BBQ Cookery Group Menu
Here’s an excuse to get the whole family involved! For this Cookery Group menu allocate one dish to each member and then gather to barbecue and enjoy the spoils. Like our other Bring-a-Bowl menus, this one’s designed to be cooked in bulk and easily transported. Take extra care when you’re transporting meat: pack it in an icebox and minimise the time between fridge and griddle.
Planning and ServingIf your host has a big enough garden, strew it with chairs, rugs and deck chairs – although this buffet menu can be eaten on the move, too! You will need a bucket of ice and another to hold bottles of cool cordial or wine. The host for this session should start the barbecue (if it’s a charcoal model) around half an hour before guests arrive, so it’s ready to start cooking immediately.
If you have a monstrous gas grill, you’ll be well equipped – and if you are cooking on charcoal, it’s a good idea to preheat your indoor oven too, ready to start any meat that can’t fit on straight away. Actually most meat dishes benefit from a spell in the oven, and being finished on the barbecue for a smoky flavour.
Grills and KebabsThe main part of any barbecue comes straight off the griddle – marinated meats, delicately fragranced fish, and moist vegetable kebabs! Allocate one dish to each member and remember you’ll need four choices: red and white meat, seafood and vegetarian.
Tandoori Chicken LegsThe barbecue is the closest we have to a tandoori oven, imparting that blackened smokiness to grills – so try an Indian-inspired chicken dish. For a simple marinade, combine a medium tub of plain yoghurt with 3-4tbsp of curry paste (Patak’s Tandoori is good), a handful of finely chopped coriander and mint, and 1-2tbsp ground almonds. Slash the chicken and rub the marinade into it thoroughly, leaving overnight to penetrate.
Asian Spice SalmonSalmon works well on the barbecue – it takes only a few minutes to grill (skin side down), or you can ‘steam’ it by wrapping fillets in foil (and slipping in some aromatics). Choose a fresh, Asian marinade – lime and soy, chilli and lemongrass, or sake.
Paneer KebabsIndian cheese, or Paneer, can be cooked on the barbecue because of its unusual texture: instead of melting it browns on the outside. It’s a plain cheese, so marinade it in a herby oil dressing, then skewer it with peppers, small onions, and pieces of aubergine.
AccompanimentsAnd to the salads...
- Harissa Couscous with Mint & Coriander. Couscous is the perfect grain for a summer salad. It’s super-easy to cook – just soak in boiling water and add flavours – and it maintains its shape and texture. To make harissa couscous, combine 2tbsp harissa with 500g dried couscous, and add 1tbsp olive oil, and the juice of a lemon. Stir thoroughly. Now pour over boiling water (as per packet instructions),cover, and leave to steam for a few minutes. Stir through a big handful of chopped coriander and mint before serving.
- Potato Salad. You must serve this classic – choosing the best new potatoes you can find! A good dressing can be made with 200ml Extra Light mayonnaise, 2tsp grainy mustard, and 2tbsp chopped chives. Boil the potatoes until they are only just tender, and cool a bit before tossing them with the sticky dressing.
- Soy & Sesame Noodles. The amounts will depend on how many you expect to serve – toss your cooked noodles with a good splash of sesame oil, another of dark soy sauce and a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds. This salad is very versatile – you could add cucumber or spring onions (cut into strips) to make it healthier!
- Barbecue Flatbreads. Flatbreads work brilliantly on the barbecue, and they’re lovely with spicy meats and kebabs. Combine 12oz of bread flour with 1tsp salt and one sachet of easy-bake yeast. (If you like, add poppy or cumin seeds at this point.) Make a well and stir in 1tbsp olive oil and 120ml warm water (no hotter than you can tolerate). Stir and then knead the dough, pummelling it against your chopping board. Now leave to rise for at least one hour. Divide into walnut-sized balls and roll out, pricking the flatbreads. To transport, layer them on a plate between greaseproof paper, and grill on the barbecue for a few minutes each side – until golden brown.