BBQ, or braai as it’s called in my native South Africa, is most definitely one of my favorite ways to pass an afternoon. It doesn’t bother me what the weather’s doing – as long as the rain is not strong enough to actually extinguish the flames – no problem, i’m up for it!
It goes without saying – BBQ is all about the meat. So, let’s start there!
In my opinion, if you’re going to have a BBQ – HAVE A BBQ! I’m talking at least 3 meat dishes – never mind the sides! We’ll tackle those a little later.
Everybody loves a good steak. SO, let’s start there. First of all, you need to choose your meat. There are plenty of sites online that go into lots of detail, but here’s a real quick run-down of the important stuff, like what to consider when choosing your cut. Remember, some meats (most meats 🙂 ) taste better depending on how you cook them – so keep that in mind when you choose your meat. To keep things nice and simple, i’ve put together a little infographic… 🙂 Take a look!
One of my favorite steak recipes has to be a South African classic! This T-Bone steak South African Braai style is my absolute favorite – a dead on winner in anyone’s books! As Archbishop Tutu once pointed out, the T–Bone even looks like my home continent Africa!
If you ask me, a fantastic, juicy t-bone has to be the first star on your grill at any barbecue get together. Get your steak cut nice and thick, play around with your dry rub (you know what you like), be patient, but don’t over cook that baby – and you’re guaranteed something spectacular!
The next staple for any barbecue has to be a great lamb chop. Lamb chops are my actual all-time favorite – better than steak if you ask me! But, you need to know how to do a lamb chop right, if you really want to enjoy it! The fat needs to be crispy, and the chop needs to be thick and juicy… Yum, Yum, Yum! There’s actually a secret to it – there’s a ‘hidden step’ that makes all the difference. You have to try it!
What’s a barbeque without a great barbecued chicken dish? This sticky apricot chicken thigh recipe is so fantastically easy – you just chuck all the ingredients into a bag and pop the whole lot into the fridge for an hour or two (over night if you prefer) – no mess, no clean up! Sweet, sticky chicken… yum, my kids love this one, and let’s be honest – i think most kids would too 😉 !
So, that’s the 3 mains covered. A delicious t-bone steak for the steak lover in the family, a lamb chop with the perfect crispy fat for those that like something a little different, and a glorious, sweet, sticky chicken thigh for the kids and everyone else – because they are just so darn good! Hhmmm… do we really even need sides? Well, okay…
I did promise you 3 top tips to help you wing the rest of it. The trick to getting sides right is actually quite easy. Most importantly, you need to remember to not stress – keep it simple – the meats are most definitely the stars of the show at any barbecue. Unless you have a vegetarian coming to dinner (in which case you’re definitely going to need a back-up plan), i’d say all you need to do is have one salad, one starch and one snack for people to nibble on before hand.
Top Tip #1 – The Snack
A barbecue snack should be simple – even [gasp!] shop bought. Think chips, olives, cheese, pretzels (the small, hard type, not the huge, soft ones :)), crackers, veggie crudites etc. Sure, by all means, go ahead and make your own dips and salsa – those SHOULD be homemade, they always tastes better fresh – but the rest, don’t stress. Just make sure you have enough snacks – running out is not great…
Top Tip #2 – The Salad
There are many different types of salads – green salads, potato salads, bean salads, creamy salads, pasta salads, fruity salads… the list goes on and on. I’d say pick one that you like (you’re doing all the hard work – so you should be the one that get to choose!) and go with that. Don’t be afraid to play around with shaved hard cheeses such as Parmesan or Grana Padano, nuts and seeds or dried berries. Remember – if you’re making a salad with a mayonnaise or creamy dressing, it needs to stay refrigerated until it’s to eat. And always dress your salad just before serving, otherwise the leaves are going to start wilting.
Top Tip #3 – The Starch
I know one of my girls would say that this is actually the best part of the barbecue – especially if we’re having a braai at Grandpa Mauritz’s house! Those ‘braai-broodjies’ (another South African classic) are legendary! Yes – the barbecue offers plenty of opportunities in the land of bread and potatoes too! Anything from garlic bread to baked potatoes, grilled corn, or toasted buns. All you need to do is wrap it up in tin-foil and chuck it in with the coals (baked potatoes) or drop it onto the grill (garlic bread) and the the heat do it’s thing. For the corn, i’d suggest par-boiling in the kitchen, then grilling it naked (the corn, not the barbecue chef – that’s just dangerous 😉 ) to get some of those beautiful grill marks before serving it up to your hungry guests. If you’re going with toasted buns – easy peasy, just lightly butter them and pop them on the grill for a few minutes just as everything is almost done. They should crisp up nicely and be yum yum delicious in no-time!
Do you have any barbecue tips you’d like to share with us? What’s your favorite barbecue recipe?
Please remember to share this post with all of your barbecue buddies, and let’s see how many great barbeque tips we can get together! 🙂