The smell of burning sausages wafting from garden to garden; plastic wrapped, disposable barbecue stacked six-feet high in every supermarket across the country: barbecue season is upon us, but cooking for many and cooking effectively can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for.
Whether on a budget, or ready to blow the bank, I’ve picked out some of the best and lesser-known cuts to sling on the grill, and even picked the foolproof ones for when you’ve all the gear, but no idea.
On a budget
Ten people eagerly gathered around your table, perching on kitchen stools, lounge chairs and the emergency plastic seats stuffed in the back of the shed. Ten hungry eyes, ten mouths to feed, ten people who’ve heard amazing stories of your legendary barbecue parties. So, what are you grilling? Bavette steak, that’s what. Built to satisfy the steak-cravings among us but not built to cost more than the earth, the bavette (or skirt steak) is the dream cut for both the marinater, and the plain-and-simple cook. Ask your butcher for a whole piece – it’ll be a roughly oval shape and weigh in somewhere around 1.3-1.5kg – cook the thing whole, or slice into portions and marinate. It’ll take no longer than two minutes each side on a hot grill, before moving to indirect heat for a further three minutes to cook a little more.
For the foodies
To impress any keen taste buds at your barbecue, opting for underused and underrated lamb breast is an easy win. Ask your butcher to slice the ribs into singlets so you’re left with individual ribs. Pre-boil them for 35 minutes in salted water, and then marinate overnight in soy, honey, oyster sauce, gochujang and a little brown sugar. Finish them on the grill to crisp up the fat and serve garnished with spring onions.
For the fussy
The temptation to buy ready-made burgers can be real, but note the price difference between butcher’s mince and pre-done patties – saving yourself the trouble isn’t always saving yourself the cash. Instead, ask your butcher to mince their beef trim through once, for a course finish, and then buy a couple of bone marrows. Roughly, you’ll be looking at £12 all-in, to make eight patties. At home, scoop out the marrow, season the mince and mix together, before rolling into balls and refrigerating for three hours and pressing them into discs. There’s nothing more impressive than a homemade burger, made juicy by the marrow, that even the fusspots among your party will love.