Hand on heart, dear fellow staycationers, how many of you who, like us, haven’t got a garden have been just that little bit jealous recently seeing all that barbecue equipment in the supermarkets and all those ads for barbecue ingredients? No need to be, dear friends – because we can do it indoors just as well. With all that money you’re saving anyway by not going anywhere, you might as well get yourself some indoors grilling equipment and have the same fun as the guys in their gardens! Besides, you and your barbecue won’t get caught in a sudden rain shower…
It’s not expensive, either: all you need is an electric grill or, even simpler and more economical, a grid pan. Add a spatula and/or tongs, and a baking brush, that’s all!
The actual process of grilling is rather simple as well: some ingredients need cooking first, most others don’t. After that, you treat them pretty much all the same way: mix some olive oil in a bowl with salt and pepper, and brush them all with the mixture before throwing them on the grill or in the pan.
Now what can you grill on your barbecue? (No need to say this goes for an outdoors grill as well.) Well, there is almost no limit to what you can throw on your grill – everything from sausages, meat, fish and seafood to vegetables and even fruit!
If your party is for 1 or 2 only, you can save time by putting 2 or more different foods on at the same time, by the way; you’ll still be wanting a nice grill mix, though, so simply put whatever’s left of each sort of food in the freezer for next time.
I’ve put together the procedure for the most popular BBQ foods for you – it’s all very easy and a lot of fun!
Sausages: Small ones like chipolatas are ideal; put them on the hot grill (no need to brush with oil first if they’re already fat enough) and turn them around regularly for about 8-10 minutes until nice and brown.
Bacon: Simply throw it on the grill and turn a couple of times until crispy and brown; no oil needed!
Pork chop or steak: Brush with oil (you can add some honey to the mixture, too), place on the hot grill, grill for 7-8 minutes from each side.
Beef steak: Choose tender meat like sirloin, rump or fillet; brush with oil, place on the hot grill; if possible, only turn over once and don’t overcook, they’re nicer when they’re rare.
Chicken skewers: Put 3-4 chicken chunks, 2 onion quarters, 2 tomato halves and 2 bell pepper quarters on a skewer; brush with oil and grill on the hot grill until the vegetables start getting dark and the chicken is done.
Chicken wings: Cook the wings for 10-12 minutes in water first, then dry and brush with oil (you can add honey here as well). Grill on a high temperature for another 10-12 minutes; they’re ready when brown and crispy.
Prawns: Buy whole ones, they just look so much nicer! You’ll probably find you’ll only be able to get them frozen; defreeze them, wash them with warm water, dry them and brush them with oil; grill them for 8-10 minutes from both sides until pink. Sprinkle with lemon juice before serving!
Fish: Fatty fish is best (sardines, trout, salmon); buy them gutted and descaled, wash and dry them, brush them with oil, grill for 5 (sardines) to 15 (trout) minutes; sprinkle with lemon juice.
Baby potatoes: Wash, don’t peel them; cook them in salted water for 12-15 minutes, dry them and brush them with oil, then put them on the grill in aluminium foil. Grill on a high temperature for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Vegetables: Halve tomatoes, peel and quarter onions, quarter bell peppers and remove seeds, slice courgettes and aubergines; brush them with oil and grill them on a hot temperature until parts of them go dark (onions are going to fall apart, so spread the bits out so that they all get some colour). You can also throw whole or halved mushrooms on your grill, of course!
Fruit: You can grill melon chunks, pineapple slices, banana halves, fig halves or peach halves; simply grill them from both sides until the grid shows clearly. You can also put smaller fruit like strawberries, apricots and pineapple or peach chunks on a skewer and treat them the same way. No need to oil them first, either!
So get going, dear friends, I can assure you you’ll have a lot of fun! Put some beer, cider and/or wine on the table, and of course that all-important bottle of barbecue sauce, and start tucking in – it’ll be just like having a garden party!
And as a musical background, how about some good old-fashioned cajun music from Louisiana, the heartland of barbecue?
Have fun, dear friends, and tell me about your own grilling experiences!