Take your BBQ skills to a new level
and impress your friends with an outdoor gourmet feast
By Kerry Scambler
The emergence of the hooded barbecue complete with side burner has taken a whole new range of food options out and into the big outdoors. A full roast meal with starters and dessert can even be presented from the now not so humble barbie. With Peter Howard’s BBQ Collection there’s plenty of inspiration to move your barbecue skills up a notch or two.
What is better than gathering around the barbecue with family and friends, glass in hand, chatting and enjoying the cooking aromas wafting through the air? But it's no longer the smell of charcoal pork bangers, singed chops and overcooked prawns. Instead the sausages are cooked to perfection and accompanied by a blue cheese mayo and sweet corn potato cakes. The chops are have morphed into a pepper crusted lamb rump with lentil, sugar snap peas and chervil salad. The prawns come with fresh asparagus and mint hollandaise and all cooked on a barbecue with not a skerrick of charcoal in sight.
All this might seem a little daunting for those of us more used to just cooking the meat on the barbie and serving up with basic salads and bread rolls so Peter Howard has come to the rescue with his BBQ Collection. It's a combination of the best from his previous three similarly themed books – Barbecued!, Licensed to Grill and Barbecue Seafood. With these successful publications behind him, you can be assured he’s a master of the tongs and knows well what just can be achieved on the old gas fired barbie.
In fact with a roasting hood and side burner (which also caters for wok cooking), it was thought the only thing not able to be cooked on the barbecue was a soufflé. Well Peter Howard’s even managed to make that look achievable as well!
BBQ Collection starts with a handy roasting chart along with the 10 laws of the barbecue including some on cleanliness, the importance of preparation, a plea not "mask the flavours of your ingredients with too many additions” and my favourite - “he or she who holds the tongs rules the barbie”. Or perhaps this might be amended to "whoever has Peter Howard's book rules the barbie"?
The book covers a big range of starters, seafood, meat and poultry mains, salads and even desserts with an array of required skill level and preparation time. There's the usual meat, poultry and seafood selections but with some interesting additions including quail and rack of goat. The salad and vegetable recipes give you plenty of vegetarian and accompaniment options and they are all good enough as meals in themselves.
A few of the recipes use commercially made additions which help reduce the preparation time but can also give a twinge of disappointment. An example is the ocean trout brochettes with satay dipping sauce. Now I love satay and eagerly looked for Peter's recipe only to feel a little let down when the ingredients listed "1/2 cup satay sauce", presumably commercially made as there are no recipes I could find in the book for it. Still, there's a myriad of recipes around along with plenty of tasty commercial sauces so it's more an observation than a fault.
Our next barbecue will certainly have some special additions to the usual menu. Start small I think, perhaps with the bacon chilli jam and peanut butter rolls just because they sound interesting, then throw some fresh Tasmanian seafood in, some of those tasty vegie dishes and see just who rules the barbecue. If that's successful, then it might time to test souffle and really put the skills on the line. Mmm, perhaps not - better to try out a few more of Peter's recipes first then move up to the outdoor souffle is a more advisable plan!
So if you'd like some inspiration for your next barbecue, try Peter Howard's BBQ Collection, you're sure to find something to impress your guests. Oh, and whatever you choose for your menu remember - check the gas first...
PS: for some suggestions on which boutique beers to try with your new found gourmet BBQ, the current issue of Beer and Brewer has a good list as well as an article on how to have your entire Christmas lunch, including pudding, served from the hooded wonder (with a suitable beer match of course!).
Peter Howard's BBQ Collection is published by New Holland - RRP A$50.00.
VisitVineyards.com and Winepros Archive subscribers and Members can buy Peter Howard's BBQ Collection from our book partners Seekbooks at 12.5% discount (plus postage).
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