Here at Tenderstem® we’ve been researching the nation’s barbecue habits ahead of a summer of garden get-togethers. Are we a country of confident cooks or are we stuck in our ways when it comes to firing up the coals? We’ve got plenty barbecue tips and tricks to help you create a perfect barbecue this summer.
Barbecues are traditionally an occasion favoured by meat-lovers, and our research revealed that many of us can forget about portion control when it comes to barbecue favourites like sausages, burgers and kebabs, with almost 75% of us eating more than the recommended daily intake of 70g of red or processed meat at a barbie*. On average, hosts allow for a generous four portions of meat for each guest.
Our research also found that more than a fifth of people worried that if they were attending a barbecue at a friend or family member’s house, it would be unlikely that they would have a decent selection of veg and salad options as nearly half of us expect to be served mostly meat when attending a barbecue.
Cooking Vegetables on your BBQ
So, what can you do to make sure your barbecue get-togethers are varied, healthy and happy this summer? Take it to the next level with some delicious, colourful veggies! Cooking vegetables on the barbecue gives them a unique and delicious flavour and texture. It’s easier than you may think with our quick, simple and tasty Tenderstem® broccoli recipes.
We’ve teamed up with Genevieve Taylor, live fire and BBQ expert, to help curious cooks discover new things with their barbecue this summer. She has created three tasty recipes which are designed to upgrade your barbecue and add some green goodness to your summer get-togethers.
Impress your guests with a delicious zingy BBQ Tenderstem® broccoli and portobello mushrooms sharing salad with Thai-style dressing. This dish is the perfect combination of soft, meaty mushrooms with crunchy and herby fresh veg that will tantalise your tastebuds.
For a veggie sharer everyone can enjoy, serve the BBQ Tenderstem® broccoli, sun dried tomato and Dolcelatte bruschetta, the barbecued Tenderstem® broccoli and rich melty blue cheese are a perfect match!
Everyone loves halloumi at a barbie and these BBQ spiced Tenderstem® broccoli and halloumi kebabs are a real crowd pleaser and couldn’t be easier to make.
Genevieve has also compiled a list of top barbecue tips to help you boss your barbecue this summer. Check out Genevieve’s expert advice below and make your barbecues better this summer with Tenderstem® broccoli!
Making barbecues better with Tenderstem® – Genevieve Taylor’s tips for a successful barbecue
Genevieve Taylor is the author of eleven cookery books including the bestseller, Charred, a complete guide to vegetarian barbecue, The Ultimate Wood-fired Oven Cook book and How to Eat Outside. She has created these BBQ tips to help inspire those looking to level up this year’s barbecue and create feasts which are more nutritionally balanced and simple to prepare.
- Vegetables are my favourite things to barbecue. Whilst I do love to grill a little good meat, I think vegetables are a lot more exciting – think of all the different colours and textures you get with veg – from vibrant crunchy Tenderstem® broccoli, to dense, smoky mushrooms, soft grilled peppers or charred sweet corn. You can grill a rainbow!
- Vegetable grilling baskets or trays are brilliant for cooking small vegetables that might otherwise fall through the grill bars. They are made of metal with small perforations all over so they keep food contained but allow the smoky goodness to get through to add bags of flavour. They are easily available online.
- It’s good to consider the different cooking requirements of different veg, so if you are making a kebab it’s great to choose things that all cook at similar rates. So cherry tomatoes and halved Tenderstem® broccoli work brilliantly together because they both cook quickly, but aubergine cubes and courgette discs are better grilled on separate skewers and mixed together after grilling.
- On the subject of kebabs, I always recommend buying a set of metal ones – you can find them very cheaply, they last forever and because they are metal, they will actually help conduct the heat through to the centre of your food, so cooking is more efficient. They also never ever burn unlike the wooden ones which always will, no matter how long you soak them in water for beforehand. Try these BBQ spiced Tenderstem® broccoli and halloumi kebabs, a great recipe to create more exciting kebabs for your BBQ.
- The key to making grilling straightforward is to be a little bit ‘boy scout’ about it. The more you can prep ahead inside – lining up ingredients, doing all the chopping, mixing up dressings – the easier it will be when you get outside. Tenderstem® broccoli is a great option for your BBQ as it requires no prep and can go straight from the bag to the grill with zero waste!
- There are two main ways to cook on a barbecue - either direct (where your cook directly over the fire) and indirect (where you cook more gently off to the side of the fire). A general rule is the longer something takes to cook, the more indirectly you should cook it. Tenderstem® broccoli grills super quick, so you can cook over a high direct heat. Whereas chicken thighs need much longer to cook though to the centre, so you will need to cook them to one side of the fire so they grill indirectly.
- Take pots, frying pans and baking sheets to your grill. You then increase the versatility of your barbecue, allowing you to not only grill food but to simmer sauces or bastes, fry eggs or even make pancakes. You can use anything from your kitchen on the barbecue as long as it has no wooden or plastic handles or a non-stick coating. I’m a fan of cheap and cheerful enamel tins.
- Your fuel is your number one ingredient, good fuel will make for good barbecue. With good quality sustainable British lump wood charcoal, you don’t need to wait until all the coals are white and ashy all over because there are no additives that need burning off. Cheap fuel is often packed full of chemical additives and invariably comes from tropical hardwood sources. My favourite fuel is made by Whittle and Flame from wood sustainably harvested in Oxfordshire, as it burns very pure and clean and allows my food to shine. You can buy it online.
- With really pure, chemical-free charcoal, you can even cook directly on the coals! Tenderstem® broccoli is a zero waste veg, you can use it straight from the pack with no chopping or prep necessary. Simply drizzle with a tiny bit of oil and lay on really hot coals, turning it for a few minutes to lightly char.
- If the weather fails you, all three of my Tenderstem® broccoli recipes can be successfully cooked on a griddle pan on the hob, although you may need to cook in a few of batches if your pan is on the small side. And it’s always good to remember, just because you cook outside doesn’t necessarily mean you need to eat outside!
* Department of Health advises that you cut down to 70g, which is the average daily consumption in the UK.