From Julie Biuso At Home (book available www.juliebiuso.com)
Photo by Aaron Mclean
I’ve always loved cooking and eating outdoors. There’s a certain kind of freedom when your garden or deck becomes your kitchen and dining room. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your BBQ.
Keep your hands to yourself
Resist temptation to prod, poke, stir or turn meat unnecessarily. Food often sticks at the beginning of cooking, but frees itself as the proteins cook. If you forcibly try to pry stuck meat off the hot plate, you’ll tear the fibres and ruin the surface of the meat.
Don’t crowd the plate
Overloading the grill or hot plate can make food difficult to turn, stops juices from evaporating and make food steam instead of sear and sizzle.
Some don’t like it hot
Most food is better cooked on medium heat or even cooler than that to start. Take sausages. Start them slowly or they will quickly char. Increase heat during the cooking and at the end to finish browning.
Skewer the right target
Metal skewers conduct heat and are good for chunky food and thicker pieces of meat. Use bamboo skewers for vegetables, fish and for satay made with thin strips of meat.
Undercook the fish
Fish requires special attention because it cooks quickly on the grill and continues to cook as it stands. Remove fish from the grill or hot plate before it is totally cooked. It will continue cooking from residual heat and stay moist and succulent.
Julie’s best cuts for BBQ
Boned lamb leg
A boned lamb leg is really versatile on the barbecue. I flavour it with Mediterranean herbs or Middle Eastern spices and preserved lemons, or Indian spices and yoghurt, and it is always a winner. Cook to medium-rare to maintain juiciness.
I do these with the skin on or off, but always off the bone, and flavour them with thyme, lemon zest, extra virgin olive oil and flaky sea salt. Simple and scrumptious.
A new discovery, and an instant favourite. Marinate briefly in oil, garlic, freshly ground black pepper and rosemary or tarragon, then sear quickly for no more than two minutes a side, rest, then slice. Succulence guaranteed.
Julie Biuso is one of New Zealand’s best known and most respected food personalities, with 16 cookbooks and a string of awards to her name.