Barbecue 17: June 24

Hot off the heels of our June 23 barbecue, we cooked for Gem’s mum and sister this time. I even made some new beef burgers (I know, you’re excited)!

Yeah, yeah. It's hot, we know.

Weather

The usual gorgeous sunshine. Ah, the perils of barbecuing in summer. But wait – in Barbecue 18, there’s rain!

Food

Enough to feed a small army! But no complaints. We bought some lamb loin steaks from our usual orange-branded-supermarket-where-life-tastes-better, along with some chicken legs and thighs. The lamb can be cooked straight away on the barbecue, and took about six minutes per side for medium rare. Chicken with bones in, however, is a pain on the barbecue, as I’ve mentioned before. I’m willing to bet at least one person reading this has felt the ill-effects of undercooked chicken as a result. So, I’m always careful to precook chicken – I give it about 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees celsius in the oven. This is enough to colour it well, and cook it almost completely. Then it goes on the barbecue for about 8 minutes, turning once – that way, you get the charred meat and smoky flavour (nice), but you lose the salmonella (always good).

And of course, I couldn’t do a barbecue for other people without making some effort. So I came up with Italian Melting Mozzarella Burgers (hardly a genius flash of inspiration, but they tasted bostin’), which were very popular.

We rounded this off with our trademark cous-cous, guacamole (goes great with chicken) and salad. All in all, a really nice afternoon!

Cous-cous, guacamole, and... oh yeah. Great meats :)

Italian Melting Mozzarella Burgers

Feeling a little inspired for Barbecue 17, I came up with a new beef burger recipe. This would also work well with minced chicken. Give them a try.

Ingredients

  • 500g minced beef. Good quality stuff, but not too lean.
  • 2tsp each of chopped oregano and thyme
  • 1tbsp (small handful) chopped basil
  • One ball of mozzarella, preferably buffalo, but it doesn’t matter that much
  • Two cloves crushed garlic
  • Half a red onion, chopped finely
  • 2tsp breadcrumbs

Recipe

This one is a little more complex, but not much, I promise. Combine the minced beef with the chopped herbs, garlic and onions. Use your hands. Try to form burger balls out of the mix – if it’s too wet, add some of the breadcrumbs. As Ina Garten (TV chef extraordinaire) says, you can add all you want, but you can’t take away.

Mmmmm, mozzarella... delizioso!
Slice the mozzarella into cubes around half an inch in width. You could also use those rather cheap mozzarella pearls for this. Now for the science bit. Divide your burger mix into four. With each quarter, form a ball, then a flat burger shape. Now, press a cube of mozzarella into the middle, and shape the burger around the cheese. It’s quite important that you do this well – if the cheese is showing, it’ll just seep out when you cook the burger.

Cooking is as with normal burgers – 5 minutes per side. Slice one open and you’ll see what I mean – these are really something rather special. Buonissimo!