Top 10 summer barbecue tips from world cooking shop Sous Chef
- Credit: Archant
Nicola Lando co-founded Sous Chef in 2012 with husband Nick as an “Aladdin’s cave of professional and world cooking ingredients”.
The couple, who live in Archway with four-month-old baby William, launched – and still run – the company from a self-storage unit in Hornsey, winning the first Access Self Storage Small Business Award.
Now summer’s here, they share their top 10 barbecue tips.
1. The classic barbecue meat rub is 50:50 salt and sugar, then add any spices you like. Onion and garlic powder can be better than fresh as they stick to the meat and are less likely to burn. Flavoured salts, such as Sous Chef’s Viking Smoked Salt, add an extra dimension.
2. Use a chimney starter to light your barbecue. The first time you see one, you’ll wonder what it is. Buy one, they’re brilliant. You’ll recommend it to all your friends.
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3. Choose the best charcoal. It’s tempting to pick up some easy-lighting charcoal but while it may be quick to light, it certainly isn’t quick to cook. Only high-quality charcoals reach the temperatures or burn times you need for a great barbecue. Choose restaurant-grade charcoal or brands like Weber or Heat Beads from a garden centre.
4. Take your time. Some cuts benefit from low‘n’slow cooking over a low heat for as long as 12 hours. American-style barbecues, like our ProQ Frontier, are designed for this, with a water chamber in the base to keep the temperature stable. American barbecue is best for melt-in-the-mouth ribs, brisket or whole pork shoulders, but you can always cook them in the oven first and finish over hot coals just before serving.
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5. A big salad is a great centrepiece. Chop tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, lettuces together with large bunches of herbs. Toss with salt, sumac, olive oil and lemon juice. The freshness cuts the fattiness of the meat.
6. Don’t forget the sauce; and I don’t mean ketchup! Our Sous Chef store cupboard with ingredients from all over the world means you can whip up a delicious accompaniment in minutes. My favourites are tahini blended with water and lemon juice to serve with chicken, and Greek yoghurt blended with harissa or smoky chipotle paste with pork or lamb. For steaks make a quick salsa verde. Finely chop garlic, coriander, gherkins, green chillies, capers and anchovies. Then stir together with lemon or lime juice and olive oil, and drizzle over the cooked meat.
7. It’s not all about meat. We’re happily into asparagus season, and few vegetables come close to asparagus on the barbecue. Get some from a farmers’ market, splash over salt and olive oil, and grill for a few minutes. Serve with a squeeze of lemon or homemade hollandaise, which isn’t as difficult as everyone says.
8. You don’t have to wait for the sun to come out! The clever people in Dallas Texas have created liquid smoke, made from condensing the smoke from smouldering wood in water. A few dashes in your marinade give that instant wood-smoke BBQ flavour. Or brush onto steaks or kebabs before grilling indoors (Hickory Liquid Smoke, £2.75) .
9. Throw some wood on the coals. Even if you’re only grilling a chicken breast, throwing wood chips on the coals adds smoky warmth in minutes. Only use chips that are specially designed for cooking, as not all woods are safe and may be treated with toxic chemicals (Hot smoking wood chip selection, £20).
10. Peruvian cuisine is in vogue so get the taste at home by sprinkling the medium hot and distinctive yellow aji amarillo chilli flakes over fish or seafood kebabs. Or add Peruvian sweet and smoky panca chilli flakes to meat rubs and marinades.