UK BBQ Week 2020
We don’t really need an excuse to fire the grill up on the daily but UK Barbecue Week is a pretty good one if we were looking. Nine days of barbecues in a row can sound daunting but it’s the kind of challenge we’re only too happy to take on. There’s so much you can with a barbecue beyond the typical burgers and sausages so with the help of some amazing cooks from Instagram we’ve put together some ideas for exciting recipes to try on the barbecue. From beginner to pro, fast & easy to low & slow, there’s something new for everyone to try this barbecue week.
Saturday 4th July — Smash Burgers on the Traeger Ranger
Starting the week on a high, we cooked up some smash burgers on the Traeger Ranger. Smash burgers are so easy to make and taste absolutely amazing. We put ours in a homemade bun and topped them with Red Leicester, burger cheese, black garlic mayonnaise, bacon and pickled shallots.
A large flat griddle or plancha is the best accessory to cook smash burgers on, toast off your buns and cook your bacon, setting it aside to keep warm. Then comes the fun part, place balls of burger mince on the griddle with enough space between them, then, using a large spatula or grill press and something to press down with (we used the flat end of a rolling pin), flatten the burger patties out. Make sure your grill press is sufficiently oiled so the patties don’t stick. Salt the patties before flipping them and top with cheese.
There’s no excuse like UK BBQ Week to cook a delicious roast dinner and also show some love for my favourite Weber dealer and BBQ supplier, Riverside. I've recently been cooking on the Weber SmokeFire EX4, a pellet grill new to the market this season, I’ve been cooking on this grill using all types of methods. Pellet grills aren’t for everyone but the simplicity and ease of use makes it an excellent choice for all types of would-be chefs. Wood pellet grills remove the need to be making careful adjustments to alive fire throughout your cook yet still provide the authentic smoked taste that can only be achieved with wood. Using the Weber Connect app makes this grill even easier to use as the grill has pre-loaded programmes as well as fully automated temperature control, just switch it on and away you go.
I loved cooking this full roast dinner for the family on this barbecue and the Grill Academy pellet blend produced the perfect subtle smoke that pairs so well with chicken. We placed a roasting tray below the chickens for the most perfect roast potatoes cooked using a combination of beef dripping and chicken juices. Once the chickens came up to 74°C they were removed from the grill to rest. The chickens were succulent and tender and gave the most wonderful juices for gravy. This was the perfect dinner that the whole family enjoyed.
This smoked veggie bake is a raid the cupboard style dish, so any veg you have in the fridge or cupboard will do the trick. I used squash, aubergine, courgette, turnip, pepper, onions and potatoes as well as a can of chopped tomatoes and some feta. I coated the squash, turnip, spuds and onions with Traeger Veggie Rub and roasted them in the Ironwood 885 with oak pellets at 200°C until they started to turn crisp. When they were almost done I grilled the aubergine, courgettes and peppers on the griddle on my Traeger Ranger.
I added a tin of chopped tomatoes to the roasted veggies and layered this dish like a lasagna, putting the courgette on the bottom of the baking dish and topping with the other vegetables and a good scattering of feta. Keep building layers until you run out of ingredients and space. Finish it off with another sprinkling of Traeger Veggie Rub and some crushed Doritos, if you have any to hand. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the Traeger at 180°C for 30-40 minutes. Enjoy!
Tuesday 7th July — Barbacoa Styles Mutton Tacos
Using the Traeger Timberline 850 Joe created these barbacoa style mutton tacos. The mutton shoulder was rubbed with adobo and ancho and left overnight for the flavours to sink in. The next day we put the mutton on the Timberline at 200°C, after about 20 minutes we added a pan of pre-heated water to keep the mutton moist and turn the temperature down to 160°C. After a couple of hours, the mutton was wrapped in a pan with some chicken and vegetable stock to imitate the consommé in classic barbacoa cooking. This isn’t a tight wrap like with a brisket or pulled pork as with barbacoa you want to generate steam rather than prevent it.
Once the mutton was cooked, we go by texture more than internal temperature for dishes like this, Joe pulled it, mixing the consommé liquid in with the pulled mutton to add to the flavour and depth of the dish. We heated some corn tortillas on the Traeger Ranger and each taco was topped with some white onion, coriander, Tajin seasoning and a wedge of fresh lime.
Watch Joe's IGTV video on how to make these delicious tacos.
I’m a massive fan of wings and always buy the flats as you can take all the meat off in one mouthful if you give it enough practice. Having three different flavours mixes it up a bit and keeps most people happy, as not everyone has the same tastes. For Wing Wednesday I chose to do sweet BBQ, stick Thai, and my favourite, hot buffalo. I combined the wings with my chosen rubs and a little cornflour to help make the skins really crispy and let them sit in the fridge for half an hour. As always with wings, I used lumpwood instead of briquettes as it burns hotter. Once the lumpwood was hot I got to grilling, I have some amazing skewers that allow me to turn up to 20 flats at a time so I pierced the wings and lay them directly over the lumpwood. Wings really don’t take long so with a few turns of the skewers they’re done. All in all, they were on the grill around 15 to 20 minutes.
