Most of us aspire to be masters of the BBQ during Summer – we are in Australia after all. But personally, I find most of Summer… well… just too hot to stand around a hotplate cooking heavy, meaty meals.
Autumn and Spring – now those are my BBQing dream seasons. And this Autumn, I’ve stumbled upon a pretty fab gadget to add to my BBQ toolkit. It is helping us get much more use out of our BBQ throughout the seasons – the Heat Beads® BBQ Chimney Booster.
This gadget is very new to the market and you’ll be able to get it from all major hardware and grocery retailers.
Who has hours to fire up charcoals, puff at them, smoke the place out and other such BBQing fails? Well you don’t need to migrate across the widely committed BBQ sin of choosing gas or electric. Because this BBQ dream team of using Briquettes with the Chimney Booster cuts out all the nonsense and gets you to your end game of real smokey BBQ tasting food much, much faster.
I’m talking firing up your BBQ in around 12 minutes instead of an hour or more. Plus these briquettes can be re-used, they distribute the heat in your BBQ more evenly and are cleaner and less dusty to use than lump charcoal.
What sorcery is this, you ask? Well here’s how it works.
This is your Chimney Booster which you put the firelighters on (and then the Chimney). It is battery operated and pushes the heat and airflow up the chimney to fire up the briquettes faster.
This is the BBQ Chimney with the Briquettes inside, sitting on the Chimney Booster.
After 12 minutes, your Briquettes are hot enough to put in the BBQ and you’re ready to start cooking.
So this is what I came up with:
Not bad for a weekday dinner huh?
This is home cooking, so I’m break it down into a formal recipe format. You’ll know how to bring it all together depending on the flavour combinations you like. So where I lack in formal measurements and methods, I make up for in useful tips for cutting down the prep and cooking times to creating an easy, delicious meal:
My preamble to what follows as a grossly carnivorous photo of The Walking Dead style lamb shank, is that while the inner core of me wants to be vegan, the rest of me settles for trying to be a responsible meat eater. So I try and source grass fed organic, free range, biodynamic meats. Not many butchers accommodate this, but Sam the Butcher does and I also really do taste the difference when their meats reach my plate.
Now back to the meal…
In my opinion, dairy is the best at tenderising meat. And if you’re going to cut down your BBQ light up time, then you may as well pre-marinate your meats and get them tenderised so that they can sizzle away in no time.
What I do is a tad unconventional – I score the shank (which is a tough cut usually suited to long braising times) quite deep so that the dairy can get right into the meat for tenderising.
Marinate the shanks in a thick dollop of sour cream with Dukkah, salt and smokey paprika mixed in. Then if you leave them in the fridge overnight, they will cook up super tender.
When you’re ready to cook them on the BBQ, put them directly on the heat for an hour, turning once half way. The Shank will be crispy and almost like crackling on the outside but juicy on the inside. Grrrrr!
Soak equal quantities of couscous and boiling water together for 5 minutes. Then squeeze lemon, add fresh mint and salt to taste before fluffing the couscous with a fork.
Dry roast a little of the dukkah mix to sprinkle on top of the couscous when plated.
This is essentially a baba ganoush, but smoother and creamier.
Cut up a large eggplant into big wedges. Rub with tumeric and olive oil (my mother says that this extracts some of the bitterness out of the eggplant). Set aside for 5 minutes and you’ll see some water pooling at the bottom of the dish which you can discard.
Then place directly on the BBQ grill for 10 minutes till the outside has charred.
Let them cool and the bitter skin will peel off easily. Then whizz up the eggplant with lemon juice, garlic cloves, salt, a small chilli, olive oil and to make the puree creamy, add natural yogurt.
This puree also makes a great dip.
And there you have it, an easy and healthy weekday meal that you can whip up easily with a pretty darn ingenious BBQ gadget.
Do you have a handy BBQ tip you’d like to share? If so, leave a comment below.
– Surangi xx