If you’re anything like the majority of UK barbecue fans, you’ve probably stuck to the tried and tested sausages and burgers. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it can get a bit boring if you end up eating the same thing each and every time you fire up the BBQ. Many types of different foods can be cooked on a barbecue, so expand your horizons a little with some of these ideas.
Many of us steer clear of cooking chicken on the barbecue because of concerns about food poisoning, but as long as you are careful to get it cooked right through, it’s perfectly safe. Never stick the chicken on the barbecue while the coals are still burning with strong flames, as this will give a black chicken on the outside, while the inside is still raw. A popular way of barbecuing chicken is with a beer can. Open a can of beer, and stick the chicken on top of it so it is balanced. This will give a stable platform to put the chicken on the barbecue, and the beer will keep it moist from the inside while it cooks.
It will take between 1 and 2 hours to cook through depending on the size of the bird and the heat of the barbecue, and always check the chicken is cooked all the way through before serving.
For a more detailed whole chicken on the barbecue recipe, see our ‘Beer Can Chicken on the Barbecue’ article.
The great thing about cooking kebabs on the barbecue is that you can use anything you have in the house. Chicken, pork, turkey and beef all work well; as long as you make sure the meat is cut into evenly sized pieces so it cooks at the same time. Add in vegetables like onion, sweet peppers, courgettes, mushrooms or corn on the cob cut into chunks. A good tip is to soak your kebab skewers in water overnight to stop them charring as the food cooks.
Want to try something new? Try this tasty Lamb Shashlik Kebabs Recipe.
We often forget the dessert option when we’re barbecuing, and a great favourite with children and adults alike is baked bananas with chocolate. Leave the bananas in their skin and make a slit along the length of the banana. Push in some chunks of chocolate, raisins or marshmallows, then wrap the banana up tightly in aluminium foil. Cook on the grill once you have finished with the savoury food, or if the charcoal has cooled, put the bananas directly on top of the coals. Leave for about 20 minutes, and then scoop out the cooked banana and melted chocolate with a spoon.
Most cheeses melt when they get hot, and aren’t something we usually have at a barbecue. Halloumi is a Greek Cypriot cheese made from a mix of sheep milk and cow’s milk, and doesn’t melt when it gets hot. When barbecued, it goes brown and bubbles on the top and can then be used for eating with salads or as an alternative to burgers for vegetarians, who are often a bit excluded at barbecue times. Halloumi is great on kebab skewers too.
Fish in Newspaper
Fish is often cooked on barbecues using those fish shaped holders, but the problem with cooking in this way is that the fish can dry out and fall apart when you try to remove it. An alternative way of doing this is with newspaper.
Rinse your fish, and put any garnish you are using like lemon, lime, chilli or garlic into the fish. Get a couple of large sheets of newspaper and parcel up the fish, wrapping it tightly and tying it up with string. Then place the whole parcel into a bucket of water for five minutes to soak the parcels through. After they have been soaked, put the parcel onto the barbecue. The paper will start to dry out and char, but all the time the fish will be cooking through. After about 30 minutes the paper will be completely blackened, but the fish inside will be cooked. Remove all of the paper and string, and enjoy your moist and delicious fish.
This technique works particularly well with fish such as salmon and trout, and less well with white fish which is softer and flakier.