Barbecue season is here again. And, come rain or shine, us Brits love a barbie! It’s National BBQ Week (27 May-2 June) and according to organisers the UK BBQ market is now worth around £1.6 billion. With two bank holidays in May and Father’s Day in June, a barbecue menu is the perfect choice for all events. So, get grilling!
Burgers and sausages will never fizzle out as the number one barbecue food. When it comes to American barbecue classics, ribs, pulled pork and brisket stand out from the crowd. All three benefit from low and slow cooking on the grill and wrapping the meat in foil during the cooking process is integral for sealing in the moisture. Take inspiration from well-known high street players who know how to do burgers well! From mustard-coated patties to burgers topped with bacon and deep-fried mozzarella, loading up your burgers will allow you to charge a premium price.
Make sure your meat-free options stand out. Dishes such as jerk-glazed plantain, Indian spiced jackfruit, halloumi kebabs and field mushrooms with garlic and blue cheese are a few vegetarian ideas which will impress your customers. With over 3.5 million people in the UK now following a vegan diet, creating outstanding plant-based barbecue dishes will be key to keep customers sweet – and returning. “Vegetarians and vegans often get forgotten about during BBQ season. Vegan BBQ is set to trend during 2019, so don’t be left behind. Offer choice to veggies and vegans rather than one token burger. With so many great products on the market it’s easier than ever to keep up with the demand,” said Sam Platt, manager of the The Vegetarian Society Cookery School. “Make sure your cooking procedures are veggie friendly too. You should have a separate BBQ or a distinct section of the grill for vegetarian foods where there is no risk of cross contamination from meat juices and fats. Make sure you have separate utensils too. Your customers will expect it and it shows you really know your stuff.” From using jackfruit to create vegan pulled-pork, to producing meat-free steaks with seitan, vegan barbecuing will be a way for chefs to show their creativity and flair. Or why not brush a whole aubergine with oil and place it on a hot barbecue to get that charred flavour, then wrap it in foil to cook through?
A global influence
Global cuisine and worldwide flavours are now expected on the barbecue menu by consumers, and thanks to a range of relishes, sauces, pastes, marinades and glazes chefs are able to create authentic and traditional recipes to suit this demand. For example, a satay marinade coated over meat or vegetables will release an aroma of spices and coconut, and is perfect served with a peanut relish. For a traditional oriental twist, glaze your meat, fish or vegetables with teriyaki sesame sauce. And if you want to impress customers serve traditional churrascarias-style dishes. McCormick Grill Mates Brazilian Steakhouse Seasoning is the perfect blend to help you to recreate these zesty South American foods.
BBQ cheese steaks and sausages are a tasty alternative to meat; perfect as a solo or sharing dish. “Our research identified that there was a huge opportunity for hot eating cheeses, targeting food adventurers, vegetarians and flexitarians who currently struggle to find simple and tasty meat-free options that can be cooked outdoors on the BBQ as well as indoors on a griddle,” said Craig Brayshaw, commercial director at Eurilait Ltd. Available in an Original variety suitable for all palates including children, or a Chilli variety for those who like it spicy, the cheese steaks and sausages are made from natural ingredients and free from artificial flavours and preservatives. Presented in BBQ ready foil trays for ease, flavours include BBQ camembert in a classic variety or with an orange blossom honey and thyme glaze and BBQ feta with Moroccan harissa salsa dressing.
Sides of profit
Operators tend to focus their attention on how they can differentiate the meat or toppings on their barbecue menu, when in fact there is a huge opportunity to generate extra sales by offering alternative sides too. “While fries are the traditional accompaniment to barbecued meat, diners expect to be able to upgrade their sides meaning operators can maximise profits by offering a premium option,” said Mohammed Essa, commercial director at Aviko UK & Ireland. Loaded fries, sweet potato fries and piri piri wedges are a premium accompaniment which will encourage customers to trade up and spend that little bit more. Sweet potatoes wrapped in foil and cooked on the barbecue are a great addition, and so is the classic corn on the cob.
Tips when marinating
• When marinating meat, score or prick the surface to help the flavour infuse into the meat. Refrigerate and allow time for the flavours to penetrate, turning halfway through to ensure even coverage
• When grilling or barbecuing marinated meat, remove excess marinade to prevent flare-ups on the grill. This also results in a nicely browned finish
• Do not re-use marinades that have been in contact with raw meats/fish
• When using a glaze, keep basting the meat, fish or vegetables regularly throughout the cooking process, for a fuller flavour
What to pour
It’s important to serve drinks that cut through grease and cleanse the palate. With cocktails, opt for ones that can be served in pitchers speeding service and allowing customers to help themselves. And when choosing wines, offer ones that have enough ‘body’ to complement the strong flavours of roasted and marinated meats. Here are Take Stock’s suggestions:
• Old Mout Cider
• Dry Cider
• Heineken 0.0
• Pimms Cup
• Mint Julep
• Gin Fizz
• Non-alcoholic Seedlip G&T
Red wines for BBQ meats
• Côte du Rhône Rosé
• New World Chardonnay
• Sauvignon Blanc
Offer customers a plastic bottle option it’s both safer (no glass to smash) and means they can keep the fizz in.
View recipes: Carolina Mustard BBQ Chicken, Black Bean Burger with Ginger Pickled Shallots & Alfalfa Sprouts, Shrimp & Sea Scallop Kabobs & Brazilian Lamb Ribs with Barbecue Sauce