Ask most people ‘who invented the barbecue?’ and the majority would say the Americans. However, cooking over coals has existed since the beginning of time — primitive peoples found relighting already charred wood produced the perfect coals for cooking food.
In about 1920, Henry Ford — who found great success with his Model T — purchased a sawmill to make wooden parts for his cars. He watched the growing mountain of wood scraps, and being a frugal man, hit on the idea of burning the scraps to create charcoal. He then ground it to a powder, added a starch binder and compressed it into little briquettes. These proved to be a great source of heat and light for campfires.
After World War 2, when American GIs spent their benefits to buy homes with little backyards, barbecue cooking came into its own — helped by Ford’s invention.
Steak is a BBQ fave. Cheaper grilling steaks such as rump and cross-cut have great flavour but please don't over-cook. They’re best marinated overnight in the fridge and returned to room temperature before barbecuing. Ensure the meat is dry and cook on a preheated grill. Always rest the meat before serving.
BBQ BANGERS WITH BEER SAUCE
If your favourite beer is a bitter you may need to add extra brown sugar.
8 x your favourite fresh sausages
1 can your favourite beer
1 large red capsicum
4 long green chillies
1 large red onion
Beer Sauce: 2 small shallots, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons each: cider vinegar, tomato paste
2 teaspoons each: brown sugar, prepared mustard, Worcestershire sauce
reserved beer cooking liquid
Prick the sausages a couple of times with a skewer. Pour the beer into a frying pan. Add the sausages. Slowly bring to the boil, turning the sausages often. Poach for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and stand for another 5 minutes, turning once or twice.
Halve and seed the capsicum. Remove the ribs. Cut into about 8 pieces. Halve the chillies. Seed, if preferred. Cut the onion into 4-8 wedges.
Drain the sausages well, reserving the beer cooking liquid.
To make the sauce, sauté the shallots in the oil, until softened. Add the garlic then the remaining sauce ingredients. Simmer for a few minutes. Can be thickened with a cornflour paste, if preferred.
Preheat the barbecue. Oil the hot plate. Sauté the sausages, capsicum, chillies and onion until the sausages are browned and the vegetables crisp-tender. Serve with the sauce. Serves 4.
OREGANO-MARINATED RUMP STEAK
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon each: dried oregano, fresh thyme sprigs
850g rump steak cut 3cm thick
Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano and thyme in a shallow dish. Snip the fat around the outside edge of the steak about every 3cm to prevent curling. Place in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, turning the meat once or twice to marinate evenly. Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking.
Pat dry. Grill over a medium hot flame or on a hot plate for 2-3 minutes each side. Remove, cover loosely with foil and rest for 5 minutes. Slice to serve.
Great served with Baby Mushrooms & Red Wine Sauce. Serves 4-6.
BABY MUSHROOMS & RED WINE SAUCE
I used baby button mushrooms from Te Mata available from my local supermarket.
300g baby button mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup red wine
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
Trim the stems from the mushrooms, if preferred.
Sauté in the olive oil in a small saucepan for 2-3 minutes. Add the shallots and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the garlic and seasonings and stir well, then add the wine and thyme. Simmer gently for 4-5 minutes. Can be thickened with a cornflour paste.
Excellent served with beef steaks. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
BBQ TAMARIND-MARINATED HALLOUMI
Vegetarians love this but it’s also a fave with meat eaters. Halloumi can also be cut into ‘steaks’ and barbecued
1 yellow capsicum
Marinade: 2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon each: tamarind paste, soy sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
grated rind and juice 1 large lime
1/2 teaspoon chilli paste
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Cut the halloumi into 2.5cm cubes. Halve the capsicum, seed and remove the ribs. Cut into 3cm squares.
Whisk all the marinade ingredients until smooth.
Thread the halloumi and capsicum alternately onto skewers. Place in a shallow dish. Drizzle with the marinade ensuring the skewers are evenly coated. Marinate for at least 1 hour, turning occasionally.
Barbecue for about 2-3 minutes each side or until lightly charred. Serves 2-4.