Wednesday 22 November 2017

Tempting recipes to get you all fired up on the BBQ


Pork belly from Fire & Smoke by Rich Harris
Pork belly from Fire & Smoke by Rich Harris
Charred corn from Fire & Smoke by Rich Harris
Fire & Smoke by Rich Harris
Greek Salad from Fire & Smoke by Rich Harris

And onto the barbecue! Chef and BBQ specialist Rich Harris shares tempting recipes guaranteed to get you all fired up for the long weekend


North African Chermoula is often used as either a marinade or sauce for fish. However, I think it goes beautifully with chicken and didn't want to settle for marinade or sauce; I wanted both. Preserved lemons are really worth hunting down as they add a savoury, fragrant bitterness that works beautifully with the crisp, charred chicken skin.

Serves 4-6.

Prep time: 20 minutes plus marinating;

Cooking time: 40-50 minutes


1 large free-range chicken, weighing about 2kg

For the chermoula:

4 preserved lemons or coarsely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons

3 garlic cloves, peeled

100ml olive oil

Juice of 2 lemons

1 tbsp sweet paprika

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp fine sea salt, plus extra to season the sauce

2 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted

100g fresh coriander

Freshly ground black pepper

You will need 2 metal or wooden skewers; if you're using wooden ones, soak them in warm water for at least an hour


Lay the chicken breast-side down on a chopping board with the neck end facing away from you. Take a pair of poultry shears or sturdy kitchen scissors and cut to one side of the parson's nose, cutting all the way down the backbone. Make the same cut on the other side then discard the strip of bone you've removed. Turn the chicken over on the board, lay your hand flat across the breasts and push down firmly to flatten out. Transfer to a large dish or roasting tray and set aside.

Halve the chermoula ingredients; you need half for the marinade, and half for the sauce. For the marinade, quarter the lemons and scrape away the flesh and seeds, then roughly chop into a food processor. Add the remaining marinade ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour over the chicken and ensure that all of the bird is covered, working some the marinade under the skin on the breasts. Cover with clingfilm and transfer to the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight if possible.

Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking and preheat the barbecue for direct grilling. Lay the chicken breast-side up on a board and insert a skewer diagonally through the chicken; the aim is to thread it through the leg, thigh and breast and then out the other side.

Repeat with a second skewer through the other side of the chicken to form an 'X'; this will keep the bird flat, helping it to cook evenly.

Lay the chicken on the grill breast-side up and cook for 40-50 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. To check that the chicken is cooked, insert a sharp knife into the thickest part of the thigh. No pink flesh and juices running clear? The chook is cooked. Transfer to a board and set aside to rest for 15 minutes while you make the chermoula sauce.

Prepare the preserved lemons as for the marinade, but finely chop the skin into a bowl with the remaining garlic, oil, lemon juice, paprika, chilli flakes and salt. Grind the remaining cumin seeds to a coarse powder with a pestle and mortar and add. Finely chop the remaining coriander, stir in and season to taste.

Remove the skewers from the chicken, carve into chunks and arrange on a serving platter. Scrape up any resting juices, pour over the chicken and serve with the chermoula sauce.


Charred corn from Fire & Smoke by Rich Harris

Pico de gallo is the classic fresh tomato salsa associated with Mexican food. It features fresh tomatoes, crunchy onions, chilli and lime juice, but I've added charred sweetcorn for a bit of smoky sweetness. It's delicious as a side or for dipping tortilla chips while you grill the main event.

Serves 4 as a side.

Prep time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes


Fine sea salt

2 sweetcorn cobs

6 spring onions, trimmed

4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 red chillies, finely chopped

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 teaspoon chipotle paste

Juice of 1-2 limes

Pinch of caster sugar

1 small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the barbecue for direct grilling. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the sweetcorn and cook for 3 minutes, then drain thoroughly.

Lay the sweetcorn and spring onions on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes until charred and starting to soften, turning occasionally.

Remove from the grill and transfer to a chopping board.

When cool enough to handle, roughly chop the spring onions, and run a knife down the length of the corn cobs to remove the kernels. Combine in a serving bowl with the remaining ingredients, season to taste and serve.


Pork belly from Fire & Smoke by Rich Harris

Barbecued pork belly has a crispy, charred exterior giving way to beautifully soft meat. Once grilled, I quickly toss the hot pork in Sweet Chilli Sauce which melts and glazes the meat.

Serves 6.

Prep time: 25 minutes plus cooling.

Cooking time: 3 hours 10 minutes


3 carrots, peeled and halved lengthways

3 celery sticks

2 onions, quartered

4 star anise

150ml dark soy sauce

2.5kg piece of skinless, boneless pork belly (see tip)

6 tbsp Sweet Chilli Sauce

For the salad:

150g dried rice vermicelli

3 red bird's eye chillies, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

Juice of 3 limes

3 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp palm sugar

6 Thai shallots, finely sliced

½ cucumber, peeled, deseeded and finely sliced

1 large bunch of mint, leaves torn

1 large bunch of coriander, leaves torn

1 large bunch of Thai sweet basil, leaves torn


Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3. Arrange the carrots, celery, onions and star anise in the bottom of a large roasting tray and pour over the soy sauce. Lay the pork on top and pour over enough boiling water to just cover. Cover the tray tightly with foil and cook for 3 hours, carefully turning the pork halfway through cooking. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

Remove the pork from the liquid and lay on a clean baking tray. Lay a second tray on top and wrap tightly in clingfilm. Transfer to the fridge and sit a heavy weight on top (I use a small cast-iron pan, but a few tins of beans will do). Chill overnight.

