Nothing beats a summer barbecue with friends and family. It’s usually one of the true highlights of the sunny months. Summer breaks at Center Parcs are made complete by sparking up a barbecue outside of your lodge, surrounded by the beautiful British woodland. Knowing how much their guests enjoy this element of their short breaks, they are offering the below tips for making your summer sizzle.
Marinade the night before
This is a great way to get bags of flavour into your dishes. Grab a few simple marinade recipes (rosemary, thyme, garlic, lemon and olive oil is a great combination) and massage it into the meat. Then cover with clingfilm and leave overnight in the fridge.
By the time you come to cook, it will have had hours for all of those delicious flavours to work their magic, infusing and enriching the flesh in ways that no supermarket table sauce ever could.
Flavour the coals
This is great tip from our culinary cousins in Australia. It’s the perfect way to make a special occasion that little bit more memorable.
If you are feeling adventurous then you could try getting hold of some tree resin, such as Frankincense. Add it to the hot coals and the woody flavours will mix with the smoke to add real warmth and depth to the flavour of your barbecue.
In fact, there’s really no reason why you can’t do both.
Pre-boil your chicken
If you want to really impress your guests, then this professional chef’s trick is a must. All you do is pop your chicken thighs and legs into a large saucepan of seasoned boiling water and leave to cook for 10 to 15 minutes before placing on the barbecue.
This cooks the chicken through beforehand, so you don’t get chicken that’s raw on the inside and burnt on the outside. But above all, as the chicken boils, it also absorbs all the water. So when it’s placed over the coals it crisps up yet retains all that lovely moisture in the middle.
Leave the meat alone
One of the secrets of a great barbeque is to resist the urge to bother the meat as it cooks. Leave it to cook, flipping it only once or twice, and it will develop its own lovely caramelised crust. Continuous agitation only serves to prevent this from happening.
Sausages in particular should be left alone, and should certainly not be pierced beforehand. Also remember that if you keep squashing everything down you will release all the juices and end up with a dry end product. Just leave it alone.
Rest before eating
Giving the meat just five to ten minutes resting time is a great way to ensure that all the flavours have a chance to settle.
That is because when a piece of meat is just cooked it tastes quite fatty, and a lot of juice will run down your chin if you bite into it. So leaving it to rest is the sure fire way to provide guest with the succulent and tasty version that you want them to remember. The golden rule is that when it comes to great barbecues, patience really is the key.