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A Magazine for Sheffield

The Art of BBQ

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South Street Kitchen

The art of barbecuing takes some practice and we've all experienced the downsides of a bad one, whether that's incinerated sausages or underdone chicken.

But with the right knowledge there are many wonderful dishes you can cook on the grill, using various techniques and all of the stages of heat to braise, sear and char your ingredients.

To find out what makes a really great BBQ, we spoke to Rachel Cornish and Tim Jenkins, owners of South Street Kitchen at Park Hill, and Luke Rhodes, sous chef at Noosa cafe bar in Kelham Island.

Tell us what you love about BBQ food.

[Rachel & Tim] What we love about BBQs are the same things that inspired us to start the cafe - informality, spending time with our friends, sharing food and making the most of the long nights when the weather allows.

[Luke] The care and love it takes to make perfect BBQ and the fun you can have with friends and family learning how to cook traditional BBQ is what it's all about.

What would you cook for friends?

[Rachel & Tim] As vegetarians we used to always do halloumi kebabs but now we love to experiment with fresh seasonal vegetables - in-season British asparagus with toum, a stunning middle eastern garlic dressing, or a pointed cabbage cut in half smothered in olive oil and garlic rub, chargrilled on the inside and properly burnt on the outside, leaving the middle soft and sweet, then sprinkled with dukkah [spice mix].

There's also so many fantastic vegan burgers. This weekend we made one based on an Anna Jones recipe using quinoa, white beans, dates, tahini, soy sauce and fresh herbs. It was delicious, filling, straightforward to prepare and went down a storm.

[Luke] I would have to cook my favourites, brisket and pork butt. I would keep it towards the traditional route, inspired by Pitmasters such as Aaron Franklin and Myron Mixon. This would mean keeping it simple, with nothing more than good quality meat and salt and pepper. For the pork butt, I would make a rub using spices, brown sugar and yellow mustard.

use fresh seasonal vegetables and experiment

How can we raise our BBQ game?

[Rachel & Tim] First, use fresh seasonal vegetables and experiment. There's so much great produce and so many ways to BBQ it. Last year we would never have been barbecuing pointed cabbage, but our son experimented with it and now it's a delicious crowd pleaser.

Second, use middle eastern sauces. Cooking with fire is at the heart of Middle Eastern cookery. Baba ganoush, for example, is all about fire roasting aubergines until the skins are burnt. Two great simple sauces ideal for BBQs are the classic tahini dressing - tahini, lemon juice, garlic and a little water - or a spicy tomato sauce, made using onion, cumin, a generous spoonful of zaatar, chilli and plenty of fresh coriander or flat-leaf parsley.

Fresh fruit is fantastic on the BBQ, whether it's peaches and nectarines or pineapple and banana stuffed with chunks of chocolate.

[Luke] I do think us Brits need to turn to the Americans and look at their traditional styles of BBQ - using open wood fires, cooking on barrel BBQs, cooking food with lots of smoking and pumping in lots of flavour using minimal ingredients to get the best outcome.

As a chef and BBQ fanatic, I would always turn to the knowledge of Pitmasters such as Aaron Franklin (Franklin's BBQ, Texas), Myron Mixon and Melissa Cookston on methods, rubs, sauces, wood and smokers.

I think the best cuts of meat for BBQ are the most underused cuts, such as ribs, brisket, cheeks and shoulders. They have a fantastic fat content that flavours the meat when you give it 'low and slow' cooking.

Desserts on a BBQ can be a thing of beauty, from grilled fruit with fresh ice cream to s'mores. Don't let anybody tell you you can't go sweet on a BBQ pit.

What are the most memorable BBQ dishes you've had?

[Rachel & Tim] The ones that we have spent long summer nights with friends, either in the garden or on a Cornish beach watching the sun set.

[Luke] My most memorable BBQ food would be the food I cook myself after learning from the techniques of the great pitmasters. To put it into practice and to be wowed by your own food just shows that you don't need to be a master chef to cook great BBQ. You just need the patience and to be willing to learn - and the results will make it so rewarding.

Ros Ayres

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