BBQ salads are the easy accompaniment to an outdoor cookout and do work really well because there’s many free barbecue recipes out there on the internet but sometimes I like my barbecue menu ideas to be a little different. In fact, not just different, something that can become a bit of a talking point too.
My inspiration comes from cooking corn cobs. When doing them on the barbecue grill it’s important to soak the husks for a good 30 minutes in water so that when heat is applied the leaves steam and cook the kernels. Having tried the corn over charcoal idea a couple of times, sparks of inspiration started to fly in all directions as I thought about how we might steam other vegetables on the outdoor barbecue grill. No sooner had I tried the base concept and the menu ideas came thick and fast.
Essentially were going to steam the vegetables in foil packs and the real beauty of cooking this way is that you can put the foil packs on the grill while the charcoal is still settling down and because of the foil protection there’s no chance to burn the food. By the time the vegetables are cooked, the charcoal is ready for the meat, do the remainder of the cookout and while the meat is resting for five minutes simply slap the foil parcels back on to warm through.
Let’s take carrots as an example. Take a rectangular piece of foil, chop the carrots finely and place them in one half of the foil rectangle. Season with salt and pepper and fold the foil over and “scrunch” the sides together just leaving a hole at one point where we can add water. Pour in half a cup full of water and make the final scrunch to seal the package. Slap it on the grill and 15 minutes later you’ve got beautifully delicious steamed carrots. A knob of butter and “Bob’s your uncle!”
The same logic can be applied to many vegetables so why not experiment? The only thing to remember is to slice the vegetables thinly so that there’s a good surface area for the steam to work on.
For an easy variation on the theme, rather than water, why not try a little dry white wine? It adds and certain “je ne sais quoi” to the recipes and sure makes for some interesting questions when your guests see you filling foil parcels from a wine bottle. They really know that they’re in for a treat!
Alternatively how about potatoes? Again, slice them thinly, place them on one half of the foil and season, now add a tablespoon of crème fraiche and start the scrunching. Finish off by pouring a good lug of white wine before sealing the parcel and then it’s onto the barbecue grill. You’ll need to be a little more careful with this bbq menu idea because too much heat can burn the cream so be a little gentler with the cooking and go for about 30 minutes cooking time.
One last tip – it’s also great to make individual packages so that everyone can rip into their own parcel and enjoy. It also makes it easy because all we have to do as the chef is throw a foil parcel onto each plate – how’s that for presentation? Healthy and tasty outdoor barbecue recipes.