Barbecued Lamb

Last August I barbecued some joints of lamb on my barbacue.

Cooking joints of meat on a barbecue is not a simple process, you can have undercooked or raw on the inside and burnt and charred on the outside.

I used this process to cook two different kinds of lamb joint. I had a mini lamb shoulder and a boned half leg of lamb.

The first thing I did was to prepare the lamb by seasoning with salt and pepper and then marinating with rosemary, and some olive oil.

Though you can cook these kinds of joint directly on the barbecue, it can be quite challenging to ensure that the lamb is properly cooked, through, without burning or overcooking the outside. Part of the issue is that it is difficult to control the temperature of the barbecue unlike a normal grill. The key process is to recreate some aspects of a “normal” oven as opposed to the usual way of using a barbecue as a grill.

After the coals have reached cooking temperature, move them to the sides of the barbecue, so that when the lamb is placed on the grill, it is not over direct heat.

The lamb was then covered, I used a wok lid, but this is where a kettle barbecue comes into its own.

The end result was a properly cooked lamb, which was moist and succulent and full of flavour.

The Windsor Castle BBQ

The Windsor Castle

I was listening to some live music at The Windsor Castle and decided to have a burger from their barbecue.

The chef heated up the (recently) cooked burger on the plancha on the barbecue. This was then served in a roll with cooked onions. I then had to add my own cheese, lettuce, tomato and sauce.

It was quite a tasty burger, lots of nice flavours. 

I do think it was a little pricey at £5.50 for what I got (and what I had to do).

Pork Shoulder Kebab

When I was last in Waitrose I saw in their barbecue range a Mexican inspired pork king kebab

Outdoor-bred British pork (shoulder) is seasoned with a spicy Al Pastor rub which blends chipotle and ancho chilli, black pepper, cumin, clove and cinnamon. Finished with a sticky pineapple, chilli and oregano glaze. 

I did quite like the sound of this, but then I saw the price of £9.50 (£11.88 per kg). Well this put me off slightly and I did think it might me a little too spicy for some.

So I decided to have a go at making it myself. I got some pork shoulder from Aldi, which was £3.19 (£4.56 per kg). This I cut into strips and then rubbed with some pepper and garlic seasoning, and some salt.

I then threaded the strips onto skewers. I used two skewers so that the pork was like a flat slab.

This I then chargrilled on my griddle pan.

Once the pork was cooked, I let it rest and then I sliced the pork off the skewer.

It was rather good.

On the barbecue

Over the weekend we had a couple of barbecues. It is one of my favourite ways of cooking. Even a little rain wasn’t enough to put me off.

On Saturday we had burgers, seasoned chicken and lamb ribs. Sunday we had a similar spread, with beef kebabs, lemon chicken and more lamb ribs.

For the lemon chicken, I marinaded some chicken thighs in lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic oil and some Schwartz Chicken Seasoning. This is then cooked on the barbecue. 

I find that you have to be careful to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked, so I use an old wok lid on top, to cover the chicken, to “roast” the chicken as it is grilled. I really like the crispy chicken skin that you get on the barbecue.

For the seasoned chicken I followed a similar process, but used a new chicken seasoning (from Morrisons) which had turmeric, so the chicken was quite yellow. It was delicious.

The lamb ribs were from Waitrose and I seasoned them with salt, pepper and rosemary before placing them on the barbecue.

I did think that they might need longer cooking, but they were tasty and tender.

The burgers and kebabs were from Aldi and were quite good.

Hoping the weather continues to improve so we can have more barbecues.

Japanese BBQ Beef

Back in July I was working in London and out for lunch, I headed off to the Leather Lane street food market, where there are plenty  of choices of places to eat.

On Leather Lane is Mugen, a Japanese restaurant.

Contemporary Japanese restaurant with a sushi bar and traditional minimalist decor.

During the market they put up a food stall outside their restaurant and they had a good looking menu.

I went with the Beef Bavette BBQ Combo. This was a substantial lunch with a base of rice, stir fried, vegetables, egg, pumpkin  katsu and pickled ginger. On top is sliced baguette steak finishing off with a sauce.

BBQ Beef

I have to say, that though I enjoyed the food, it wasn’t as amazing as I thought it would be. The steak lacked seasoning and the pumpkin  katsu lacked flavour. Overall I was a little disappointed.

