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Pork skewers and Vietnamese chicken: Genevieve Taylor’s barbecue recipes

The most important technique to master is an understanding of how to set up different heat zones on your barbecue. For indirect cooking, put lit charcoal on one half of the barbecue and leave the other half empty. This allows you to cook on three zones: directly (over the fire), indirectly (off the fire), and in between for moderate heat. Control the temperature by moving food closer to or farther away from the heat source. For recipes that call for “direct cooking”, you also put the lit charcoal to one side of the barbecue, and then you cook directly over the fire, but can easily slide food away if it’s cooking too fast.

Smoky pork, asparagus and spring onion skewers

Pork fillet cooks quickly, so it’s ideal paired with asparagus, which takes no time to char to perfection. You will need six long metal skewers for this – by threading the meat and vegetables on to a double skewer, you’ll keep everything secure and make turning easy.

Prep 30 min
Mainate 1 hr+
Cook 10 min
Serves 4

500g pork fillet (tenderloin)
1 garlic clove
, peeled and finely chopped
1–2 tsp smoked paprika, to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
asparagus, trimmed and sliced into thirds
1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and sliced into thirds
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A little flat-leaf parsley, chopped, to garnish

Trim away any fat and membrane from the pork, then cut the fillet across the grain into 5mm-thick slices, dropping them into a bowl as you go. Add the garlic, paprika, oil and vinegar, then season and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for one to two hours, then stir in the asparagus and spring onions until coated in the seasoned oil.

Take a skewer and thread alternate pieces of pork, asparagus and spring onion on to it. Once the skewer is full, carefully thread a second skewer back through from the other end, so you end up with two skewers through the meat and vegetables, one down each side. Repeat with the remaining meat and vegetables, to make three double skewers.

Fire up the barbecue ready for direct cooking. Lay the skewers directly on to the grill over the fire and cook for 10 minutes, turning and rotating once or twice, so they cook evenly. Season and sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Smoked new potatoes with olive, caper and basil dressing

Think of this as a hot potato salad; a punchy side dish to go with all sorts of grilled dishes.

Prep 25 min
Cook 45 min
Serves 4–6 as a side

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1kg new potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red onion
, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
200g cherry vine tomatoes, vines snipped to make bunches of 3–4 tomatoes

For the dressing
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large handful fresh basil, finely shredded
3 tbsp pitted black olives, chopped
2 tbsp capers, chopped
1 tsp caster sugar

Fire up the barbecue ready for direct and indirect cooking, so you can cook the potatoes away from the high heat of the fire, adding a chunk of smoking wood to the fire for extra smokiness. One or two chunks of pure wood placed on top of the hot coals will ignite efficiently and create wafts of beautiful smoke to flavour your food. If you’re using a gas grill, wrap a bundle of wood chips in foil, pierce a few holes through the parcel and put it on the flames.

Put the potato quarters in a roasting tin, drizzle with the oil and season well. Set the tin on the grill away from the coals to cook indirectly, shut the lid of the barbecue and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring a few times and rotating the tin so the potatoes cook evenly. If the potatoes are softening but not getting crisp, slide the tin closer to the heat. Don’t worry if they break up a bit: you want them to be soft and tender throughout with a few irresistible crisp edges here and there. Halfway through the cooking time, stir the onion and garlic into the tin.

At the same time, lay the tomatoes on the grill directly over the fire, and roast for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through, until soft and lightly charred in parts but not collapsing.

For the dressing, whisk the extra-virgin olive oil, basil, olives, capers and sugar in a bowl, season with plenty of pepper and set aside.

Remove the cooked potatoes from the grill and spoon the dressing all over them. Top with the grilled tomatoes and serve warm straight from the tin.

Vietnamese chicken with lime-leaf butter

Fresh lime leaves can be a little tricky to find, so use a handful of coriander leaves instead if you struggle to track them down.

Prep 25 min
Marinate 1 hr+
Cook 25 min
Serves 4–6

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700g chicken thigh fillets
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp soft brown sugar
1 banana shallot
, peeled and finely chopped (or 2 round shallots)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2–3 bird’s eye chillies, chopped, plus a little extra to garnish (optional)
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the lime leaf butter
75g unsalted butter, softened
6 fresh makrut lime leaves (or 1 handful coriander leaves), finely chopped
1 good pinch sea salt flakes

To serve
6 mini rolls, or 1 large loaf, sliced
1 handful soft lettuce leaves
1 slightly underripe mango
, sliced

Deeply slash the chicken fillets a few times, but take care not to cut all the way through (this will help the marinade penetrate into the meat). Transfer to a bowl and add the vegetable oil, lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, shallot, garlic, chillies and five-spice. Season, stir to coat, then cover and refrigerate for one to two hours.

While the chicken is marinating, make the lime leaf butter by mashing together the softened butter, lime leaves and sea salt in a bowl, then set aside.

When you are ready to cook, fire up the barbecue ready for direct and indirect cooking. Lay the marinated chicken fillets on the grill away from the fire so they cook indirectly, pull down the lid and cook for about 20 minutes, turning and rotating the chicken a few times so it cooks evenly and brushing with the leftover marinade as you go. Use a knife to cut one open at the thickest part to check it’s cooked through (if you have a digital probe, the internal temperature should be 74°C).

Once the chicken is cooked, pile it up on one side of the grill away from the fire, and put the rolls on the grill to warm through for a couple of minutes.

To serve, slice the warm rolls through the centre and add a few lettuce leaves and mango slices. Add a couple of pieces of the hot chicken, then top with a good spoonful of the butter and a sprinkle of extra chilli, if you like. Squeeze the roll shut and leave the butter to melt for a few seconds before tucking in.

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