Secrets of the sizzle: a barbecue masterclass with Tom Hunt

By
Imogen Corke
Added
25 June, 2015

Some people think it’s the call of the cuckoo that heralds an English summer, but I know they’re wrong. It’s the first barbecue of the year. All too often we are huddled under an umbrella or desperately trying to work out ‘is that sausage edible, or is it just too dark to see?’, but wherever, whenever it is, it means sunny days and evenings outdoors are just around the corner. We joined Tom Hunt to find out more about how we should be barbecuing this summer.

 

Think twice about your ingredients

Cheaper pieces of meat are just as good on the barbecue as prime cuts, you just need to know what you’re looking forOnglet – also known as hanger steak – is often overlooked as is bavette or skirt steak. Bavette is long and thin, and only needs a few minutes each side on a hot barbecue, making it a great crowd pleaser and first cut of meat to come off the grill.



bavette steak and chimichurri

 

Do you really want sausages and burgers?

Ox heart skewers are another way to use the better value part of an animal. Sliced really thin, against the grain, and marinated in red wine vinegar and oregano, they only take a few minutes to cook, while the edges char for a crispy, smoky flavour. Heart is a delicious subtle flavoured lean cut of meat, well worth exploring.


tom hunt steak ox heart

 

Make the most of your grill

By heaping all of the coals in the middle of the barbecue there is very little you can do to change the cooking temperature. If you have a large enough grill concentrate the embers on one side which will be your source of heat or ‘mother’ as I like to call it. When the coals are white hot move a few embers across creating a bed of embers to grill over, add more white coals to the bed as and when you need them to maintain an even temperature. Pork shoulder works well with this technique; you can brown the outside on the hot part and then leave it to cook slowly on the cooler side of the barbecue for beautifully tender meat.

 

Make space for your five-a-day

Charred veg always disappears extraordinarily quickly at a barbecue. Serving a heaped platter of asparagus, beetroot and maybe some tenderstem broccoli that has been cooked on the barbecue is a failsafe, just sprinkle with some goat’s cheese, olive oil and fresh chilli.

 

Don’t forget the finishing touches

Marinating and grilling meat is one thing, but serving it with a well-thought out dressing or sauce will elevate your dish to the next level. One speedy sauce is the popular Argentine chimichurri, spicy and fresh it pairs perfectly with lamb, beef or even beetroot and other vegetables. Just drizzle it over anything you think could do with a little kick.

 
 

Five tips for a better barbecue

 

1. Cook your meat from room temperature so it cooks evenly

2. The colour of the fat running through the meat is a sign of quality. Organic meat will have yellower fat running through it, while grain-fed animals produce a much whiter fat

3. If you can find it buy meat that has been hung for 14-21 days. Aging the meat tenderises it and improves its flavour.

4. Slicing meat across the grain will make fibrous cuts more tender and quicker to cook

5. Cook on lump wood charcoal to give your meat the best flavour


Why not try one of Tom’s recipes for yourself?



Heart Kebabs
Heart kebabs might seem like a recipe for the adventurous, but they are absolutely delicious and not offaly as one might expect, but lean and satisfyingly rich. This recipe is inspired by a Peruvian recipe called Anticuchos de Corazon, but be warned it contains lots of chilli!

Serves 4
500g ox heart, trimmed carefully, cut into small cubes
1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted
6 garlic cloves, peeled, roughly chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
2 large red or yellow chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp chipotle Tabasco sauce
100ml red wine vinegar
Fried potatoes and coriander for serving (optional)

To make the marinade, pound the ingredients in a pestle and mortar, start by grinding the dry
ingredients (cumin, salt and oregano) to a powder. Next add the chilli and garlic and grind to a paste then add the tomato puree, Tabasco and vinegar and stir. Cover the meat in the marinade and mix thoroughly.
 

Once marinated, skewer the meat. Cook the kebabs on a very hot BBQ for one minute each side and serve tender and pink. Serve with potatoes boiled, sliced and fried in the leftover marinade with fresh coriander if you have some. 



Organic Bavette Steak and Chimichurri
Bavette, also called skirt steak, is an affordable cut, full of flavour and best served rare. Chimichurri is an Argentinian condiment. It’s similar to a vinegary salsa verde with a touch of chilli. Traditionally it is served with beef but will go really well with most meat cooked on a BBQ.

Serves 4 as a main course or many as a snack
800g strip of bavette steak

For the chimichurri
40g parsley, finely chopped with stalks
2 tsp dried or chopped fresh oregano
2 clove garlic, crushed
Pinch dried chilli flakes
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

Season the steak with plenty of salt and rub well with light olive oil, up to three days before
cooking. Light your BBQ using plenty of coals. Wait till the coals are white hot then spread them out evenly. Place the steak on the grill and allow to colour and slightly char on one side for about 3-4 minutes, then turn and repeat. If you like your steak rare you should remove it from the direct heat now and allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes. If you like your steak medium then turn it twice more and cook for a further minute each side then rest. If you like well done steak ask your butcher to butterfly the steak into a thin piece for quick cooking.


Once rested, slice the bavette across the grain. Serve smothered in chimichurri. Chimichurri will keep in the fridge for 4 days and so will the cooked meat.



For more information, visit the Soil Association


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