*Drumroll please…* Barbecue 30: September 11!


There were some doubters. Some nay-sayers. But today, my friends, a victory for the small-time griller. Myself, Gemma and Rosie have achieved our 30-barbecue target, and all by September 11 (yes yes, I know it’s September 25 October 2 – so sorry! – as you read this). For the last barbecue of the year, we invited round all of our local friends (I think about 15 people. And we have a small house). Being an evening, we were battling with the light (as well as the weather – see barbecue 29, earlier in the day). In fact, most of the actual cooking was done in the dark! But that’s what a camera with a flash is for, right?

Weather

Challenging! The dark was settling in by the time most of the cooking was in progress, but, this being a special barbecue, I had been using the grill since about 4pm. At that time, there was rather a lot of rain and cloud, leading to drastic measures (see right)! Nevertheless, not to be defeated, we persevered – how could we fall at the last hurdle? At least it was dry for the evening cooking, if a little cold.

Food

Given the huge number of guests, we cooked rather a lot (and had rather little left over – my kind of barbecue). I introduced a new recipe (more on that soon), but decided to cook a few of the things that have been most popular over the past six months. (Six months? Bloody hell). We also went for an alternative cooking strategy – knowing that people like to eat as soon as they arrive, I started the barbecue with indirect coals (i.e., on the sides) at about 4pm. Once ready, I slow-roasted my amazing Dry Rubbed Pork Shoulder. A big (2kg) joint of meat like this needed a good three hours of roasting until perfectly done.

Once 7pm came around, I topped up the barbecue with more coal, and even filled a specially bought bucket barbecue just for Sam, our vegetarian (don’t let it be said that I don’t have a heart somewhere). Turns out that was much better than a disposable thing – money well spent.

Aaaanyway. On the menu for the evening were:

    Something for the meat-eaters...
  • a sort of cross between MattBurgers and American Stuffed Cheeseburgers, which were very popular, and very quickly demolished
  • a number of other burgers we’ve had in the freezer and wanted to get rid of, including beef and jalapeño chilli burgers, pork, red pepper and coriander burgers and plain old beef burgers
  • some good quality pork sausages and pork and apple sausages
  • my awesome (and quite spicy) Steak Fajitas (which I should have made more of)
  • some corn on the cob, and…
  • what barbecue would be complete without my guacamole with nachos and sour cream?

...and something for the veggies!
That’s a lot of food, folks! Just about enough for fifteen people, when combined with Gemma‘s very delicious banoffee pie.

We went on long into the night. Much beer was consumed, hence the slightly blurred photos (also due to the low light – sheesh, the problems with barbecuing in Autumn)! As a final barbecue, it was a fitting tribute to what has been an enjoyable, and enlightening experience.

That’s Your Lot…

Well, that’s it. 30 barbecues done, as promised. 27 recipes uploaded, and some lovely comments from you, the readers, about both. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this blog – it makes having written it worthwhile when I receive a nice comment. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading as much as I’ve enjoyed writing.

Stay tuned for a special edition Bearded Barbecuer post sometime in the near future… and maybe we’ll be back with another challenge next year? Until then, see you on twitter!

Cheers,
Matt :)

Guacamole

I’ve seen a lot of guacamole recipes. I’ve bought a lot of guacamole, and the shop stuff pretty much universally sucks. Too much like wallpaper paste, not enough lime, unripe avocado… I don’t know. But for whatever reason, if you don’t like guacamole, you should try this and be converted. Whenever I make this for other people, they love it.

Ingredients

  • Two ripe Hass Avocados. They’re
    Do you see the difference? Do you? Good.
    Hass avocadoes (left). Not green avocadoes (right).

    more expensive (but supermarkets tend to reduce them at the time when they’re perfectly ripe – sneaky… heh heh) than the paler green avocados in some shops now (see right). They’re just the best for guacamole – they ripen well, and they have good flavour. The avocados should have give in them if you press the outside. Hard avocados do not make good guacamole.

  • The flesh of One medium-sized tomato. Take the skin off if you want; I don’t bother.
  • Half a red onion, finely chopped
  • One or two cloves of garlic, crushed using 1tsp rock salt. Alter to taste.
  • The juice of one lime
  • 1/2tsp cumin
  • A good handful of coriander (cilantro), chopped roughly

Recipe

Actually making this stuff is child’s play. Take your ripe avocados, cut them vertically in half, around the stone. Carefully use your knife to take out the stone in the middle. Use a soup spoon/desert spoon to scoop out the flesh. If the avocado is ripe enough, this will be easy to do in one go, by getting the spoon in between the flesh and the tough skin.

Put all of the avocado into a shallow bowl, and, using a fork, mash it quite roughly. Squeeze about half of the lime juice over, and mix (it prevents the avocado discolouring).

Mmm, guacamole.
Guacamole. Or should that be Guaca-matt-le? No, definitely the former.

Now, add your chopped tomato, onion, crushed garlic, cumin and coriander. Mix well, and taste. Add salt or pepper to your taste, and more lime juice if necessary. Garnish with a sprig of coriander, and you’re done! Almost too easy to be a recipe, eh?

Enjoy this? Let me know in the comments.