If this year’s summer turns out to be as hot as last year, the thought of cooking up a traditional Sunday roast in a hot kitchen has little appeal. But, for some people, the weekend just doesn’t seem the same without a sit-down meal comprising meat and two veg. So, what’s the answer – why not have a go at cooking your Sunday lunch outside on your barbecue or fire pit? You could even challenge yourself to also throw in breakfast and tea for a day spent completely outdoors. Here’s what you’ll need to consider:
What to use to cook on a BBQ
Whilst most meats can be cooked directly on the grill, whether you’re using charcoal or kiln dried logs, if you want to fry eggs and bacon or boil up vegetables for lunch, you’re going to need some solid pans that will stand up to the heat.
Cast iron pans are brilliant for this as they’re really solid and distribute the heat evenly across their cooking surface. However, before you start using them, you need to go through a process called tempering. A word of caution – cast iron pans get exceedingly hot on a BBQ, so always wear heavy-duty gloves when handling them during the cooking process.
Many people also think that cast-iron pans need nothing more than a quick wipe down after use. This is a bit of an old wives’ tale as it means whatever you cooked the last time will impart its flavour to your next culinary adventure. Give them a good wash using soap but avoiding any harsh detergents. You’ll need a selection of different sizes – it’s a great idea to keep one at the edge of your grill to put cooked stuff in to keep warm whilst getting everything else ready.
Cooking breakfast on a BBQ
If you’re going to give breakfast a go, there are several ways to cook eggs. You can cook them in one of your pre-prepared cast iron pans together with your bacon and eggs or, if you’re catering for lots of people, a muffin tin does a great job. Make sure you grease it well first and then add your eggs before putting it over the heat. Eggs cook pretty quickly so the pan will hold up against the heat.
Alternatively, you can channel your inner boy scout and make individual holders out of foil for each egg. However, it’s a little bit fiddly and the eggs tend to stick to the foil even when well greased.
You can also make toast on your BBQ grill – either put the bread directly onto a medium hot grill and use tongs to turn over to brown the other side. The beauty of this method is getting those just-cooked-on-the-BBQ scorch marks across the bread. Alternatively, use a cast-iron pan, Jamie Oliver-style .
Your Sunday roast on a BBQ
Those trusty muffin pans also come back into play with this amazing recipe for Yorkshire puddings . Why not try roasting a whole chicken - it’s easy and is another great option - the folks at Great British BBQ have some great ideas on different ways to cook chicken.
Potatoes are an essential part of the Sunday roast. Of course, you could go for the simple solution of potatoes wrapped in foil and baked directly in the hot coals. However, if you’re not going to be happy without a roast potato, then this is the recipe for you, which also adds a hint of rosemary to your meal.
For the rest of your vegetables, you can either boil them in a cast-iron pan over really hot embers or place your pans directly in the embers once the rest of your food is cooked. An alternative is to thinly slice your veggies and wrap in a ‘bag’ of foil. Having seasoned them on a flat, square piece of foil, bring all four corners together to make a pouch and leave a hole at the top in which to pour water. Allow them to cook on the grill for about 15 minutes prior to serving.
Don’t forget the gravy – this can also be made using a cast-iron pan on the grill too.
And what about pudding, I hear you ask? From Smores to grilled peaches and even pancakes, here are some great pudding ideas all designed with the BBQ in mind.
Anyone for tea?
If you’ve still got an appetite after all that food, boil up some water on your BBQ for a cup of tea and try grilling some cheese sandwiches using the same method you would for toast. If you’re lucky enough to have an Aquaforno stove, you’ve got a ready-made water heater as part of this great outdoor stove set-up.
Kids will always find room for toasted marshmallows and, if you fancy a slice of cake with your cuppa, you can even bake on your BBQ.
How to keep your BBQ going
If you want to make a day of cooking outdoors, take a look at our blog that covers using your BBQ as a smoker – you’ll find lots of tips for keeping your fire going which are just as applicable.
So, there you have it – some ideas for how to cook entirely out of doors. And, as they say, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.