Grill Smoke BBQ: SUMMERTIME FUN

Recipes excerpted with permission from Grill Smoke BBQ by Ben Tish, published by Quadrille, RRP $35.00 hardcover. Purchase your copy here! 


Smoky grilled watermelon with burrata, balsamic and basil


Grill Smoke BBQ

Grilling watermelon over charcoal works surprisingly well. The secret is to get the surface as dry as possible, and this is easily achieved by refrigerating the sliced watermelon, uncovered, for 30–40 minutes. Creamy burrata (cream-filled fresh mozzarella) and some balsamic dressing make this a super-refreshing, healthy dish for the summer months.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 small watermelon, skin and white pith removed
  • 60ml (4 Tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
  • 20ml (4 tsp) balsamic vinegar
  • 4 burrata, at room temperature
  • 1/2 bunch basil, leaves picked and roughly torn
  • sea salt and black pepper

Directions

  1. Light the barbecue and set for direct cooking.
  2. Cut the watermelon into 4 chunky slices about 2cm (3/4 in) thick and pat dry with paper towel (the watermelon needs to be sliced this thick to get good caramelization on the grill). Place in the fridge for 30–40 minutes to dry further before grilling.
  3. Place the watermelon slices on the grill in the direct heat zone and cook for 5–6 minutes without turning – you should get a really good, deep color as the natural sugars caramelize. Turn and cook for 3–4 minutes on the other side, then transfer to a serving plate.
  4. Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar to make a dressing, then spoon this over the watermelon slices.
  5. Serve with the burrata. Season well with salt and pepper, and finish with a scattering of fresh basil.

Beetroot with blood orange, almonds and chard


Grill Smoke BBQ

By far the best way to cook beetroot is to wrap them in foil and bake them very slowly in the dying embers of the charcoal. I often put some in at the end of a cooking session and leave them overnight, in the morning you’ll have some super-tender, sweet, delicious beets, or pop them in the coals at the start of cooking and they’ll be ready in a couple of hours. This is the ideal dish to cook in the background while you’re cooking your other stuff.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1kg (2 1/4 lb) small beetroot (beets) – a selection of red, yellow and candy is nice
  • 50ml (3 1/2 Tbsp) Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar or other red wine vinegar
  • 50ml (3 1/2 Tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 blood oranges or 1 regular orange
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 100g (3 1/2 oz) baby chard, collard greens or other seasonal leafy greens
  • handful of Marcona almonds or blanched, salted almonds, roughly chopped
  • olive oil, for cooking
  • sea salt and black pepper

Directions

  1. Wash the beetroot and trim off any leaves. Wrap each beetroot in foil, adding a sprinkle of salt and a splash of vinegar to each parcel before sealing.
  2. Light the barbecue and set for direct/indirect cooking.
  3. Using long-handled tongs, you can either bury your beetroot parcels among the coals when they reach optimum cooking temperature, or at the end of a cooking session when the embers are dying down. Just make sure the parcels are surrounded by coals and nestle them in well, so they cook properly. They will take around 2 hours to cook through; check by inserting the tip of a small knife into the centre – it shouldn’t meet any resistance. Once they’re done, let them cool slightly before unwrapping the foil and peeling off the skin while the beetroot is still warm.
  4. Slice the beetroot and place in a bowl, along with the remaining vinegar and the extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Use a sharp knife to cut away the skin and pith of the oranges, then slice into rounds and reserve.
  6. Place a frying pan over medium heat on the stovetop. Add a splash of olive oil, followed by the chilli, chard and some salt and pepper. Cook briefly for 2 minutes, just until the chard has wilted, then transfer to the bowl with the beetroot and toss through well.
  7. Divide the beetroot and chard evenly between four plates, then top with orange slices and scatter over the almonds.

Grilled lobster with smoked butter


Grill Smoke BBQ

A luxurious and majestic centrepiece to a meal, if ever there was one! Shellfish is fantastic cooked over charcoal, and the lobster shell imparts a sweet-smokiness as it becomes charred; it also helps to protect the delicate white meat against the intense heat, keeping it beautifully moist. For me, grilled lobster just has to be slathered with melted butter, and here it’s smoked…

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 x 750g–1kg (1 3/4 – 2 1/4 lb) lobsters, preferably native
  • 100g (3 1/2 oz) Smoked butter (see below), at room temperature
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • You’ll also need some oak or apple chips

Directions

  1. If you have live lobsters, put them in the freezer for an hour or so (but be careful not to freeze them) – this will put them to sleep, so they can be dispatched as humanely as possible.
  2. Light the barbecue and set for direct cooking.
  3. On the stovetop, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil over high heat. Plunge the lobsters into the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes before removing and plunging into cold water to stop the cooking process; the lobsters will only be partly cooked at this stage.
  4. Place the lobsters on their backs on a chopping board and, using a large, heavy-bladed knife, cut them in half lengthwise. Start by inserting the tip of the knife at base of the tail behind the head and cutting down through the tail. Next turn the lobster around and cut cleanly through the head; depending on the thickness of the shell, you may need to press the knife down to chop through it. Discard the coral and intestine from the head and crack each claw with the heel of a knife or a claw cracker. Be careful not to smash the claws completely – you just want to crack the shell and expose the meat.
  5. Season the lobster meat and smear the tails with some of the smoked butter. Throw a good handful of wood chips on the charcoal and place the lobsters, shell-side down, on the grill. Close the lid of the barbecue and cook the lobsters for 6 minutes until the meat is just cooked through and the shell has started to blacken.
  6. Remove the lobsters from the grill and serve with the rest of the smoked butter on the side. A lobster pick or metal skewer is handy for getting out all the small pieces of meat from the knuckles.

Smoked butter


Grill Smoke BBQ

As this will keep well in the fridge for several weeks, even improving in flavor, I recommend you smoke two packs of butter at a time. You’ll be surprised how quickly it gets used up!

Makes 500g (about 1lb)

Ingredients

  • You’ll also need a cold-smoking device and some wood chips
  • 500g (about 1lb) cold unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Set up the cold-smoking device in the barbecue with the wood chips and get it going.
  2. Dice the butter evenly and lay it out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Place the sheet on the rack in the barbecue, close the lid and vent and cold-smoke the butter for 1 hour. Transfer the butter to a container, cover and leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours before using.

 

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