Frankly it was rather disappointing

On visits to the Leather Lane market well before the Covid lockdown I had seen the Argentalia market stall a few times, but had not bought lunch there, though I did quite fancy the concept.

So on a recent visit a couple of months back, I had the opportunity to try out the stall. I went with the Argentalia Barbeque Box, which comes with Asado (ribs), Vacio (flap meat), Chorizo (sausage), Morcilla (black pudding), Pollo (chicken), Pork with chimichurri and variety of salads or fries.

This had the potential to be outstanding box of food, but alas it wasn’t meant to be.

The salad was flat and insipid.

The fries were okay, but nothing special.

So what of the main attraction, the barbecued meat?

I think if the meat had actually been barbecued then this would have made the dish so much better than it was. The problem with the meat was that it was quite tough and chewy. It was almost braised, steamed rather than grilled.

I am not even sure I got everything on the list. 

Overall I was looking forward to a great box of barbecued meats, what I got was frankly rather disappointing.

Barbecuing in the sun

With the lovely weather we have been having a lot of barbecues recently. I try and cook different things, and we usually have a selection of salads alongside the grilled meat.

I do like cooking boned and flattened chicken thighs on the barbecue.

These were marinaded in lemon juice, olive oil and herbs. I leave the skin on as this is the best bit.

I also do ribeye steaks, but I find you need to have the temperature just right otherwise they can either be bland or overdone. I season my ribeye steaks with salt and pepper and a little garlic oil.

The lamb leg steaks were marinaded with olive oil and rosemary.

I am also know to do burgers, but I try and use a good quality burger to get the best results. These are served in a brioche bun with cheese and salad.

With sausages, like the burgers I like using a good quality meaty sausage. I prefer chipolata sausages, they remind me of the French sausages we cooked when we were on holiday, but sometimes I use  other kinds.

With pork belly slices I find it best to marinade them for a few hours in a salt and pepper marinade for a few hours to tenderise the pork.

Thinking now about other possibilities.

That time I had a Smoke Catering BBQ Box

Over the last year I have missed going to street food markets, so have been reflecting on nice meals I have had in the past.

Back in June 2017 I was working in Bristol and looking for a place to eat to have some lunch. I went to the Temple Quay Market which had a wide range of stalls from which to choose from.

In the end I chose the BBQ Box from Smoke Catering. I had really enjoyed the BBQ Box I had in March of that year. It was an easy choice to make as I liked the food.

The box contained homemade slaw, garlic mash and beans. On top of the box was some smoked beef brisket, pulled pork and a smoked pork and chilli sausage. 

Smoke Catering BBQ Box - smoked beef brisket, pulled pork and a smoked pork and chilli sausage

It was delicious. The mash was smooth and creamy with a hint of garlic, no bitterness or harshness. The slaw was fresh and crunchy. The beans spicy and full of flavour.  

The smoked beef brisket was tender and delicious, it was melt in the mouth. I like the tender beef and the crunch of the barbecued outside. I remember when I went to a barbecue restaurant in Glasgow and ordering smoked beef brisket and getting a little disappointed as that beef was dry and nothing like the beautifully flavoured and tender beef brisket from Smoke Catering.

The sausage was very meaty and tasty, the chilli enhanced the flavour and didn’t overpower.

I also enjoyed the smoked and pulled pork, which was tender and tasty, though I preferred the sausage and the beef.

Hopefully some time in the future I can get some more excellent food from Smoke Catering.

Well that was interesting…

Back in November 2019 I had a meal, which was, well probably the best way to describe it was, it was interesting…

It use to be the case that when I was up in Glasgow and had a late flight home I would go and wait at the airport and be generally disappointed with the standard of the catering available. I order some food and then start wondering why I am eating there, as it is too often over-priced and not very good.

Why I use to do that I am not sure, probably, thought it was a good idea and I could get some work done! The last time this happened to me in Glasgow I decided that rather than do my usual, I would try and find something to eat in the centre of Glasgow. As a result I had a fantastic meal at Babs. I had gone with the Lamb Shish Babs., described as severed chunks of sumac-rubbed lamb grilled over coals. Served on a flatbread on a bed of a sweet pepper and carrot puree and tzatziki; topped with grilled peppers and house pickles. The meal was delicious.

