A Sizzling Summer!
Al fresco dining during the summer months – especially outdoor BBQs – presents a huge opportunity to drive sales and footfall. Yet, according to Premier Foods, a quarter of caterers are missing out on this opportunity. In our May/June edition we showed you how to get ready for outdoor eating – whatever size of business you have. In this issue, we’re showcasing some summer dishes for couples and groups designed to make your profits sizzle this summer!
No 1 burger
Beef burgers remain the number one item on menus, according to Horizons’ Menu Trends Report, so make sure they’re part of your summer offering. For the loyal burger eater, according to Kraft Heinz, burgers should be served in a brioche bun with a bacon topping and multiple sauces; options include yellow mustard, classic barbecue, gherkin relish or mayonnaise. For the adventurous, wagyu beef, cholla buns and a chilli jam filling is a new trend. Chicken burgers are also becoming more popular, and don’t forget to offer a vegetarian option. Keep burgers simple for the kids. Offering a meal deal is a good way to target families, so include a soft drink and ice cream in the price – and make sure you have stocked up on tomato ketchup!
The American influence is still smoking hot, and appeals to all tastes thanks to it being so versatile. Ribs, chicken and pulled pork are still firm favourites – and don’t forget steaks for hearty eaters. “The Americana trend and burgers continue to thrive in the foodservice sector with customisation and premiumisation playing a key role,” says Andy Bacon, culinary development innovation manager for Kraft Heinz, Foodservice Europe. Sandwich shops and delis can still get in on the trend by serving a Texas-influenced skinny pineapple and shredded chicken salad wrap or a New York-style tangy and tasty hot salt beef sandwich.
Go the whole hog
A hog roast is a great way to bring in customers and reap extra profits. Use it to boost sales during a normal weekend, or to feed the crowds during an event-filled weekend such as the Euro 2016 final or the August bank holiday. A whole roast pig can also make a fantastic centrepiece if you are holding your own beer festival. Add a selection of sides such as spicy wedges – which you can charge a premium for – and serve a selection of matching drinks too – cider is superb with roast pork! It is also great for portion control – suiting families and small eaters – as they can decide how little or how much they want. “Whole hog BBQs are very profitable and a great way to cater for large numbers of people,” says BBQ expert Ben Bartlett. “Any outlet planning to do this really needs a BBQ with a rotisserie because it turns the meat so that it is fully cooked throughout – do not try to turn the pig yourself!”
Ben’s Hog Roast Tips
Flavour the pig using a brine marinade. One brine that works beautifully with pork is apple cider brine and to add more flavour add herbs, onions, lemons and oranges to it. A whole pig should be marinated for at least 24 hours or overnight.
– Proper trussing (tying) of the whole pig to the rotisserie spit is critical. It should be tight and the spit should go between the thighs, along the inside of the body just under the spine and out through the mouth. Use a large trussing needle and heavy-duty kitchen twine to secure the spine to the spit every 6 inches along the length of the meat, tied as tightly as possible with the knots on the back. Cut off excess twine so that it will not burn.
– Don’t rush! Cook slowly at a low temperature, around 120°C. Baste frequently to prevent it from going dry. Mixtures vary but perfect ingredients to use include olive oil, wine, fruit juices, herbs and lemon juice – a little honey or sugar can enhance the flavour and help the caramelisation. Whole hogs can take from four to 24 hours to cook depending on size and temperature. Test it with a Thermapen thermometer, then pierce with a skewer and ensure any juices run clear. Remove and rest for 20 minutes.
– Serve hot in soft bread rolls with stuffing, apple sauce or chutney – and crackling of course!
Pulled Pork with Apple Coleslaw – Dry Cider / Rosé Wine
Chicken Tandoori & Tikka Combo with Pilau Rice – Pilsner / Pimms
Sweet Chilli Prawn Skewers – IPA / Alsace White / Dry Sherry
Halloumi & Vegetable Skewers – Weissbier/Prosecco
BBQ Cooking Tips from Ben Bartlett
• Spray meats with unsweetened apple juice to keep them moist and prevent burning
• Flatten chicken breasts before cooking to help them grill evenly – try wrapping in clingfilm and flattening with a rolling pin
• Meat marinaded in a ziplock bag will marinade in half the time
• Apply sugar to a sauce at the end of cooking to prevent it from burning
• Make sure the probe of a food thermometer to test meat cooked on the bone doesn’t touch the bone, as this will give an inaccurate reading
• Season the grill with olive oil and rosemary before you start
• Bring meat to room temperature before cooking
• Let the coals turn grey before you start cooking
• Choose a sheltered spot to eliminate wind
• Always have a bucket of water on standby
• A clean grill burns better and doesn’t taint the food
• Soak wooden skewers in water before use
• Marinate overnight but baste the meat during the last 5-10 minutes of grilling
Click here for the Texas – Skinny Pineapple & Shredded Chicken Salad Wraps recipe
Click here for the Pizza on the BBQ recipe