Spice Up Your Barbecue Technique

Cajun sweet potato chips hero

With the barbecue summer well underway at last, savoury scents wafting over garden fences tempt us to cook outside more often. This means it's vital to explore new flavours rather than sticking to the British basics. Curiously, barbecuing is regarded in the UK as men’s territory, with the utensils being oversized to suit manly hands. Even men who never step into the kitchen approach the barbecue with confidence.

So it may be worth taking the whole family to experience the Laverstoke BBQ World Cup on 4 July. Teams from around the world converge on the innovative biodynamic farm, famous for its buffalo and owned by passionate food enthusiast and former Formula One champion driver Jody Scheckter. South Korea, Italy, Iran, South Africa, Ireland are all competing against the home team, hosted by Ainsley Harriot. There’s even an enormous barbecue available for visitors to the farm to cook their own food, aided by professional chefs to boost flavours and technique. It all sounds like an inspiring way to learn new recipes.

It was the original pirates of the Caribbean who brought the word ‘barbacoa’ to the English language in the 17th century. Then, the technique involved a whole goat and a fire pit. Today, try creating a whole meal around Greek souvlaki with all the trimmings. For vegetarians, get your hands on Halloumi, the only cheese that doesn’t melt through the grill bars, and knock up some simple but unusual Cajun sweet potato barbecued chips to complement its saltiness. As for equipment, we barbecue on every kind of apparatus from the basic charcoal brazier to the most sophisticated electric and gas barbecues. There’s even a cutting-edge clean green option that uses the sun’s rays, focused on the food via a mirror.

It’s worth following a recipe and marinading your meat and vegetables before you place them on the grill. A spicy jerk-style marinade makes an interesting change, or you could go with traditional and always welcome barbecue sauce. Remember to wait until the coals are white hot and not smoking for best results. Threading meat and vegetables on to long metal skewers is a good idea as it makes food easier to turn. Enjoy your barbecue summer.

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