Get grill smart

Step outdoors post 9 am and you will agree that summer is already upon us. But before it hits you in the face, capitalise on the last few bearable evenings with barbecues. Here are some tips t

Published: 28th February 2012 01:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:06 PM   |  A+A-

Step outdoors post 9 am and you will agree that summer is already upon us. But before it hits you in the face, capitalise on the last few bearable evenings with barbecues. Here are some tips to help get you started:

The beginners’ club

For starters, chef R Rajesh, recommends, “Chicken breasts and sausages are some of the simpler options.” As for the cuts, he adds, “If using large cuts of meat or whole chicken, the barbecue should be maintained at a very low temperature. For a novice, about one inch cubes of meat or vegetables is a good size.”

Consulting chef Manu Chandra, recommends chicken breast, darn of fish and chunks of meat for beginners, and for something simple he says, “You can marinate with yoghurt and spices. Use onions, lemon juice, parsley, mustard and chilli sauce.” Chef Willi recommends, “Jointed meats that are quick to cook - chicken breasts, lamb chops, prawns in the shell (but split and cleaned first) half lobsters, fish fillets, all sausages, minced meat patties, tenderloin beef medallions and so on.”

Green and sweet

Not many are aware that vegetables make as good a barbecue as meats. Chef Chandra suggests, “Kidney beans, lotus stem, colocasia, baby corn, peppers, paneer and more.” For more variety, chef Rajesh adds, “Cottage cheese, polenta cakes, hard tofu, grilled doughnuts, quesadillas, grilled sandwiches with meat and cheese, and barbecue breads like tortillas or unleavened Indian style griddle breads.” Executive chef Daniel Leah shares a quick dessert idea, “You could make simple fruit skewers and grill on the BBQ and serve with ice cream.”

At a glance

Chef Chandra points out that expertise will come only with practice, but for your first time, the rules are the same as in the case of roasting meats. “The juices should run clear if you insert the knife edge of the skewer into the thickest part of the meat. If it is still bloody, you need to transfer the meat to a lower temperature part of the barbecue,” offers Rajesh. “And, if the vegetables are not cut very thick and the barbecue is not too hot - by the time the vegetables have nice grill marks on either side, they are done.”

The equipment

The first thing you will need is a good barbecue grill. “The size of the barbecue should match the quantity of meat or vegetable you intend to cook. Charcoal barbecues are preferred, but gas fired barbecues are a good second option and are much easier to maintain,” shares chef Rajesh. Charcoal grills from Weber and Prestige are available in various sizes. There are also gas grills specially fitted for use with the Indian LPG cylinders. A good grill should feel solid and sturdy.

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