A couple of weeks ago we rescued our gas-fired barbecue from my parents house where it had been settling nicely into a moss covered wall. It had been there, unused, for 2 years; the insides and gone beyond putrefied (fossilised would be a better description) and the grate was fairly rusty.
WWII BBQ found in the Ukraine….honest
Nevertheless I intended to revive ‘Old Smokey’ and get it working. Miracles of miracles, it lit first time (mind you turning the gas knob and pressing the lighter button was a bit of leap of faith; I was half expecting to end up as a horror story in the local rag – ‘Man immolates in quest to eat meat’ or something like that).
Disaster averted we stuck the rusting hulk in the old man’s car (couldn’t get it in my boot, or trunk) and set off home. I proceeded to do my best at cleaning it up. But what to cook?
We got through:
- Fillet steaks
- Cheeseburgers served in brioche buns
- Chicken drumsticks
- Salmon and prawn kebabs
- Baked sweet potatoes with chipotle chilli butter stuffing
Of all this deliciousness the last item was the best, courtesy of Levi Roots, the Gordon Ramsay of the Caribbean (although he lives in Brixton).
Baked Sweet Potatoes With Chipotle Chilli Butter
- 5 dried chipotle chillies
- ½ block butter
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 sweet potatoes
- Olive oil
Put the chillies in a pan with enough water to cover, bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove the chillies and chop them up.
Combine the chillies with the butter and garlic, adding some of the liquid from the pan to get things moving.
Lay out two sheets of clingfilm. Form the butter into a tube shape and place on the film. Wrap the film around the butter and tighten up the ends to form a sausage; pop in the fridge to cool.
Clean the potatoes. Brush with oil and then loosely over with foil.
Put in the oven at 180 centigrade for about 45 mins.
Once cooked remove from the oven and with a sharp knife slit open the tops of the potatoes; they should be soft inside. Cut off a slice of the butter and slide into the potatoes.
Serve with the array of fish and meats you have prepared!
To make the burgers I used a knife to combine 2 lbs steak mince, bread crumbs (one slice), one egg and a big dollop of Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce:
Using a knife to start off means you don’t compact the meat too much which can lead to dry, tough burgers. I then used wide shallow food rings to create burger patties (again not pressing down too hard on the mixture thus avoiding excessive compaction and ruined burgerage):
Repeat, stacking your burgers on top of one another, separated with bits of baking paper.
For the fishy kebabs we just used salmon, king prawns, button mushrooms, baby tomatoes and red pepper:
Then everything goes on the BBQ which I had brought up to furnace-level heat:
The beer isn’t there for aesthetic value – it’s an essential element of BBQing – when and if fat drippage sets light to everthing you simply pour beer over it – adding succulence to your creations and reducing the chance of needing to call 999!
You’ll note above that the fish kebabs are wrapped in foil – it’s all very well trying to be authentic but I find salmon tends to just stick to the grills and then falls apart and its gone.
Feeding the hungry hords was easy – they were playing football round the back of our house and suddently appeared like a swarm of locusts.
They could smell the BBQ and sort of appeared. Some of them I didnt really know at all but to be honest there was so much food I’m glad they did!
Finally, what about those burgers. How did they turn out?
Fine. Just fine.