Barbecue 13: Unlucky for some…

…well, I had to call it that, didn’t I?

Just a simple one, this: we went for a couple of good meat dishes on the barbecue, and learned important things about the fuel you should use with a charcoal chimney.


Sunny, the end of another warm day. Sometimes I think I only write this part of each post to show off my twilight-picture-taking skills…

Mmm, spicy beef...


We had some minced beef left over, and some sausages in the freezer from earlier barbecues. That led rather conveniently to Spicy Beef Burgers and sausages. Not much to it, but hey, it still counts 😉

However, I have a cautionary tale! We used some of the lumpwood charcoal we’ve accumulated over the years with our charcoal chimney. Not recommended! On the good side, it works really well with newspaper, sets fire almost instantly and is ready to cook with quicker than briquettes. But… it’s rubbish. It lasts nowhere near as long as briquettes, and (more importantly) it falls through the cone grate in the chimney, meaning a good heat can’t be sustained (and also meaning if you have to light a second batch over on your patio, you need a spade to carry the coals over. Nightmare.

So, a word to the wise: use briquettes if you have a charcoal chimney!

Caribbean Chicken Kebabs

Okay, so I cheat a little in this recipe. It so happens that Levi Roots‘ Reggae-Reggae sauce is (to use his words) fabulocious. It works really well as a marinade, which is quite convenient for this recipe!

Kebabs. Uncooked. Cook before eating.


  • 500g pack of diced chicken, or chicken breasts cut into 2-3cm dice

  • Marinade:

  • 1tsp harissa paste
  • 1tbsp dry white wine (believe me, it works!)
  • 1tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • Half a large red chilli, finely chopped
  • Two cloves of garlic, and 1cm of ginger, crushed/grated
  • 2-3 tablespoons Reggae Reggae Sauce
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • Zest and juice of one lime

  • Other kebab ingredients:

  • Pack of Cherry tomatoes
  • One onion, chopped into chunks
  • A bell pepper, chopped into chunks


Most of the ingredients above form a marinade for the chicken. Simply combine all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl, and add the cubed chicken to it. Leave covered in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The lime juice should cook the chicken slightly, so it will get paler.

Thread and alternate chicken, cherry tomato, bell pepper and onion onto pre-soaked bamboo skewers. Note that if there’s an ingredient you’d prefer (okra might work), go for it. Aim for 3 pieces of chicken at least on each kebab, and pack quite tightly.

When you’re done, use a silicon brush to paint the remaining marinade over the kebabs. Barbecue for around 8 minutes, turning a couple of times. They’re really rather good when cooked, and go well with my Mango Salsa!

Jamaican Pork Burgers

Again with the Caribbean theme! These spicy little beggers are fantastic with my mango salsa, or with a dollop of yoghurt, or maybe just some extra hot sauce, if you’re nuts.

It's fabulocious, mon! (Note: not fabulocious when raw) (Ignore the kebabs)


Serves four hungry people

  • 500g/1lb of pork mince
  • Zest and juice of a lime
  • 1tsp of fresh thyme and oregano, chopped finely
  • 1/2tsp ground allspice
  • 1tsp harissa paste. Harissa is a chilli paste, typically Moroccan. But hey, it really works.
  • Two cloves of garlic, crushed
  • One large red chilli, chopped finely
  • 1tsp crushed chilli flakes
  • 2tsp grated ginger root
  • 1tsp salt, and pepper to taste


Ad with an 'action shot' of my Jamaican Pork Burgers.

Again pretty simple – combine the ingredients, and mix well. You may find that the lime juice makes the mixture a little wet – if so, add breadcrumbs. Divide the mixture into four, form a ball from each part, and compress the ball to give you a burger. These are four fairly hefty burgers, so you could potentially make five.

Spicy and fantastic with a cold beer (substitute Red Stripe, or other Caribbean beers!)

Caribbean Mango Salsa

Stemming from the recent Caribbean Barbecue we tried out, this mango salsa is a fantastic accompaniment for any Jamaican food, and goes particularly well with pork, chicken and oily fish.


  • One ripe mango, peeled, stoned and cut into 2cm cubes
  • Half a red onion, chopped finely
  • Juice and zest of a lime
  • Half a large red chilli, very finely chopped
  • Half a red bell pepper, chopped roughly
  • A centimetre or so of ginger root, grated or chopped finely. I wouldn’t recommend using powdered ginger!
  • A handful each of coriander and garden mint, chopped finely
  • Caster or demarara sugar, to taste

Mango Salsa. Ohhh yeah.


This one couldn’t be much easier – combine in a bowl! Put the lime juice in with the sugar (perhaps stir them first). It’s important that you leave the salsa to make friends with itself in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.

All comments suggest that this really is a nice accompaniment to spicy food. You’ll be surprised how well the mint and coriander work with the mango. Go try it.

Spicy Beef Burgers

It’s recipe time. This one was really a spur of the moment thing: we had some minced beef; MattBurgers had already been done at MattFest, and I fancied something different. This is a slight twist on my Indian Turkey Burgers, removing a little of the rawness of the onion by pre-cooking a few of the ingredients. So, you’ll need:


  • One pack of minced beef (1lb/500g). As I’ve said before, don’t get stuff that’s too lean – you need the fat to keep the burgers juicy.
  • Half a yellow bell pepper, chopped quite small
  • Half a large red chilli, chopped very finely
  • Two cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Half a red onion, chopped quite small
  • 1tsp medium chilli powder, 1/2tsp ground cumin, 1tsp garam masala, 1tsp ground coriander
  • 1tsp each of nigella (black onion) seeds and black mustard seeds, ground
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Quite a list, as usual for my spiced stuff. You could substitute a few of the spices for a good curry powder (note: not chilli powder), but if you do it my way, you can control quantities to your liking.


Fried onion, garlic, pepper and chilli
Begin by frying the onions, pepper, chilli and garlic on a medium heat until softened (about 3 minutes, stirring frequently). Add the ground nigella seeds and mustard seeds and cook for another couple of minutes.

When done, tip onto a plate, or such, and leave to cool almost completely (see above left). Once cool, the recipe is pretty simple! Combine the rest of the spices with the meat and the fried onions and pepper. If the mixture is too wet, add some breadcrumbs. You shouldn’t need an egg, as the oil used to fry the onions will moisten the mixture to begin with.

Mmm, spicy beef... ignore the sausages
Grill as usual (around 5 minutes per side) on the barbecue. Delicious!

Barbecue 12 – May 26th (I think?), and an honorary 12.5th

I’m afraid it’s been a while since my last post. Not only that, but it’s been a while since this barbecue too – so much so that I don’t remember exactly when it was. Good job I have pictorial evidence, eh? We used up the rest of our first bag of proper briquettes for this in the chimney (still awesome).



Warm and sunny, at the end of a long day. I note that I’ve yet to barbecue in heavy rain yet…

Salmon and Chicken with Peri-Peri rub


Quite low in volume! Plenty of salad and my very tasty couscous (recipe available upon request ;), but you’re not here for the low-fat stuff, are you? The food we actually cooked was pretty simple – some salmon steaks, rubbed with oil and cooked as usual, and some chicken legs. I used up the rest of the peri-peri rub I’d acquired (I’ve resolved to come up with a recipe for that, too), and we were done. You don’t need me to tell you it was nice.

That rub really goes with anything...

Honorary Barbecue 12.5

While I was away over the past weekend, Gem held a barbecue for the family in my absence. I was tempted to count it… but I’m not sure if she took pictures. If so, I’ll try to acquire them :)