The combination of fire and food brings out a primal urge to barbecue as daylight savings kicks in

The countdown has begun

by Andy Bryenton

It’s now officially only 10 weeks until the end of school. Eleven until the end of work for many of us and 12 until our chimneys are invaded by a jolly bearded man with a penchant for not including double-A batteries with his presents.

For those who embrace the true meaning of summer (according to a very specific gospel), the Holy Days are here already. Yes, daylight savings means it’s time to disdainfully walk out on the designer kitchen you spent all winter installing, at great expense. It’s time to bring sacrifices of meat wrapped in tinfoil to the charcoal-eating idol of the backyard, the barbecue. Some over-zealous acolytes might end up sacrificing their eyebrows as well.

The barbecue as we know it today was invented by pirates, but it was perfected by the ‘pitmasters’ of America’s deep south, who took all the cuts of meat unwanted by the more affluent and turned them into culinary gold.

The secret to a great barbecue, according to these gurus, is threefold. Cut your own wood, and make your own charcoal. Prepare your meat, with rubs and marinades to add tenderness and flavour. Cook slow and low, letting the smoky flavour insinuate down to the bone. While step one can be sidestepped by selecting good quality charcoal and adding flavourful wood chips in moderation, there really is no way around the other two.

Try this; a quarter cup of golden syrup, then a tablespoon each of smoked paprika, olive oil, crushed garlic and vinegar. Add two tablespoons of brown sugar, then a dollop of barbecue sauce and a dash of your favourite hot sauce. Mix it all up and brush and spoon it over brisket or ribs, for example, then leave to soak it all in inside the fridge the night before. Cook slow and long for more flavour and meat that falls off the bone, and don’t forget lots of coleslaw, mac and cheese and potato salad on the side. If you’re buying a new ‘barbie’ this year, remember they are not all created equal. Look for solid construction to hold in the heat, good welds and a sturdy frame. Then it’s just a matter of carefully lighting it up without losing those brows and a few tantalising hours of smelling the goodness develop!