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We’ve had the barbecue uncovered for most of June and July, happy to ignite it whenever the opportunity presented itself. My daughters Emily and Sophie have been particularly helpful this year, by threading the skewers and washing the salads. Tom, our youngest, is a great man to help set the table, and getting the cold drinks from the fridge for his Dad is his favourite job so no complaints from me!
When preparing for a barbecue at home, here are my top tips to ensure perfect results every time:
One of my favourite recipes this summer has to be tandoori chicken - pieces of chicken, marinated in a spiced yogurt to help tenderise the meat. You’ll find the recipe below, but first check out this video “How to Joint a Chicken”. And remember with chicken, it’s important to check how well it’s done, and the best way to do this is checking its temperature with a meat thermometer. Experts recommend that chicken should have an internal temperature of 70 - 75C°, but if you don’t have a thermometer to hand, look for the different colour as the meat cooks. The breast meat should change from pink to white, and the leg and thigh meat should change to a pinkish brown when cooked.
Another family favourite is pork ribs. They’re fun to cook, delicious, yet messy to eat.
If you want perfect ribs they do take time to cook so be prepared - the secret is slow and low! Cook ribs over an indirect heat with a pan of water underneath them, this will not only catch the fat that drips down and prevent flare-ups, but the steam that evaporates will also help keep the meat moist. To get a nice crunchy outer skin and juicy, tender meat, a rack of ribs can take 3 – 4 hours to cook. And if you plan on using a sauce on your ribs, only brush it on for the last 10 minutes or so of cooking. As most sauces have a high sugar content, it can burn and result in blackened ribs, definitely not the right result after your hard efforts.
Living so close to the fishing villages of Duncannon and Kilmore Quay, I often get offered fresh fish as they come off the boats. One of the most abundant fish available at this time of the year is mackerel, and I just love it! The nearby Hook Peninsula becomes a side-by-side fishing hotspot during the summer months, with people arriving in their droves laden with rods and bait. Once the tide is in, they fish until their buckets are full. Try my smoked mackerel with redcurrant sauce recipe below, which uses the barbecue as a method of both cooking and smoking the fish.