Preheat the barbecue for direct grilling. For the salad, put the noodles in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to stand for 10 minutes or according to the packet instructions until just soft. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Combine the chillies, garlic, lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar in a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the noodles and toss to coat.

Unwrap the pork and use a sharp knife to cut it into thick slabs. Grill for 10 minutes, turning regularly, until crisp and golden all over. Chop the pork into bite-sized chunks, then transfer to a large bowl or roasting tray, add the sweet chilli sauce and toss to coat. Toss the shallots, cucumber and herbs through the noodle salad and serve with the pork.


'Dirty' cooking simply refers to cooking directly on the coals. With that in mind, it's really important to use natural firelighters and decent lumpwood charcoal, free from any chemicals or other nasty surprises. Laying the meat straight on the coals results in incredible flavour and, importantly, the meat doesn't burn because there's no oxygen between the surface of the coals and the meat so it can't catch fire. The only tricky part is the skin on the pork chops - make sure that it's hanging off the edge of the coals so that it cooks indirectly (the skin will cook far quicker than the rest of the chop). This also works brilliantly with thick-cut steaks and whole vegetables. Just keep a brush to hand to dust off any loose flecks of charcoal.

Serves 4.

Prep time: 15 minutes plus chilling.

Cooking time: 20 minutes


4 thick-cut pork chops, skin on

Fine sea salt

For the pickled fennel:

1 large fennel bulb, quartered, cored and finely sliced

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

200ml boiling water

150ml white wine vinegar

4 tablespoons caster sugar

For the rosemary butter:

4 sprigs of rosemary, leaves chopped

Good pinch of sea salt flakes

75g unsalted butter, at room temperature


A few hours before cooking, stack the pork chops skin-side up in a roasting tin. Boil a kettle of water and carefully pour the just-boiled water over the skin. Pat the chops dry, then lay them on a wire rack, uncovered, and chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

To make the pickled fennel, put the fennel and salt into a large bowl and toss to combine, then gently knead together for 5 minutes until softened. Combine the boiling water, vinegar and sugar in a jug and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour over the fennel and leave to cool to room temperature. The fennel will be ready to eat straight away, but tastes even better if you make it a day ahead, storing it in the fridge once it has cooled.

To make the rosemary butter, put the rosemary leaves into a mortar with the salt and grind to a fine paste with a pestle. Gradually work the butter in until you have a vibrant green paste. Spoon into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and chill until needed.

Preheat the barbecue and remove the grill. Meanwhile, remove the chops from the fridge and season with plenty of salt. When the coals are glowing white, push them to one side of the barbecue. Lay the chops directly on the coals; the idea is to rest the meat on the coals but leave the skin hanging off the edge. This way you'll get delicious crackling and perfectly cooked meat. Cook the chops for 7-8 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from the coals, give them a quick dust to remove any ash then set aside to rest for 5 minutes. Serve with the pickled fennel and rosemary butter on the side.


Greek Salad from Fire & Smoke by Rich Harris

Few recipes embody the brilliance of summer produce better than a Greek salad; sweet, sun-ripened tomatoes and crisp cucumber are crucial. Traditionally it's served with a single slab of feta on top, leaving you to crumble it through the salad as you go. I've also tried another equally simple, equally delicious dish of baked feta cooked in a wood-fired oven with a handful of green chillies. So this is my take on a summer classic, combining both recipes to make something really special.

Serves 4.

Prep time: 15 minutes.

Cooking time: 15 minutes


Olive oil, for greasing and drizzling

2 green chillies, finely sliced

2 x 200g blocks barrel-aged feta, drained

Freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

½ garlic clove, crushed

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 small red onion, finely sliced

1 cucumber

4 ripe tomatoes

A large handful of Kalamata olives, pitted

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crusty bread, to serve


Preheat the barbecue for direct grilling Lightly oil a large sheet of foil, scatter over the sliced chillies and lay the feta on top. Drizzle with a little more oil and top with a few twists of pepper. Seal the foil into a parcel and lay on the grill. Cook for 15 minutes, turning occasionally.

Meanwhile, whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic and oregano in a large bowl, add the onion and set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad. Roughly peel the cucumber, halve lengthways and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Roughly chop and add to the bowl. Quarter the tomatoes, remove the tough cores and roughly chop, then add to the bowl. Add the olives, toss to combine and season to taste; the olives and feta should negate the need for much salt.

Unwrap the feta and serve with the salad and crusty bread.

Weekend Magazine

Promoted Links

Life Newsletter

Our digest of the week's juiciest lifestyle titbits.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in Life