Thursday, May 1, 2014

Get Going with your BBQ this Weekend

It may not be perfect weather but its a good time to start off the season & be a BBQ King or Queen by the middle of the season!!

One of the greatest pluses of bbq ing is that everyone can pitch in and its creates an atmosphere that so informal, relaxed and even Mediterranean.  

Do you have a BBQ??  There are so many different makes and brands - sizes -models - if you do not have one or are in the market for a new one - take your time, visit the stores - talk to the retail people - do a Web Search on what would best suit your needs.....

A great way to start if you are a total beginner is to  invest in a couple of disposable bbq’s - you still get that wonderful Smokey flavour without hitting the bank balance…

Top Tips & Handy Equipment…

A good cleaning brush - snap these up at the moment for a couple of Euros - they disappear during the season 
and these are essential little fellas!

Tongs .. long handled ones are better for turning food 

A  metal spatula for flipping fish or burgers

Skewers.. if you can get extra long skewers they are very handy rather than managing lots of little ones.. 

Soak wooden skewers for about 30 mins to prevent them charring and burning…

A small paint brush is fantastic for applying extra marinade or of course a pastry brush will also do..

A hinged fish basket is a wonderful addition especially if you are a fish lover … as they cook whole fish perfectly intact.

The square ones are also handy for cooking veggies or thin small cuts of meat that might slip through the gaps in the grill.


  • If you are using charcoal ensure that its hot enough before you begin to cook..  this takes about 40 mins depending on the wind, charcoal etc.  Its ready when the light grey ash covers the coals not before!! So remember to light well before you wish to eat…The disposable ones can take about 20 mins to heat up.
  • Gas  BBQ take about 10 mins-   
  • Cooking time for  bbq are approximate because of the weather conditions.. allow more on colder days/windy days and less on warmer days..

Top tips
  • Try not to use a fork to turn meat as it pierces the food allowing juices to flow out and dries out the meat.
  • If you are cooking for a large group don’t be tempted to overcrowd the bbq as food will take longer to cook – its better to cook in batches and pop into a warmed oven - always cover dishes with foil this will prevent meat drying out.
  • Remove excess fat from meat as this can cause flare ups, if this does happen move the food to one side and You move away too … it will subside.. do not use water to put it out!!
  • Pop food that takes the longest to cook on first.
  • Be extremely careful about cross contamination when bbqing… this means do not mix raw and cooked foods or chopping boards, knives, platters etc…  and of course make sure to wash your hands!!

Poultry tips…

Chick tastes best bbq with skin on.. skin side up as it allows the juice to penetrate the meat… you can remove the skin before you eat it for a leaner chick dish.
Cooking times vary but an approx would be 12 – 15 minutes for a boneless breast … there should be no trace of pinkness.

Herbs - if you have some thyme, sage, lemongrass or rosemary pop straight onto the bbq to add a wonderful aroma..

Why Marinate ?  - Flavour & Juicy Tenderness

One of the main reasons is to tenderise the fibres especially in red meat or game which can take up to 3 days to become tender... 
Wines, vinegars & citrus juices are fantastic tenderisers.  

Besides tenderising marinating also gives the most amazing flavours to chicken, prawns, fish.

Chicken, Pork & veal benefit from being marinated for 24 to a maximum of 48 hours after this their fibres tend to become A bit broken down.

Fish – you really only need to marinate fish for 2-3 hours …

Donelli's BBQ Marinades...

Really easy Ideas for marinating…

Simple lemony honey marinade…

  • 1 tbls of Yoghurt, squeeze of  lemon, 1 tsp honey,  pinch of paprika …. Fantastic with chicken.. brush over chicken breasts and leave to marinade in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Easy Peasy Asian
  • 1 tbls Soy, 1 tsp Oyster Sauce, pinch of Chilli powder & ½ clove of Garlic chopped vvv finely… great with chicken or beef & delicious brushed over skewered veggies..

  • 1 tbls Red Wine, good grind of black pepper,  1 tbls orange juice & 1 tsp marmalade… a great steak marinade

Don't forget the veggies... 

Once you've gotten the bbq lighting why not prepare your entire meal outdoors - makes for easy cleaning and wow what a taste!

BBQ skewers - so easy - cherry tomatoes, sliced peppers, red onion ....

Grilled mixed veggie parcels
Serves 6

1 red onion sliced
4 potatoes sliced
1 tomato sliced
1 yellow pepper sliced
1 courgette sliced
1 clove of garlic chopped finely
Olive Oil
Salt & pepper

Combine all of the veggies & garlic together into a large serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt & black pepper.

Cut square pieces of foil and drop a handful of veggies onto each piece of foil.  
Wrap to form parcels.  Pop onto the bbq for 20 mins.  

Jacket Potatoes

Scrub the potatoes and leave their skins on. Wrap in foil and pop on the BBQ and with the lid down.  Cook for 50 to 60 mins or until cooked through.  When cooked cut a cross in the top of each potato and squeeze to open the cross.  Serve with any of the following.

Yoghurt & blue cheese – Grated mozzarella, Sour Cream & chopped chives -  smokey bacon & butter -  Goats cheese & pesto

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