Bored of bland burgers and bangers? It might be time to raise the bar(becue) and become a master of al fresco cooking.
Here, Owen Morrice (head chef at American restaurant Frontier in Edinburgh) shares how to ‘go gourmet’ with your grill and shares some adventurous but easy barbecue recipes.
Buffalo chicken skewers
Marinating something overnight may not always go hand-in-hand with preparing for a barbecue in temperamental Scottish weather conditions. Nonetheless, taking that chance to prepare meat or fish in a marinade the day before – or two or three days previously – can be very rewarding.
- Buy buttermilk in a shop or simply add something acidic to milk, like a squeeze of lemon or a dash of vinegar, to thicken it
- Add whatever spicy sauce takes your fancy – the hotter the better
- Next, chop up chicken breasts and marinate either overnight or over two or three days for extra flavour
- On the day, skewer the chicken and stick it in a cool bag, ready to be taken to the barbecue
The chicken will get nice and charred during cooking, while the buttermilk will keep the meat moist. This dish goes well with garlic mayonnaise or ranch sauce, and can be served alongside chargrilled baby gem lettuce.
This is a really simple dish – no fancy tools required. (The ‘bag’ is just a wrapped-up pouch of foil.)
- Buy as many cooked prawns as required – the ones you can buy in the supermarket are fine
- Melt some butter and chuck in whatever flavours you like – I would recommend chilli, coriander, garlic, lemon and lime
- Wrap everything up in tin foil, with some greaseproof paper on the bottom to protect the prawns from the direct heat
- Allow the barbecue to heat up the butter and begin infusing the flavours
This is a brilliant way of cooking prawns, because all the flavours stay in the foil and they don’t lose their tenderness. If you’re in the mood, swap the prawns out for catfish, or any other white fish like we do in the restaurant.
Mexican corn on the cob
I love corn on the cob and it’s brilliant on a barbecue. This recipe is easy to do well, but it’s easy to get wrong, too.
- Pop the corn on the barbecue to add some colour and seasoning
- Because corn is sweet, citrus flavours (such as lime) work really well with it
- Add chilli and coriander or a hard cheese – particularly cotija or parmesan – and you’re in business
Chorizo, pork and chipotle skewers
As I’ve mentioned already, marinating meat or fish for longer beforehand really adds quality to your barbecue. By marinating, the protein in the meat starts to break down so it will cook much more quickly.
- This marinade can be made using equal amounts of chipotle sauce and tomato ketchup, along with a tablespoon of brown sugar
- You can get chorizo from your local supermarket or deli, and pork fillet or pork chops are widely available
- Place the pork (but not the chorizo, which is strongly-flavoured already) in the marinade
- Keep the pork marinating in the fridge overnight, or for 2-3 days maximum
- Skewer the meat before you head out, and have it ready to cook on the grill
The smell and the taste of this dish cooking is absolutely amazing.
Pineapple, banana, and marshmallow skewers
You can work with many different fruits on this dish – maple and banana, apple and cinnamon – but my favourite is the contrasting combination of pineapple and banana.
- Skewer your chosen fruits, alternating each piece with a marshmallow
- Be careful with the marshmallows, which melt quickly on the barbecue
- Keep an eye on the grill and turn the skewers regularly
If the weather turns on you, you can always visit Frontier for a cosy barbecue fix – 8 Gillespie Place, Edinburgh, EH10 4HS
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All images: Backstage Media