I’ve still got another 11 days (and counting) at work so I can’t afford to let myself go yet but just as I see the excitement in the kids’ eyes I know that I’ll be the same once I get the portable grill out of the garage.
Tips For The Perfect BBQ Cookout:
I love to camp in Europe not just because of the freedom to go wherever I want but also because of the myriad of interesting people that I meet on the way. Walk around the campsite anytime after 1.00pm and you’ll start to see the smoke rising as the families gather for a lunchtime cookout. Provided I prefix my introduction with a polite “Bon Appetite” or “Buen Provecho” I can usually get a quick nosey to see what’s cooking and how they’re doing it and the best bit of course is when the complement is reciprocated and they come over to see what I’m cooking.
There have been many a time when these friendly exchanges start to become more competitive and a small portion of whatever has been cooked is brought over to my pitch for sampling. Of course I have to reciprocate! Neither party can speak the other’s lingo so the international language of Europe is once again food – and barbecue food to boot.
What better way to pick up some free smoker recipes than wandering around the campsite? It’s also amazing to see just how simple some of the flavourings are.
In Italy for example, meat (generally beef or lamb) seasoned well with salt and pepper cooked on the grill until pink and then served up with a traditional balsamic vinaigrette and lemons.
The meat should only be seasoned on one side and don’t be tempted to turn it too frequently. You want the meat to cook at a good temperature to mobilize the natural sugars and if you turn it too frequently the meat simply doesn’t get up to temperature. Likewise the seasoning “protects” the meat so again one side not seasoned will get up to a higher temperature and so bring out more of the natural flavour.
For the balsamic vinaigrette it’s just 4 parts extra virgin olive oil to one part balsamic vinegar, give it a good stir (to create and emulsion) and drizzle over the sliced meat. It’s so simple but so effective.
Another example of simple traditional food that’s great for the barbecue grill is Greek style. Diced lamb or pork in a marinade bowl with olive oil, the juice of one lemon and a sprinkling of dried oregano, leave it for an hour and then thread onto skewers. Ten minutes on the grill and serve in a pita bread with salad and tzaziki.