Chocolate; as a nation we adore it, almost to the point where it’s no wonder that dentists do such good business in this country and it makes the stereotype of British people having bad teeth not entirely a myth. Most of us have moped a bit when we’ve looked in the fridge to find it devoid it of chocolate (and, in my case, much food at all), as the simple fact is that we love to eat chocolate as a pickup; whether you’ve just been dumped, had a bad day at work or just want to chill out with a significant other in front of a good film. Chocolate is always there for us, and apparently it’s not all that bad for you either, so to celebrate that fact it’s National Chocolate Week this week. In other words, a greater excuse to eat chocolate has never been more apparent!
But what does chocolate have to do with barbecues? Don’t we talk about meat a lot here at our humble blog? Well, yes, of course, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with chocolate barbecues too.
Before the idea totally turns you off, I’m going to present you with a few different ideas of how you can successfully incorporate chocolate into the barbecue. Often, the things you never thought would go together can taste quite nice, or you could end up with a food disaster that would be better off in the bin. But that’s what experimentation is all about, although thankfully all these have been tried and tested beforehand.
As a Sauce
This is the most common way you’re going to find chocolate applied to meat. As with the thousands of BBQ sauce recipes out there, there are also a myriad of chocolate barbecue sauce recipes too. This recipe I found at Saveur is simply delicious on top of meat, especially chicken as the site suggests. Here you’re not just pouring melted chocolate on to meat (although you’re welcome to try and report the results), it’s mixed with all sorts of stuff; including honey, cider vinegar, chilli powder, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, ground black pepper and even 2 cloves of garlic. It does sound like an odd combination when you see it on paper, but give it a try and you may be pleasantly surprised.
The popular Mexican Mole sauce recipe, which usually contains chilli peppers but also contains chocolate in a number of varieties. This neatly segues into the fact that I did an article on Mexican barbecue food in the last post, although I should probably have mentioned the fact that 99% of Mexicans have apparently tried some form of mole sauce.
One novel way that meat and chocolate is combined is in the form of Mo’s Bacon Bars. This seemingly odd combination is presented in quite the posh package; containing a piece of bacon with a covering of deep milk chocolate. You can get them in various flavours; including ‘Hickory smoked uncured bacon’ and ‘applewood smoked bacon’. I haven’t tried them myself (they’re made by an American luxury chocolate company called Vosges) they apparently offset the sweetness of the chocolate with the smokiness of the bacon.
A chocolatier in New Zealand has developed a range of meat-flavoured chocolate in the form of venison chocolate truffles. She makes them by blending dark chocolate and ground-up salty dried meat together, which doesn’t exactly sound appetising but they apparently go together “amazingly well”. The 150 people at New Zealand’s Meat Industry Association conference seemed to approve too, either that or she tripped them all up as they entered the room, where upon they subsequently banged their heads and came to the odd realisation that it was a great idea. On a serious note though, she has also developed a beer flavoured chocolate. Excuse me while I catch a plane to New Zealand!
I’ve talked about grilling fruit on the barbecue before, and one of the most popular recipes is to throw a few bananas on there. Before putting the banana on the grill you need to split the skin down the middle, where upon you can insert chunks of chocolate into the gap. Put them on the bbq and, before you know it, you’ll end up with a lovely blend of warm gooey banana and chocolate. Smashing!
Have you got any chocolate inspired barbecue recipes you’d like to share? Just leave a note in the comments below!