It’s inevitable, you check the weather forecast, invite your friends and stock up on plenty of meat and beer only to have the notorious British weather turn on you during the eleventh hour. Despite a lifetime of impromptu showers and heavy, dark, last minute clouds, we still don’t seem to have got the hang of adapting our al fresco plans. Rather than cancel or postpone, there are always ways to breath life and enthusiasm into the indoor barbecue.
There’s no country on earth with more opinions about barbecue than America, and North Carolina pulled pork is something that can cause heavy debate.
Not only blighted by the weather, but bound to a third floor flat, my pulled pork lacks the fundamental element of smoke. However, a good dose of smoked paprika added to the rub goes at least some way into making it a decent indoor barbecue option.
Remembering the barbecue mantra of ‘low and slow’, massage a decent barbecue rub all over a shoulder of pork. Pour a layer of water in the bottom of a roasting pan and set your pork in a wire rack above it. Seal with tin foil and sling it in an oven at gas mark 1 for about eight hours. – I put mine in over night, but the smell throughout the night has my wife craving barbecue first thing in the morning – shred the juicy, succulent pork with two forks and load into cheap fluffy white buns. Enjoy them as is, or perk up with barbecue sauce.
Korean barbecue is something we don’t actually see much of here in the UK, but one we would do well to observe. Steven Raichlen, author of The Barbecue Bible writes, ‘In Korea grilling is done, as often as not, indoors and is popular all year round.’ Bulgogi, or bool kogi, is a fun and different way to add something other than a burnt banger to your barbecue offering. Thin strips of beef, usually sirloin, are marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and garlic then grilled quickly alongside some spring onions. This is then wrapped within a leaf of lettuce and dunked into a dipping sauce before being eaten.
To make bulgogi indoors, you can oil up a griddle pan and do it the boring way at the stove, but I like to heat up a pizza stone in a screaming hot oven for a good hour, then place it on top of two trivets in the middle of the table. Drizzle the stone with sesame oil and let your guests cook their own strips of beef before wrapping them in leaves of Romaine lettuce.
Churrasco is a South American term for grilled beef and steak, but through time has come to encapsulate any grilled meat. Turning our churrasco attention to chicken, be sure to buy whole one. Whether cooking indoors or out, it’s infinitely more versatile than a pack of pre-marinated chicken limbs. Cut your birds in half, then maybe into quarters, and drop them into your marinade. Piri-piri is a popular choice, but a marinade of paprika, pepper, chilli, oil and beer is an equally good starting point.
Open your windows and oil a large griddle, a wide one that covers two hobs is near perfect. Griddle your chicken quarters slowly and baste with a little of your left over marinade every few minutes, there’ll be the hiss of the griddle, the smell of crispy chicken skin and a little smoke wafting across the kitchen and out of the window. It might be raining outside, but the barbecue is very much alive.
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