Nothing says summer like the unmistakable scent of barbecues lighting up across the country! But if you’re in London you might not have to fire up the Barbie at all this year, there are so many incredible BBQ joints to choose from. We’ve picked ten of our favourites, and ten great BBQ tips to go with them.
The Grilling Greek
Street food specialist The Grilling Greek realised there was souvlaki deficit in London, this cheerfully patriotic van is here to recify that. Try pitta packed with chicken, halloumi or juicy pork. We love the triple cooked chips with feta too.
Morada Brindisa Asado
Rupert St W1
A sibling of the hip Tapas Brindisa group, this Piccadilly Spanish branches out with a focus on the Castilian tradition of roasting meats in a wood‑fired oven (asador).
Our Top BBQ Tips:
Light the barbecue before the guests arrive
Even have some grilling under way – maybe just a few bites. At the very least, your guests will arrive to the tantalising smell of the debris burning off the barbecue grills.
Be en place
The chef’s term for having everything in place ready to go. Get marinating the day before and prepare everything to as advanced a state as you can. This will leave you with less washing-up and more time to set up drinks and create the party atmosphere on the day.
Stay with your barbecue
Stay for as long as you are grilling, for the best results and for safety’s sake. You won’t get lonely. Chefs never do. There are always a handful of – invariably male – guests who huddle around giving their chefs advice. Barbecuing is theatre.
Seasoning is often neglected. This is one of the first lessons any chef learns. Only add salt to a marinade if you are marinating for no more than 2 hours. Pepper is fine overnight, but salt never. Always season with salt just before barbecuing and don’t be afraid to season well. Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon, will just fall off through the barbecue grill. Either blitz Maldon in your spice grinder, or use fine sea salt.
Lose fridge chill
Always give enough time out of the fridge, at least 20 minutes, for raw barbecue dishes to lose their chill and to be approaching room temperature. If the meat, chicken, fish or vegetable is too cold in the centre, the outside may well burn before the inside is cooked.
Temperature control during grilling
Control the proximity of the food to the coals. If you can, use a rack system with three different heights and moveable grills and hinged sandwich racks. If not, shuffle your grilling food around from hot patches to cooler parts of the rack, or place the food on foil to slow things down.
Test for ‘doneness’
Using a small sharp knife, cut into the centre of the meat (down to the bone if there is one), to check that the flesh is cooked and juices are running clear. For flaky fish, such as salmon, press the flesh with your finger or a fork to check that the flakes come apart, indicating that it is ready.
Rest the meat
Resting meats after barbecuing is as essential a part of the barbecuing process as any other. If you were to eat a steak directly off the barbecue, it would be tough and juices would flow out the moment you prodded it with your steak knife. Leaving it to rest for a few minutes allows the meat sinews to reabsorb the juices. Rest the meat on a warmed tray on the top rack or away from the direct heat covered with perforated foil.
Marinate overnight whenever possible for maximum flavour (unless stated otherwise in the recipe).
All set? Good, then you’re ready to turn up the heat …!