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Time to Make a Grilling

Time to Make a Grilling

From burgers to steaks, ribs to kebabs, barbecue cooking is versatile, delicious and a great way to drive revenue and increase profit during the warmer (and hopefully sunnier) months.

Light it up!
Now is the time to dust off that BBQ and get your al fresco menu sorted! Brits love a barbie so make sure your outdoor area is in an inviting, clean state. If your garden furniture is looking shabby then invest in new, or give it some TLC. Make sure you have ordered plastic glasses – pints and halves, and remember wine and soft drink glasses – and made a rota for additional staff when you are planning to host a BBQ. Thanks to our unpredictable weather, parasols, marquees and patio heaters/heat lamps are a worthwhile investment, and to keep your customers warm and toasty,
blankets add an extra special touch.

BBQ days
The May bank holiday weekend, Spring bank holiday and Father’s Day are the perfect occasions to serve barbecued food. However, once the summer is here why not have a regular BBQ? Barbecue food is quick and easy, so it is perfect for families who want a stress-free meal, and will free up time in the kitchen during busier days. If you have the barbie going outside all day, it will attract customers wanting to eat out of normal dining hours and groups of friends who want a lazy day socialising.

Beat the burger
You can’t beat a good burger. A trend that keeps growing, burgers are perfect for a substantial quick meal or a lazy lunch. Whether it’s meat, chicken or a vegetarian option, a burger’s appeal is universal and you are onto a winner when you feature it on your menu. “Everyone wants to know how to cook the best burger; juicy on the inside, crispy on the out and oozing flavour,” said David Fernandez, head chef at Stock Burger Co. in Brighton, operated by Kew Green. Here’s his secret…
• Buy the right cut – a quality piece of meat is crucial. Do your homework and find the best one – ‘just anything’ will not cut it!
• Burgers should contain 31% fat – fat is crucial in a burger because it not only helps with the cooking process but develops flavour.
• The right size is crucial – form your patties into 170g (200g at the most) portions. This is the perfect size for a burger.
• Cook for 6-8 minutes – a burger should be cooked medium; juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Flip every 30 seconds, then let the burger rest for 5 minutes before plating up – this stops the bun from going soggy.

Breadless burgers
A burger (meat and vegetarian) can be a meal in itself thanks to the delicious, rich toppings and sauces – especially with a side of chips – so why not offer a bunless option? This not only works for those trying to cut back on the calories but it’s perfect for those following a gluten-free diet too. Pax Burgers in Huddersfield offers a Go Breadless option – a patty sandwiched between two big baby gem leaves.

Get seasoning
If there’s one thing every chef needs to beef up their barbecue season, it’s a trolley of flavourings for instant on-trend appeal – and extra profit. Customers now have access to new flavours like never before, so the challenge for operators is to stay ahead of the game and find new and exciting ways to tempt a nation of foodies craving flavour adventures. Seasonings help bring menus to life and, thanks to their easy-to-use appeal, are the perfect choice for barbecue food as they allow you to add a premium price when added to meat, fish and vegetables.

Instant Americana
The appeal of Americana foods is still going strong. “Adding an American flavoured seasoning to seafood, chicken, meat and vegetables not only keeps your menu on-trend, it enables you to charge a premium price and increase profits,” said Steve Love, principal research chef at McCormick. Old Bay Seasoning is a versatile and iconic all-rounder; packed with celery salt, pepper and paprika it offers a tasty, soft, smoky aroma with a mellow spice to help upgrade a burger or complement a grilled salmon and can be added before, during or after cooking. Upgrade your barbecue condiments by adding it to dipping sauces and mayonnaise, too.

Spice it up!
Thanks to global cuisine, customers’ taste buds now crave more hot and spicy food. Schwartz Sriracha Seasoning can transform any dish into a sizzling sensation. With its garlicky, vinegar notes and hot finish, it is more versatile than a ready-made sauce, and simple to use as a dry rub or as a marinade for meat, chicken wings, fish and vegetables before they hit the hot coals.

Get saucy
Soy sauce and teriyaki sauce make the perfect accompaniment to barbecue marinades. Versatile and easy-to-use, they can add flavour to an abundance of dishes such as chicken or pork kebabs, sticky ribs, sausages, pulled pork, chicken wings, lamb steaks, veggie bean burgers and prawn and scallop skewers. The list is endless!

Marinade tips
By Steve Love, principal research chef at McCormick:
• Marinate meat for at least 2 hours – there is no hard and fast rule as it depends on the item you are cooking
• Marinate seafood for 15-30 minutes
• Never re-use a marinade; they carry bacteria from the previously marinated raw meat. Even if you are using the marinade as a baste, stop well before the end of the cooking process otherwise you will simply be basting raw liquid over cooked meat!

David Fernandez at Stock Burger Co. recommends these:
• Chicken: buttermilk, chilli sauce and a choice of your favourite herbs
• Pork or lamb: cumin, cinnamon, oregano, turmeric, coriander, chopped onion, crushed garlic, smoked paprika and lemon

Super sides
Make sure you have a wide selection of sides on your menu. From a selection of chips, offering sides like mac ‘n’ cheese, corn on the cob, onion rings, slaw and salad will help raise revenue. Skinny fries are always popular, however sweet potato fries are the winner at the moment.

The little ‘un’s
“If you keep the kids happy then they will keep on coming back!” said David Fernandez. Stock Burger Co. in Brighton has its own children’s menu – a replica of the main one but serving 85g burgers cooked well done. “The kids menu is a big source of business for us. Popular with families and children’s birthday celebrations, children especially love our ‘Build Your Own Burger’ section which they have a lot of fun with.”

Safe Cooking
The Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) advice is that the safest approach to cooking burgers is to ensure they are cooked thoroughly all the way through and not served rare – unless you have a ‘validated and verified food safety management plan’ that makes sure you are sourcing meat from premises approved to supply minced meat intended to be eaten lightly cooked or raw and the correct internal procedures for handling this meat. For safe cooking, a minimum of two minutes at 70°C is recommended to kill bacteria.

View David Fernandez’s BBQ recipes: Vegetarian: PortobelloVegan: Quinoa, Tofu & WildMeat: Pulled Oxtail Rice Patty

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