Next to my passion for gym work and writing exercise programs, I have a real love for cooking – particularly barbecuing. I love getting a bit of meat or veg, covering it in marinade and putting it on the “Braai” (South African for “BBQ”). It tastes great, it’s healthy (depending on your marinade and barbecuing skills) and you have very little washing up to do. Plus, you always cook far too much so you have the joys of cold barbecue food the next day. This opens up the possibility of salads, wraps and snacks which can make healthy meals, when prepared with herbs and olive oil instead of creamy dressings and spreads.
In the past, I have successfully cooked everything from chicken wings and chipolatas to whole legs and shoulders of lamb and whole chickens. Mackerel done on the “Grill” (American for “BBQ”) stuffed with a few herbs, is the best way that I know of cooking this amazing fish. Fancy some vegetables? Slice them, marinate them, and stick them on! You will be amazed by the tasty results.
Due to the lack of oil and the fact that a lot of the fat is cooked out of the meat (the fat burning on the coal is what gives the amazing barbecued taste) it is an incredibly good way to enjoy meat whilst reducing the fat content.
I have a gas “Barbie” (Australian for “BBQ”) that sits outside my back door and I use it throughout the year (Christmas day BBQ in the snow is a personal favourite). I know that some barbecue purists will argue that charcoal is the only pure way to cook but I would vote for the gas BBQ for its convenience (I don’t have time to sit and wait for it to heat up), health bonus (gas is much cleaner to burn than charcoal) and consistency (you do not have a temperature gauge on charcoal).
Lastly, here is a bit of BBQ history for you…Barbecue derives from the word “barabicu” found in the language of the Taíno people of the Caribbean and the Timucua of Florida, and entered European languages in the form “barbacoa”. The word translates as "sacred fire pit”. The word describes a grill for cooking meat, consisting of a wooden platform resting on sticks.
Let me know your favourite BBQ recipes and bring on the gas versus charcoal debate!
By Ross Gillanders