One of the rare pleasures of blogging is that from time to time you come across other bloggers who write avidly about their passions and desires and lo, they resonate with yours. So it was that I came fork to fork with http://patronsofthepit.wordpress.com/; two dedicated BBQ-bloggers and so I decided as a tribute to them I’d write about the joys of burnt flesh and legumes.
I am a self-confessed BBQ nut. But my early recollections of BBQ were, significantly, not of meat but of sauce. My mother made a kind of tangy gloop out of flour, vinegar, brown sugar and onions which when boiled and smothered on almost any substrate (corn, pork chops, sausages) made them heavenly. Although in my book she never got the mix spot on, she was on the right track and as a result I became a super-spice and “wet food” fanatic; with mum’s encouragement (apparently she used to give me salami to chew on when I was teething) I quickly adolesced from innocent gravies to pokey cheese sauces, cajun rubs, jerks, marinades and ultimately the hottest chilli sauces and dips. When it comes to spice you’ll not find me wanting.
So I cook BBQ in the classic Weber kettle. I use two; one hot and one less so. I marinate for no less than 4 hours, load onto the grill (not directly above the coals) and leave with only a single turn in about 1-2 hours of cooking time. I do corn cobs, lamb shanks, chops, whole chickens or thighs, pork ribs. I love them all. On a business trip to Memphis back in about 1992 (arguably the home of the barby – racks of ribs and beans being the staple) I learned that cooking over flames is a very different thing to cooking in hot smoke. Indirect heat and the warm embrace of charcoal and hickory chip smoke is one major key to BBQ success.
The other is the marinade. And the saucy dips. And the salad. And the company. And the beer.
Here is the recipe for one of my fave table-top dips: Satay Sauce. Some have said that to publish this is tantamount to giving away the crown jewels it is so popular among my friends, but hey, I’m a sharing kind of guy. Stir and warm together the following ingredients to a gentle bubble then leave to cool:
3 Tblspoons of crunchy peanut butter
One chicken stock cube (or veg for the veggies)
One teaspoon (or more) of Patak’s Madras Paste
One sachet of coconut butter
One Tblspoon of brown sugar
Extra chilli sauce to taste
Water sufficient to make a loose paste as it warms; it’ll thicken as it cools. Smother pre-cooking or post and jump in. Enjoy.