Always leave saucing until the end as you don’t want to burn the sauce. Let me give away a little secret for amazing buffalo sauce… I always make my own and here’s how. Grab a bottle of Frank’s Original Hot Sauce and a bottle of Ranch Dressing and, bear with me as this is where it gets crazy, mix the two 50/50 and adjust to taste. Gently warm the sauce in a pan and cook out with a bit of butter to take the sharpness off the sauce, add a touch of brown sugar and you’re done. Pour the warm sauce over your wings and enjoy…
Ribs are a cornerstone of classic barbecue and their (justified) popularity shows no signs of abating. We couldn’t let UK BBQ Week pass without honouring the humble pork rib in all its smoky, sticky magnificence, so we cooked up these beautiful St. Louis cut spare ribs from Tom Hixson of Smithfield in our ever faithful Traeger Timberline 850.
There are many different routes one can take on the journey to rib nirvana, but many people get hung up on the numbers and forget to enjoy themselves, and barbecue shouldn’t be stressful. The method we favour is to cook to colour and then texture, rather than any specific times or temperatures. It is a low-effort, high-reward process that simply requires the occasional peek or poke.
We first slathered our racks of ribs with American mustard before dusting them liberally with Blues Hog Original All Purpose dry rub, which has a gorgeous bright red colour and wonderful flavours for pork. We set them on the smoker, set to 135°C, and left them to cook until they had developed the colour that we were after (about 90 minutes). At this point, we wrapped them in a double layer of foil with some butter and a dollop of Texas Pepper Jelly Apple ‘n’ Brown Sugar Habanero Rib Candy and left them to become tender. The appropriate tenderness of ribs is a deeply personal thing and is very hotly disputed in the barbecue community. We like ours soft but with some bite left to them, so they’re not quite falling off the bone. We started checking ours after about 90 minutes, using a probe to feel for tenderness between the bones. When we were happy, we unwrapped the ribs, glazed them generously with more Rib Candy and returned them to the smoker for a final 30 minutes to set the glaze. We brushed more sauce on every 10 minutes to get them super sticky and sweet, rested for a few moments then sliced and got stuck in.
Friday 10th — Hot-Smoked Salmon Sushi
Sushi is a lot easier to make than most people expect, especially if you take raw fish out of the equation. We smoked some salmon fillets using the weber seafood blend to make this delicious hot-smoked salmon sushi, this can be done a day in advance as the salmon will need to cool completely. To make the sushi rice mix salt, sugar and rice wine vinegar into cooked rice and leave to cool before rolling your sushi.
We rolled our sushi in nori, but you can use soy paper if you prefer. You’ll need a bowl of water handy to stop the rice from sticking to your fingers. Keep the rice to the bottom third of the nori and pack it evenly. We added some chilli mayonnaise and a sprinkle of black sesame seeds before adding our toppings. Flake your now-cold salmon and top with whatever you want, make sure not to overfill the sushi as this will make it difficult to roll. We used spring onion, avocado and cucumber. Roll your sushi and use water to seal the nori. Enjoy with wasabi and soy sauce.
Saturday 11th — Pizza on the Alfresco Chef Ember Oven
The Alfresco Chef Ember pizza oven is unlike most other pizza ovens of its size as it runs off hardwood kindling, rather than pellets. This means that it holds its temperature more consistently than most small pizza ovens. You can cook a pizza in just minutes with this pizza oven making it a quick and fun meal to make with friends or family.
You can spend the time making your own pizza dough or buy it pre-made, we like the Northern Dough Co. for when we’re feeling lazy. We hand-stretched our dough and topped it with mozzarella, parmesan and capocollo. Slide the pizza off the pizza paddle and into the oven, you may need to turn the pizza for an even cook. You can eat these pizzas in about the time it takes to cook one, that is to say, no time at all!
I don't usually do traditional Roasts, so decided UK BBQ Week was the perfect opportunity to create as traditional a Roast as I could. I headed to The Manor Butchery in Ruislip and got myself a glorious dry-aged Scotch rib of beef. I cooked my roast on my Traeger Timberline 850, the beef went in first. It was rubbed with a mix of garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil then seared off for around 45 minutes before being turned down to a medium heat to cook through until at 50°C internally. The beef was set aside to rest and on to the veg. I cranked up the heat and tossed some carrots and beets with a mix of maple syrup, garlic and paprika and put them in to roast.
The potatoes then had all of my attention. I started with a bag of homegrown Curracloe Queen potatoes, which were par-boiled for 5 minutes, drain and tossed, then dusted with flour to make them extra crispy. I put a baking sheet into the Traeger with a mix of avocado, rapeseed and olive oil until hot then tossed the potatoes in. Once the potatoes were crispy and the vegetables sticky I put a muffin tray of oil into the barbecue to heat up. Once hot, my Yorkshire pudding batter was poured in and I did a little raising dance hoping they would puff up properly. Fifteen minutes later I caved and opened the lid to beautiful pillows of Yorkshire goodness. All in all, this traditional roast wasn’t stressful at all; the Traeger delivers consistent heat and flavour, making it incredibly easy to cook on. Quality ingredients, good company and delicious wood-fired flavour created the perfect Sunday Roast.