As we start to see more sunshine and restrictions are eased, what could be better than getting out the barbecue and doing a bit of outdoor cooking? It is true that really warm days are still rare, and there may be frost overnight, but in the middle of the day an al fresco meal in early April can be good fun.
There is something particularly appealing about grilled meat. Maybe it is something instinctive, we are recalling our distant hunter/gatherer ancestors who, after a successful day hunting hares, deer or rabbits, would bring home their catch and grill it over hot embers. The wafted scent of cooking meat and wood smoke? Or perhaps it is the taste of the charred meat sizzling over the flames, the “umami”, as the Japanese would characterise it, so very different from boiled or stewed meat.
And there is a very wide range of meats that can be barbecued successfully, and we try to offer a full selection at Top Meadow Farm butchers. Steaks are, of course, a favourite, but do remind our master butchers that you are intending to barbecue them as it is better to have a little more fat or marbling on grilled beef. Our prime steak burgers are another favourite, tasty and succulent, and easy to barbecue!
Our butchers, Ross and Jimmy, produce excellent sausages and chipolatas; lamb chops, steaks or lamb burgers are a real delight, as are barbecued, marinaded pork belly or pork steaks.
But my favourite is grilled chicken with a “Sauce Diable”. For this you will need a free range or organic chicken. If you are uncertain, ask the butcher to cut it into suitable portions for barbecuing. The French sauce, literally translated as “Devil’s Sauce”, is easy to make, and partners grilled chicken really well. Chop six rashers of Top Meadow Farm smoked streaky bacon and fry gently in butter, adding 500gm button or chopped mushrooms and continue to fry for a couple of minutes before adding a large tub of double cream, stirring continuously. Season with a little black pepper, and then add a generous amount of Worcester Sauce, carrying on stirring. If the sauce is not hot enough for your taste, add more Worcester Sauce or some Cayenne Pepper!
Pour the creamy sauce over the grilled chicken, and serve with French fries and a green salad, for an outdoor treat.
While Sauce Diable is traditionally served with chicken, it works well with burgers, sausages or other meat too… Get that barbecue lit up!