So back in November 2019 I had woken up in Edinburgh, attended an event, before heading off to Glasgow for a meeting. After the meeting I had an office I could use to get some work done. As is usual I had a late flight back to Bristol so I decided I would go out and eat in the heart of Glasgow before heading to the airport.

Going over Google Maps to find somewhere to eat, I was initially tempted to return to Babs, but decided that I wanted to try somewhere new. One place that did catch my eye was Viva Brazi, Brazilian barbecue place.

Slow roasted meats expertly carved at table with a selection of buffet-style sides and salads.

Down at Cabot Circus in Bristol we have Casa Brazil and the concept has appealed to me, so I thought okay let’s go for this today.

It was earlier than most people would eat, it was before five, however I was given a warm welcome and was shown to a table where the entire process was explained to me how the system worked. As I had sat down at the table I went with the lunchtime menu, which though has less meats was cheaper than the dinner option.

There was a buffet of cold and hot dishes which you could go up and help yourself too. I enjoyed the salads that they had.

Every so often a waiter would arrive with a skewer of barbecued meat and would carve off slices.

I did enjoy many of the meats and I enjoyed the side dishes. However I didn’t think it was anything special. Some of the barbecued meats weren’t so much overdone, more that was the part of the cut I received. I quite like my meat medium or rare, but I seemed to get the well done cuts being carved off.

Overall it was an interesting experience, and it satisfied my curiosity about this kind place. Would I go again? Probably not.

Time for Reds

There was a time when I would travel for work, stay overnight and then go out and get something to eat.

Well I am not doing that now and don’t expect to be doing it for a while either. I have though still a few places to write about and review that I didn’t do so at the time. This is one such review.

Back in January when I could and did travel I was staying overnight in Leeds. I needed a place to eat. I rarely eat at the restaurants in the hotels, usually either they are very expensive and out of budget, or as was the case in Leeds, the hotel I was staying didn’t really have a proper restaurant, serving a few bar snack type meals only. The other thing I do find with hotel restaurants is that it can be a bit hit and miss when it comes to the quality of the food.

Around the corner from the hotel there was quite a choice of restaurants, this is so much easier these days with Google or Apple Maps which show the restaurant close to you.

I was checking the menus of a few nearby places, when I saw on their website, that Reds True Barbecue in Headingley had a 51% discount offer in January, if you pre-booked. So I decided I would go there to eat, the menu looked great as well. It was simple to book online and I walked down to the restaurant.

The outside looked very American to me, though I’ve never been to America and have thus never eaten at a proper American barbecue joint, and so have no frame of reference to what a real barbecue place is like. However if I was to say what I thought an American barbecue joint was like based on the films and TV programme I felt it looked like what I thought an American barbecue joint should look like.

Reds True Barbecue in Headingly in Leeds

Having walked through the door I was given a warm and friendly welcome. The place was crowded, considering it was a Tuesday night. Being in Headingley the clientele were quite young and I am guessing a fair few were students. Probably taking advantage of the 51% offer. I liked the look of the place, slightly industrial, wooden tables and American signs.

Though I had seen the menu online, I still took my time to have a good look over the menu choices. There were a range of starters, barbecue platters and to quote the menu, “things in bread” which had a range of burgers.

Having travelled up to Leeds during the day and missing lunch, I was quite hungry. I went with the barbecued three meats with two sides deal.

barbecued three meats with two sides

I chose the smoked brisket, the short rib and the sausage. For my sides I went with fries and onion rings. Though I was tempted by the chicken wings and the pork belly. To drink with the meal I ordered a bottle of Corona.

The food arrived pretty quickly and I was impressed with the look of the food and the portion size.

The sausages were really nice, meaty and spicy. The short rib was delicious and very tender. The brisket was nice, but I felt it was a little dry. I enjoyed both the sides, though I think on reflection I probably should have had some slaw alongside.

My meal should have cost £25, but with the 51% discount on food, in the end it was just £14.54 which was really good value.

Though I don’t expect to be going to Leeds anytime soon, I hope that I can because I think I would like to have a return visit to Reds for some more excellent barbecued food.