How To Celebrate National Barbecue Week Without A Barbecue

By all accounts it's National Barbecue Week. "Good grief, really?" I hear you yawn. Yes it is. And yes, whilst at times it feels like there's not a week that goes by without some preceding nomenclature to promote some cause - last week was National Incontinence Week which ran the slogan 'Hey! It's OK to piss yourself!' - I do believe that as a nation we should get behind the campaign and celebrate this wonderful way of cooking. Sure along the way there will be sunburn, liver failure, food poisoning and statistically, at least two deaths from petrol being thrown on the fire but that shouldn't stop us because something else at stake here. And that is pride. You see over the pond, our US counterparts tend to scoff at our interpretation of barbecuing favouring smoking and cooking huge joints and carcasses, normally from piggies, indirectly in cavernous barrels. On stilts. The meat will have been thoroughly rubbed (and in some cases dry humped) with piquant spices and cooked for 12 days until the flesh falls off the bone in ribbons and can be collected from the bottom of said barrels, scooped up with alooominum buckets. All then to be slapped onto individual platters with 'slaw, whatever that is and smothered with a rich vinegary, mustardy tomato-based sauce. This sauce by the way is normally knocked up by pouring all the industrial sized components into a bath and then a guy called 'Jed' will climb inside and writhe about with no clothes on.

It sounds disgusting doesn't it.

No give me five minutes of prodding sausages around the grill with a fork until it's black on the outside and pink in the middle any day of the week. I might simultaneously singe the hairs on my eyebrows and knuckles as I bend down to scrutinise the one damn sausage that has lept into the fiery pit. I might decide to pour beer over the bbq in an effort to quell the inferno that the £1 Iceland burgers have invited. I might, after the event, decide to throw little bits of cardboard onto the charcoals in a vain effort to keep the hypnotic primordial flame alive. I might just go for a sleep under the tree because I've drunk too much cider and my head is pounding. But I don't care because this is the British way dammit. And this is why I am going to have a barbecue tomorrow, in the blazing hot sunshine because this week is our National Barbecue Week.

Except I don't actually own a barbecue. I still haven't got over Betty see so won't even consider buying a new one. But I thought it would be fun to show you just how we've been getting along with her.

First of all I select a spot.

Then using a cunning array of bricks and a metal grid that I somehow seem to have acquired from somewhere, I assemble a very simple but very effective barbecue.

I then place one of those ready-to-light bags of charcoal in the middle and er, set it alight. And you can bugger off all you snobs that complain about meat having a tinge of white spirit. It all adds to the flavour.

I then sit back and admire my handywork, with a beer in my hand and smoke in my eyes.

After a while, I get fed up of the smoke and decide to speed things up with some frantic flapping.

I then bring out the meat and other combustibles that will go on the barbecue. In this case lamb steaks that have been marinated in olive oil, lemon, garlic and thyme and a piece of pork belly that has been rubbed with crushed sea salt, fennel and coriander seed and already slow roasted for a couple of hours. Plus the ubiquitous squeaky halloumi which no barbecue should be without. And some pitta bread.

I then cook the meat, trying to keep the lamb a bit pink in the middle but hotspots in the coals dictate that it gets cooked all the way through (see how I blamed 'hotspots' there?) The skin on the pork belly crisp up wonderfully though.

I then throw on the cheese. Now there are different preferences to grilled halloumi in our household. Mrs FU likes it quite burnt, I like it just nicely browned and the kids couldn't care less.

After quickly toasting the pitta, we then sit down to a feast adding a delicious greek salad to the mix and Daddy gets to sup some Moroccan beer, courtesy of Badger and Bumble.
Barbecuing, there's nothing to it really.


Erin said…
Looks yum. I bet I could do that on my back patio without losing my damage deposit eh? Maybe not I hear you say... Oh well. I'll wait until I'm in the Old Country and build it on the beach.
Halloumi! Never done that on a BBQ before. Where the hell have I been.

Really want a BBQ now....

Anonymous said…
Awesome post - this BBQ looks incredible. Bet that wire rack gives the meat delicious grill marks. Yum.
Agree - halloumi is heavenly on the BBQ - I like to chargrill it then top with olive oil, mint and freshly chopped chilli. Maybe a bit too poncy for this manly BBQ but it is delicious :-)
Food Urchin said…
Erin - I reckon you should pile up all the furniture in the front room and set it alight, imagine what we could cook on that!

Going With My Gut - You cannot beat halloumi on the barbecue, I wonder what it would taste like baked in a clay oven?

thelittleloaf - I sometimes like to make up a lime and caper vinaigrette to go with the halloumi, borrowed from Delia (of all people). You know when I am feeling poncey. ; )
Jenny Eatwell said…
~wails~ I wanna barbecue! ~sob~ I want pork steaks marinated in Hoi Sin sauce, chicken drumsticks in lemon & honey, pork belly, sardines, halloumi, lamb steaks with garlic & rosemary and a potato salad - preferably all in the same pitta bread. ~pout~ Not going to happen, is it. ~sniffle~
Chris Harding said…
Oh yes. I'm planning to make the most of Islington's public barbeque amnesty with one of those disposable jobbies on Highbury Fields this weekend.
Unknown said…
ahhh, liver failure... my favourite failure... last year I dug a pit in my garden and threw coals in that... best bloody bbq ever!
Lisa Cookwitch said…
It all looks splendid!

We plan to barbecue tonight. The butcher had the temerity to be on holiday - I bet he is kicking himself now he's seen the weather - so the Co-op and the local Turkish shop got our custom. We have pork belly slices with honey and chilli, some ribeye steaks, some spicy sujuk sausage and some halloumi for me. Husband does not like the Squeaky Cheese. *sadface*

(Btw Mr Urchin, you really should try my halloumi pie.)
Sally said…
I can't believe I never knew about the 'hotspot' excuse. My summer is transformed.
Anonymous said…
Ha! Mine is a Delia recipe too :-) you can't go wrong with the classics!
Unknown said…
Ingenious Dan, truly ingenious. Not quite sure my land lord would love me though!
Food Urchin said…
Jenny Eatwell - but you CAN have a BBQ, build it and they will come

Chris Harding - What Islington doesn't normally condone public barbecues? Burn down the town hall in protest, that'll learn 'em

Dom - aha we've discussed pit barbecuing already haven't we ; )

Lisa - halloumi pie? Show me, show me the way

Sally - you've gotta watch those 'hotspots'....ahem

the littleloaf - gawd bless Delia and all that sail in her

Gourmet Chick - come on, where's your sense of adventure! Invite the bloody landlord round too
PDH said…
I salute brave barbecue soldier! It's this kind of plucky initiative that made this country great :^P
Helen said…
Have you been carving up shopping trolleys again Danny? Betty wouldn't approve of that you know...

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