10 steps to that perfect barbecue
Derry Clarke is giving barbecue masterclasses at taste of Dublin and he shares his tips with Katie Byrne
June really is the month where our thoughts turn to eating outdoors. So I joined Derry and Sally-Anne Clarke for a barbecue in their home ahead of his babecue masterclasses at Taste of Dublin in the Iveagh Gardens this weekend. Here are their top 10 tips:
1Ask yourself what was the best barbecue you were ever at, what you enjoyed about it and what can you incorporate into your own party? From here, decide on numbers of guests and a budget. Make a list of everything that you think you'll need.
2 The usual barbecue fare is burgers, sausages, steak and chicken. However, it is better to have great burgers and sausages than poor quality steaks. Your local butcher can advise you as to what is suitable and what is the best value. They'll also prepare the meat for you too, if you ask nicely!
3 If you are using a marinade, do not leave the meat in it for more than the recommended time. Sometimes marinades can overpower the taste of the meats. So follow instructions when it comes to preparation time.
4 Keep things as simple as possible. Have three salads maximum -- one tossed leaves, one coleslaw and another popular choice. Potatoes can be done in a salad, or par-boiled and then wrapped in tinfoil and put on the barbecue to finish --these are delicious with some butter, salt and pepper.
5 Try and have as much prepared in advance as possible -- salads, desserts, breads, meats, etc and keep them all in the fridge until you are ready to use them. Have your relishes, cheese, etc, ready for people to help themselves.
6 Have your table set in advance, or else have everything on a side table where people can help themselves. It sounds obvious, but the more preparation you do beforehand, the more you can relax and enjoy the day. If you are relaxed, your guests will be, too.
7 Get several square and round plastic pots and fill them with beers, wines, etc, and then pack them with ice. These should be easily accessible for your guests. Again, if they are looking after themselves, they will be relaxed. Use plastic where possible to avoid glass breakages -- especially if you are having children as your guests.
8 Bubbles are a lovely way to start any party, and if your budget does not stretch to Champagne, there are wonderful proseccos, cavas and sparkling wines available at the moment -- personally I love the pink versions. Even the humble Lambrusco is available for under €3 a bottle (and this is low in alcohol, too). The new West Coast Cooler range is really well suited to warm weather and only 4pc alcohol. Also, there are an infinite supply of light beers, ciders, etc, for an afternoon barbecue. Check out your local wine shop and supermarket offers.
9 Remember to always cook your meat through on the barbecue -- no pink in the middle of the burgers or chicken. Steak is the only exception here.
10 Be safe. Do not consume foods left out in the heat more than 90 minutes. Keep food refrigerated. Do not re-heat foods already cooked and left out for more than 90 minutes -- visit safefood.ie for further information.
This weekend chef Derry Clarke and craft butcher Michael Bermingham are hosting a barbecue masterclass at Taste of Dublin in the Iveagh Gardens, every day, several times a day, where they'll be showing attendees how to get the knack of their outdoor grills during the summer months, see www.tasteofireland.ie for tickets. The Derry Clarke Kitchen range by Grazerfield is available from SuperValu, Harvey Nichols, Avoca, Wilde & Green, Fallon & Byrne and good food stores.