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Whilst the weather might not be playing ball, we are still certainly making the most of the summer days and longer, lighter nights.
Wearing an extra jumper, putting an umbrella in your bag and having a weather app on your phone are all ways you can be prepared for whatever the great British weather throws at you.
Another summer winning is being sure are ready for a BBQ at the drop of the hat – even if you end up wearing it.
First, things first, get your kit right. The real essentials are an apron, oven gloves (heavy duty), good quality (not plastic) fish slice, foil and of course a pair of tongs so you reduce the chance of losing those tasty burgers in the ashes.
It is essential to place your BBQ on a flat even level and keep it away from bushes and tress to reduce fire hazards. On a health and safety note, you might want to have a bucket of water close to hand – just in case.
Get the right charcoal. It is really easy to pick up a bag of bricks at the supermarket, but if you want your food to taste great, you need to choice your fuel carefully. Lumpwood charcoal is an excellent choice. If you want to go pro and really impress your guests, chicory wood chips add amazing flavour and a professional twist.
If you want to achieve the perfect BBQ, you have to be patient. The secret is waiting for the flames to die down and for the coals to be grey and glowing. Once you have got to this point, you then need to ensure you control the temperature to ensure your food is well cooked.
What to cook is next on the list.
Keep it fresh, healthy and where you can, organic. Yes you can go to the freezer section of the supermarket and go for those tempting BOGOF offers, but they don’t really make the perfect BBQ cut.
If you have the time, go for homemade burgers. These are super-easy to make and taste phenomenal. Get some fresh, organic minced beef, mix with a little salt and pepper, shape into patties and get them on the grill. Cook them all the way through, serve in focaccia or pitta and those natural flavours will really stand out.
Chops, chicken and sausages are other BBQ favourites as are jacket potatoes! Local butchers stock an outstanding selection of organic, well-seasoned BBQ options and will be happy to talk about how best to cook them and even what wine works well! You can also look at vegetable kebabs using peppers, courgettes and beef tomatoes with corn on the cob.
Put out nibbles of course but go for healthy sides if you can. Make up a crisp, fresh green salad with olives, tomatoes and spinach. Homemade potato salad and coleslaw are always winners. Couscous and pasta are popular choices as is chunky French bread and of course, classic burger buns. Ketchup, mayo and mustard, well they go without saying, and chutney is a pretty good addition too.
We know people love a pint or glass of wine at a BBQ but also offer jugs of iced water with lemon wedges and cucumber to maintain hydration levels.
Next week we will be looking at some great, easy to make BBQ recipes we know you are going to love.