I think most of our summer memories revolve around the head of the family drenched in sweat in front of a charcoal grill, orchestrating a magnificent barbecue feast with arrays of side dishes.
Well, I can’t really say sides, as I vividly remember an endless spread of oven dishes and trays of all shapes and forms which in all honesty can make several meals on their own – not part of a 10 kg barbecue feast!
Things have moved on now both economically and socially; in terms of time and financial constraints. So, I hereby present to you the modern and much easier version of this glorious irreplaceable summer meal with more diverse ingredients and less hassle.
However, we still need a BBQ male maestro just for the kids’ memorabilia, nothing to do with us not being able to handle the heat nor our hair and attire!
To plan a simple yet presentable BBQ, in my opinion you need to have; 2 meats, 1 seafood, veggie skewers and 1 unusual surprise.
Important tip! Take the meat, chicken or seafood out of the fridge at least 40 minutes before grilling; allowing it to cool down to almost room temperature – This makes a massive difference in cooking and texture.
Brazilian Churrasco (Beef) with Chimichurri Sauce:
3kg beef sirloin– 1 ½ tbsp sea salt –2 minced garlic cloves– ½ cup orange juice –½ cup hot water – 1 tsp crushed peppercorn.
- Cut the beef fillets into 2 inches chunks, skewer then place on grill – marinating is not needed.
- Stir all ingredients together in a cup.
- When meat starts to cook, baste it with the liquid mixture, keep repeating until meat is browned and cooked.
Chimichurri Sauce Ingredients:
1 small onion – 1 red chilli pepper –3 garlic cloves – ½ cup vinegar – ½ cup finely chopped cilantro – ½ cup finely chopped parsley – ½ tsp salt – 2 tbsp dried oregano – ¾ cup extra virgin oil.
- Put all ingredients in the food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Voila, your sauce is ready.
- Serve it as a side dip with the beef platter.
Persian Chicken Kabobs:
2 kg of boneless chicken breasts or thighs – 1 cup full fat yoghurt – 1 large onion, thinly sliced – 2 garlic cloves, crushed –1/3 cup olive oil – juice of 1 lemon – 2 tbsp saffron – 1 tsp salt.
- Cut the chicken into 2 inches cubes then smother in all above ingredients.
- Put in a tight container in the fridge and either leave overnight or at least 4 hours before grilling.
- Skewer the chicken cubes and grill until cooked through.
Butterfly Tiger Prawns:
Shopping Basket: 2 kg Tiger prawns, slit opened along the back, cleaned & flattened –3 garlic cloves – 1 cup of soft butter –½ cup finely chopped parsley – ½ tsp salt.
- Season the butter and mix with herbs and garlic, then smear it over the opened back of the butterfly prawns.
- Leave for about 30 min before grilling. No need to marinade for long hours as nothing beats the fresh flavour of the sea.
Grilled Veggies Skewers:
4 large courgettes –3 large onions –3 red bell peppers–3 large eggplants – 500g mushrooms.
- Cut all vegetables into medium cubes, brush with olive oil and season well.
- Grill until charred and cooked. You can either distribute them among your skewers or opt for having them as separate veggie skewers.
Cherry Kebab ‘Kebab bel Karaz’:
It may sound a bit unusual! But this is the grilled version of a well-known Syrian and Armenian specialty. The sourness and sweetness of the cherries work wonderfully well with the barbecued meat.
2 kg minced beef or lamb –2 tsp Levant spices –1 tsp ground coriander –1 tsp ground cinnamon – 1 jar sour cherry, pitted – ¼ cup olive oil – salt & pepper.
- Mix the meat with spices and oil, leave for few hours or overnight in a tight fridge container.
- Shape into medium balls and skewer them; with one cherry in between every 2 balls.
- Grill until charred and cooked.