Some simple sizzling ideas and recipes from Swindon's Mr Sausage, Andy Crump
The sound of the sizzle pretty much summing up what a barby is all about - good food, fun, friends and the joy of the outdoors.
So who better to advice us on the what makes a banger the BBQ essential item than Swindon's Mr Sausage himself, Andy Crump.
Royal Bassett Bangers
And best of all, my job couldn't be better for coming up with all the ingredients that make my customer's barbecues something really special. So much so that we've dedicated a whole department of Crump Butchers to the art of barbecuing and now offer over 30 unique products and sausage varities especially for throwing on the hot coals at this time of year.
As the producer of the famous 'Bassett Banger', sausages mean a lot to me! They really are the essential barbecue food, and here are a few tips on how to get the most out of barbecuing yours.
Choose Good Quality
Poor quality sausages have too high a fat content to be good for barbecuing. Once they start to heat up the fat starts to ooze out all over the hot charcoal causing no end of flame flashes, smoke and problems, not to mention a sausage that doesn't taste half as good as it should do when it's finally cooked.
Your best bet is always a sausage that has at least 70% meat content that will grill perfectly without shrinking in size and taste exactly as it should do.
And because sausages come in all sorts of flavours these days from the traditional pork and leek to venison, and even beef curry, you're spoilt for choice.
Don't Prick Them
Although you may have been told to prick your sausages while cooking them - don't! Not only for the reasons given above regarding flare-ups, but sausages cook better in their own fat; it adds to the flavour and is an integral part of what makes a good quality sausage taste even better.
Pre-Cook For Big Parties
It can be difficult to stop sausages burning on the grill if you've got a lot to cook. To avoid this, I would always recommend part-cooking them first and then heating them on the barby to finish them off.
Another essential ingredient of a successful barbecue, and tasting nothing like what you find in a fast-food outlet or late at night from a van! Once again a good quality burger is vital. Homemade is far superior to mass produced from the supermarket, so if you haven't tried them yet, make the effort next time the barbecue comes out.
But Don't Fiddle With Them!
My most important piece of advice - and this is crucial - is don't fiddle too much with your burgers when cooking them! How many times have you tasted a dried-out burger that more resembles a piece of cardboard than a hot treat? Too many times, I'll guess. And all caused by the head chef incessantly playing with it, turning it over, mashing it down with tongs or, worse still, losing moisture by jabbing the meat with a big fork!
Instead of helping the cooking process, all this sort of fooling around has precisely the reverse effect. Just let the burger (or steak fillett, lamb chop for that matter) spend its last moments on this earth cooking in peace. This way the heat penetrates right through, yet not too much moisture is lost.
Minted Lamb Fillets:
After serving a good sausage or two and a nice a juicy burger, your guests will love the next item on the menu (and my favourite) - marinated mint lamb fillets.
That's the great thing about marinating meat and then beautifully slow cooking it on a barbeque -it's full of so many flavours!
Minted lamb may be my favourite, but steak, chicken and pork are also made deliciously tender and full of extra taste when marinated and can be made to taste exactly how you want it to taste. We've produced so many different flavours by experimenting with different types of marinade and I'd encourage everyone to try it.
You don't have to stick to a set recipe, but try the things you like - you really might surprise yourself and your guests!
Best served, of course, with new potatoes.
While we're on the subject of marinating, I thought I'd introduce the final meat ingredient of my perfect outdoor meal - beef kebabs.
This recipe is very simple and comes highly recommended.
Beef Kebabs With Mushroom - makes 14 kebabs
You will need:
2 lb lean, tender beef, such as fillet, porterhouse or rump
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
3 tbsp olive oil
1/3 glass of red wine
Freshly ground black pepper
1 red capsicum
16 (approx 200g) button mushrooms V14 skewers (pre soaked in water)
And follow these 10 easy steps!
Cut beef into 2cm chunks.
Mix mustard, rosemary, oil, red wine, and pepper together.
Marinate beef for 1 hour, in the refrigerator.
Cut capsicum in half, remove seeds and dice to 2cm (¾ inch).
Wipe mushrooms clean and cut in half.
Drain excess marinade.
Thread ingredients onto skewers.
Use remaining marinade for basting during cooking.
Place kebabs on oiled barbecue grill.
Cook for 12 minutes, turning 3-4 times.
And The Other Ingredients?
Fresh Crusty Bread
For burgers and sausages, nothing beats fresh bread with a little bit of butter. A sliced loaf will do (as long as it's fresh), but bread straight from a baker beats it everytime.
A summer barbecue wouldn't be the same without potato salad. Make an effort if you can with quality potatoes like Jersey Royals, and always serve warm - even on a hot day!
Range of Relishes
The marinated meat will have a flavour all of its own, but sauces and relishes are essential for burgers and steaks.
Nice and simple! Penne or any chunky pasta will do. I like a light pesto dressing and its done.
What a great way to end the evening! Apples or pears will do, peeled and cored, sprinkled with sugar and a little lemon juice and skewered - and then barbecued very lightly until the fruit has softened and the sugar has caramellised. Wonderful!
Not my department, I'm afraid. I'll leave that to Brian!
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