Can you feel it? We mean, can you really feel it? Go on, step outside and soak it up. That’s right, it’s happened – we’ve reached peak Dubai weather for just about everything. Head to brunch on that sun-drenched rooftop? Sure. Take a trip to the beach to paddleboard with pals? Why not. Have a five-a-side in the open air? Finally. But the crowning moment of the glorious not-too-hot, not-too-cold climate is taking your position as resident pitmaster around a beas of a barbecue. Get ready, the city air is about to be permeated with the aroma of charred meats. But hosting an outdoor grilling session comes with a lot of bravado, from bragging about how you threw together the perfect dry rub on chef’s instinct (read: stole the recipe from Jamie Oliver’s The BBQ Recipe Book) to accepting compliments on those chicken wings you know you bought pre-marinated. But not this year. With the help of the best in the business, from chefs to equipment, here’s what you need to know to barbecue like a baws.
Raise the steaks
Who better to tell you how to get that thick cut cooked right than the experts at Perry & Blackwelder’s? The American barbecue joint takes inspiration from the Deep South, and is one of the original smokehouses in Dubai.
Gregory Keith Cordice, chef de cuisine at the restaurant and bar explains: “Here we combine the elements of earth, wind and fire to bring you the best ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ barbecued beef brisket.
A brisket is not really known to be the tenderest cut of beef, but when handled correctly it can be equally enjoyable as any premium cut. The trick is to combine the right blend of herbs and spices and marinate the meat in advance. This ensures the flavours are popping through and through.”
Recipe: brisket steaks
Ingredients: Best cut brisket, 200ml olive oil, 30g cajun spice rub, 20g sea salt, 5g smoked paprika, Cajun brisket rub, 3g fresh thyme and 5g cracked black pepper.
Gregory recommends: Start by making the perfect marinade so it’s ready to be applied at least four hours before cooking – simply mix together all the listed ingredients. Having removed most of the fat from the brisket, pat dry with a paper towel and leave for as long as possible. I would recommend cooking it in the oven first for about four to six hours, but my key to the best BBQ brisket is to let it cook overnight. Then slice it into smaller strips (about 3cm thick) to ensure quick flash cooking. When it’s time to crack on with the barbecue, try to set up your charcoal on one side of the grill to allow for a cooler section that will let your meat rest after being flame-grilled. Allowing it to rest is very vital for cooking a tender, juicy brisket. Cook your steak for a total of four minutes on each side, but flip it over after every one minute or so and baste it with melted butter. Then leave
it to sit on the cooler side of the grill for a minimum of four minutes before serving.
Is this the barbecue underdog? Maybe so. With battered and deep-fried being among the more common ways we find ourselves scarfing chicken, outdoor grilling sessions have some serious competition. That’s where the head chef at Greek restaurant Ammos, Lazarou Dimitri, comes in.
“The key to any good barbecue is getting the marinade process right. That and ensuring that the meat is tenderised and soaks in all the flavours before it’s cooked.
I recommend marinating chicken for at least 24 hours to get the perfect flavour and texture. When cooking at home, it’s also important to ensure your entire grill is thoroughly clean and the right amount of charcoal is used.
“At Ammos, both olive tree wood and charcoal are used in the grilling process. Using olive tree wood to cook meat is a Greek process called Ofto. The heat and flames from the fire cook the meat and give it an irresistible smoky aroma and taste. A great barbecue can never be rushed and is a product of patience, timing and the right ingredients.”
Recipe: chicken wings
Ingredients: 500g chicken wings, 50g fried garlic, 30g fried rosemary, 20g cumin, 150g honey, 350g Dijon mustard, 40g soy sauce, 60g balsamic vinegar, 20g lemon zest, 60g lemon juice, 350g olive oil.
Lazarou recommends: Start by creating an irresistible marinade long before your guests arrive. Mix the mustard with honey and slowly whisk in the soy sauce and vinegar. Crush and ground all the spices in a mortar and make a powder, adding into the liquid to create a paste. Top it off with some lemon zest. Marinate the chicken for over 24 hours to tenderise the meat and let all the flavours soak in. When it comes to cooking, place on the grill for 20 to 30 minutes, regularly brushing with the marinade and turning to brown.
Off the rack
It’s as if ribs were exclusively designed to be consumed after being grilled to perfection. Hence why it’s a shame then that so many people still get them oh-so-wrong. Fret not, the carnivorous kings at The Blacksmith have stepped in to save your barbecued ribs forever.Orelle C. Young, chef de cuisine and pitmaster at the smokehouse says “At The Blacksmith we take pride in our lamb ribs that are grilled and glazed to order. And in my opinion, lamb ribs are the tastiest, easiest, and quickest ribs to prepare at home with an oven, finishing off on the grill. But the same advice (and recipe) goes for other meats, too.
When making ribs for a barbecue, your choice of dry rub is very important. I find a coarse savory rub complements lamb rack, while the sugar in a sweet rub may burn the surface of the meat given the size and the cook time required when going DIY. Just remember to always start with a ground salt and pepper blend and then be inventive.”
Recipe: Lamb ribs
Ingredients: 300g-350g rack of ribs, 100g black pepper, 40g coarse sea salt, 10g paprika, 10g onion powder and 10g garlic powder
Orelle recommends: If you don’t have a smoker; at home pre-heat your oven to 150°C. This is ideal for the 2-2.5 hour cook time for your full lamb rib racks. For this, don’t trim the fat and apply your coarse homemade mix evenly over the meat. As it cooks, the fat begins to soften and embrace the spices you have applied. The end result will be deep golden brown bark with the bones ever-so-slightly protruding. Rest and chill the racks immediately after cooking to congeal and lock in the juices. Once chilled and firm, slice the rack evenly along the bones. Each rack will produce 6-7 uniform ribs. Now you are able to individually grill however many your heart desires right before serving. If you’re feeling fancy, you can grill the ribs until bold lines are present; remove and sauce them; and flash them back on the grill to caramelize the sauce.
Barbecues by budget
Weber Genesis II S340 3-Burner Gas Grill
Why: Only serious grillmasters need apply. This a statement investment that shows you don’t mess about when it comes to your meats. With a large grill surface area of 669 square inches, it promises to cook up big portions quickly, offering even heat distribution thanks to the side burners. And, let’s be honest, it looks seriously impressive.
Why: The name alone is nearly enough to win us over, but there is much more on offer here than a galactic moniker. The perfectly compacted design means it can be stored inside and outside with ease, and folding it down takes just ten seconds. The ceramic-coated reversible hotplate that’s included makes it perfect for searing and sautéing, too.
Price: AED4,999, ae.space-grill.com
Weber Smokey Joe Premium
Here’s the bargain buy that will be more than a one-hit wonder. It’s ideal for chucking in the boot for weekends away and is certainly small but mighty. Does it get better than authentic charcoal-grilled steak? We think not.