27 Aug, 2020

Getting together with friends and family is always a great reason to celebrate, but it’s hard to beat a BBQ on a warm summer’s day. Barbecuing is one of the freest ways of cooking, so with a few hints and tips, just let your instincts take over and create a BBQ to remember for all the right reasons.

Tips for BBQ cooking

If you're a real foodie and want to ace the BBQ test, there are lots of ideas to get you flowing in the right direction and have your family talking about your famous BBQ food.

1. Try using wood chips. For that mouth-watering smoked BBQ flavour, experiment with wood chips with your charcoal. If you enjoy your meat tasting a little sweet then apple wood is perfect. Alternatively, the taste of your fish and pork can be elevated by hickory.

2. Arm yourself with the right kit. Set up with all the following tools and everything will run smoothly:

  • Oven glove
  • Long-handled tongs
  • Stainless steel spatula

Make sure it’s all washed and ready to go before you begin - and invest in quality replacements if your equipment is looking tired or damaged.

3. Get the timing right. It’s important to get the temperature of the coals spot on. Don't try and cook anything until they've got a glow, are grey and the flames have died down.

Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon Wine

BBQ recipes

Get your creative juices flowing with some daring BBQ food recipes including sides and the perfect wines to complement your meals.

Red meat BBQ

The classic vision of a BBQ is of sausages and burgers grilling, ready to be placed in buns and topped with cheese, ketchup, mustard or relish. But what about stepping your BBQ game up a notch and grilling up a juicy steak?

For a BBQ, tender cuts of steak are the best but what you choose is based on preference. Go for sirloin, ribeye, rump or fillet and, if you choose a quality cut of beef, you won't need to worry about a marinade as the flavour is there already. A simple rub of olive oil, salt and pepper will do the trick.

Ensure the steaks are at room temperature for at least 20-30 minutes before grilling to make sure they cook evenly. When the coals are hot enough, sear them on each side for those classic BBQ markings and cook each steak for the desired time.

If you like a rare steak, it will only need about two minutes each side, medium will be roughly three minutes each side and for a well done steak you'll need to keep it on a hot grill for about four minutes each side.

Wine pairing:

The undisputed wine to pair with a steak that's been grilling on the BBQ is a rich Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon. It's the perfect fit. The bold aroma and texture, hints of black fruit, dark chocolate and espresso help a bite of steak to melt in your mouth.

If you decide to give your steaks a little seasoning with pepper, rosemary or sage, then pairing with Malbec works a treat as these herbs sit really well with the fruity notes of the wine.

Chicken BBQ

If you want to grill chicken on the BBQ, there are lots of recipes for marinades to choose from. We love this citrusy marinade from Jamie Oliver - packed full of punchy flavours with a bright finish, it's the ideal chicken BBQ recipe.

Wine pairing:

Chicken naturally pairs seamlessly with white wine. This light and delicious marinade recipe also helps it pair with our Sauvignon Blanc which boasts notes of citrus fruit and a clean, refreshing finish. The light buttery sweetness of a Dark Horse Chardonnay would also work beautifully.

Dark Horse Chardonnay Wine

Fish BBQ

Why does a BBQ just need to be red meat or chicken? Fish is a natural BBQ companion being an ideal match with smoked flavours. The best thing about cooking with salmon on the BBQ is that you can keep things incredibly simple for stand-out results.

Take a side of salmon and grill it with some hickory or oak chips in with the coal. Finish off with a big squeeze of lemon and some fresh herbs (anything goes here, dill, fennel, tarragon, parsley, sage, basil, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, take your pick). Keeping BBQ salmon simple on the grill ensures you don't mask the natural wonder of the fresh fish and you can enhance the flavour with smoked wood chips and brighten everything up with a burst of citrus.

One final tip - if you opt for salmon fillets with the skin on - grill with the skin side up to begin with and then use your tongs to gently swap over to the skin side down. This way you won't lose any beautiful chunks of fish through the grill and into your hot coals.

Wine pairing:

Meat-Free Dishes

To balance out the smorgasbord of BBQ meats, beautiful crisp green salads, baked potatoes, potato salads, coleslaws and crunchy veggies make for fabulous accompaniments. Also, don't forget BBQ corn on the cob - instead of adding butter in between the warm kernels slather on a vegan butter and it's a delicious treat.

Or why not try grilled aubergine? Simply cut into ¼ inch chunks, cover in salt for 15 minutes to draw the water out, then wash with olive oil and whatever flavouring you fancy – we love garlic, parsley and oregano – then grill for 15 minutes on each side until golden.

Two of our favourite recipes, which can also be used as meat-free mains, are pulled jackfruit with a BBQ sauce (make this on your kitchen hob and serve it up in a bowl ready to stuff into pillowy buns - yum) and teriyaki tofu - full of the smoked flavour you expect with a BBQ, but with none of the meat!

Follow this delicious BBC Food recipe for a teriyaki marinade for your tofu and you'll ensure everyone at your gathering will be thoroughly satisfied.

Wine pairing:

If you're in search of a wine to match with a teriyaki sauce, you'll need to search for a medium to full bodied red with strong tannins. Dark Horse wines have some options for you to choose from - our Cabernet Sauvignon stands up to the tannin test, while our full-bodied, jammy Merlot will have all the characteristics to pair with the sweet, savoury and saltiness of the teriyaki tofu.

The scene's set, so we hope our ideas for BBQ food have got you inspired. No matter the occasion, gather your friends and enjoy your BBQ gathering with a drop of Dark Horse.

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