A CUT ABOVE
It goes without saying that the bigger the culinary challenge, the more of an impression you will make. Skip the easy hits of rib-eye, sirloin and rump this time and step up to the challenge of transforming lesser-known cuts into tasty morsels. Warren Pensini, owner of Blackwood Valley Farm in Western Australia, gives a few pointers.
Also known as oyster blade, this has exceptional flavour but make sure the butcher cuts out the gristle first. Cook for three minutes on each side, then slice into inch-thick pieces and serve on a tray – good for big parties where guests can nibble while mingling.
Cook this quickly and eat it slightly rare to enjoy the strong earthy flavours of the meat.
This forequarter cut is lined with strong muscles, but also has a fair bit of marbling that lends some melt-in-mouth fat. It’s a versatile cut that’s very good for slow-roasts, so grill it over a low flame for a long time.
Ruth See, co-founder of Stoke, which delivers organic meat for barbecues, digs into the finer art of coal preparation.
01 Make sure the base of the charcoal pit is clean and free from ashes.
02 Before lighting the charcoal, arrange the pieces in a mound to increase coal-to-coal contact to facilitate the spread of heat.
03 If using fire starters, place a few between the charcoal pieces and light them up. Alternatively, pour lighter fluid onto the charcoal until the pieces are slightly shiny. Let sit for about half an hour before lighting.
04 Burn the charcoal for at least half an hour until the surface turns white.
MAINTAINING THE FIRE
01 Apply the “half and half” or “two-zone fire” technique so the coal doesn’t burn out too quickly. This means having high heat on one side by clustering the coal, and low heat on the other by having fewer pieces, so different types of food can be cooked simultaneously – think thick cuts of meat on one end, and easily cooked items like sausages and fish on the other.
GETTING THE CHAR
01 Avoid marinating the meat in liquids other than oil. Use dry-rubs like coarse salt and pepper, and herbs and spices to protect the meat from any flying ash and to give it a nice crust.
02 Make sure the fire is very hot to get a nice sear. A good measure is when you can’t hold your hand over the flame for more than a couple of seconds. Allow time for meat to warm up to room temperature outside the fridge, so the centre won’t be cold by the time the searing is done.
The right dressing lends zing to barbecue staples. We ask burger and barbecue experts for their “secret” recipe.
01 FINGER LICKIN’
Molasses, cane sugar and smoked paprika are key to this char siew-inspired dressing. Mix it with tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, and a dash of salt and cayenne pepper. Best paired with slightly fatty cuts like pork or beef ribs, and chicken thighs. Courtesy of Charcoal Pit.
02 KICK BACK WITH THIS
Add oomph to horseradish sauce with a dose of lager and a splash of white wine vinegar. Goes well with dry-aged steaks and charcuterie items. Courtesy of The Butchers Club.
03 BUTTERED UP
Everything tastes better with a knob of butter. Spice up a slab of unsalted golden goodness with herbs like rosemary and thyme, drops of tabasco and a squeeze of lemon. Spread this generously on meats like salmon and beef. Courtesy of Stoke.
04 DON’T HOLD THE FRUIT
Sweet and tangy sauce is a great foil for smoked meats, as well as seared meats off the grill. The basic ingredients are ketchup, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar with some spices, but what amps up the flavour is the addition of some dried fruit. Courtesy of Red Eye Smokehouse.
05 HOT DIGS
This is chilli sauce reinterpreted: Mix a significant amount of ground cumin, some pickled jalapenos and French mustard with a bottle of beer. Pour this over burgers or chips. Courtesy of Meatliquor’s Yianni Papoutsis and Scott Collins, both of whom recently launched the book The Meatliquor Chronicles: Chapter and Verse.
Strong robust ales go best with the smoky flavours of barbecue. The Peak’s resident beer aficionados give their take on which to swig with your grilled meats.
JY Jean Yap, graphic designer
DlDenise Low, associate art director
Mk Meryl Koh, senior writer
Xj Liao Xiangjun, features writer
01 DOGFISH HEAD
TAP Craft Beer Bar
“”Best of the lot. Give me a dozen! Ok, how about a keg?” JY
“Smells like black soya sauce, which I suppose is a good marinade for meats too.” DL
02 YEASTIE BOYS GUNNAMATA
The Mad Tapper,
“Tastes a bit like Earl Grey tea, smells fruity with lingering floral taste. My pick of the lot.” DL
“Sweet floral smell. Like stepping into a hotel lobby.” MK
03 STONE BREWING IPA
“Smells like a cocktail. Get some prawn crackers to go with it.” JY
“Has a nose of canned fruit, tastes like cheese rind.” MK
04 IWATE KURA JAPANESE ALE SANSHO
“Smells and tastes like kailan in oyster sauce!” XJ
“Reminds me of the zichar dishes my grandmother cooks. This would go well with some yakitori.” MK
05 DOWNTOWN BROWN
TAP Craft Beer Bar
“Tastes like kicap (soya sauce). Would rather have an Asahi!” JY
“Love the bottle label design. This beer had the strongest flavour to me.” XJ
06 WINTER ALE
“Tastes like Christmas, with hints of raisins. Fruit cake alert.” XJ
“Malty and sweet, leaves a very warm sensation after drinking. Will be perfect if it actually snowed in Singapore.” MK