your meat for a day or so in the fridge prior to freezing. The flavour will continue to develop when the meat comes out and is de-frosting.
  • Not just meat – sliced courgette, halloumi cheese etc are all good on the BBQ. Kebabs are easy to prepare by interspersing meat with onions and peppers on skewers.
  • Cook slowly – Let the coals go grey and cook on the embers slowly. If it is a traditional BBQ with a lid close it and allow hot smoking to occur. Things like chicken can be seared on the BBQ and finished in a medium oven.
  • Don’t get carried away,  only cook what you need.
  • Don’t forget the umbrella.

David Kirkwood       

  • Don’t be tempted to put the meat onto a very hot fire. Rather wait until you can hold your hand above the grill to the count of 10.
  • Leaving the lid on retains the higher heat (particularly useful when cooking steak) and cooks the meat more quickly/evenly – this is what the lid was designed for!
  • No one likes cleaning up – but you can simplify the process of cleaning your grill by rubbing half a raw onion or half a lemon on it while the grill is hot. This helps to remove the cooked food stuck on the grill while adding a delicious flavour to the meat. Less elbow-grease, more enjoyment!

Once the meat is cooked, treat yourselves to a sweet, indulgent delight! Using a couple of ripe bananas slit the peel along the inside curve. Fill with thin slices of chocolate to your taste, and if you like (essential), a dash of liqueur/whisky/brandy. Wrap the bananas tightly in tin foil and place on the BBQ until the peel is dark brown. Unwrap the banana carefully and serve with vanilla ice-cream.