UK BBQ Mag Summer 2017 - Page 66

get inspired by what you're doing in the UK and it will filter over into our BBQ as well

I hope so, I think it's all about sharing and BBQ is very much a family thing, and all about having nice food with your friends and family.. what things do you like to cook at home for your friends and family?

For more traditional style of BBQ I love pork ribs, you can do them in a few hours, and I usually do a couple of different kinds, so that some are better for he kids and some are a little more intense or creative for the adults and it lets me pull out my smoker and play with that, if time's a bit shorter, then just doing great steaks, but with some smoke usually, even if I'm cooking for 10 minutes, I usually put some wood on the fire and sometimes I put the meat right in the fire, tomorrow I'm going to an event where I demonstrate one of the books recipes, coal cooked steak where they put it down right on the burning embers in just a matter of minutes you get a lot of flavour from the wood getting into the meat, and that's fine because people get a little entertainment out of it and it really does taste great

I call that cooking dirty and most of the people reading will know that I'm a big fan of cooking dirty, I had a nice big T-bone steak yesterday and popped it straight in the coals and it's brilliant, so many people are worried about doing it, a nice expensive bit of beef, and they worry about it, but actually the science behind it show's there's not much of a better way to cook a steak

Yeah, people imagine that it's just going to light on fire and you'll ruin it but as you know if you have good contact between the coals and the steak, there's no air in between, so you cna't get fire in there, and it doesn't actually burn, it just cooks, and the flavour of the wood gets in there a little bit

sometimes there's a little ash and you can just knock that off, and it does work really well.

I started cooking like this years ago, and just dropped something in, and thought oo that's fantastic and worked really well, then I researched it, I've seen lot of other people doing it as well, people like Adam Perry Lang who's a big fan of this technique, and I thought, how can I use more Mediterranean flavours, so I came up with a Dirty baste, a herb baste with rosemary, thyme, flat leaf parsley, garlic, olive oil, anchovy, sea alt and lemon and brushed on a steak.

That reminds me, I did another recipe for a pork chop, with a smoked butter, I marinate the pork chop and grill in the traditional way, and put a compound flavoured butter on top, and then take a hot ember out of the fire, and drop it right on the slab of butter, and it creates this big plume of smoke and melts the butter, and flavours it as well

I like the sound of that, there is a bit of theatre I think about BBQ isn't there, you've got a group of friends around and you want to bring out the nice big pork butt or brisket, but it's nice to have something like the dirty steak that really blows their minds, I really like the sound of the coal on the butter, I'll have to try that one

What's your hometown style of BBQ (San Fransisco area)?

Well there isn't a defined style in the San Fransisco area, it's a town waiting for a BBQ style to develop, you see a lot of really nice restaurants bringing smoked items into the place but you wouldn't call them really BBQ restaurants at this point, so we'll see how that develops, a few hours south of me in California, we have the Santa Maria style, tri tips etc. which has been around 200-300 years, and that's pretty well entrenched, it's surprising to me that such a great food area doesn't have a signature style, it'sa very mixed demographic, there's no predominant European, or Asian, or South American, it's everything mixed all together there's no one taking the lead on a particular style in San Fransisco yet.

It sounds the same as the UK I guess, it's got possibilities and is a melting pot, you don't know what can come out of it yet, people are seeing BBQ and it could go in lots of different ways, and that's pretty exciting,

what's your favourite smoking wood? does it depend on what you're cooking, or do you have an all purpose favourite? I saw in the book you had beech in there, beech isn't a common wood to smoke with, it's more common here in the UK, but you don't see it so much in American BBQ?

In the American version, it says Oak instead of Beech, but it's not commonly available in the stores, so we have a lot more oak, particularly in California where I live, that's kind of the middle of the road all-purpose smoking wood, that's what Santa Maria BBQ is based upon, they have a particular style called red oak, but it's not too strong and not too light, and everyone kind of likes it

However saying that I grew up on hickory, I grew up on the Eastern coast near New York, we had a lot of hickory around there, and that was classic southern style BBQ, I think with this kind of food although we like to try new variations of it

we still want some sort of connection to what's familiar, what we grew up with, that's part of the comforting factor, so for me I have a little piece of hickory in the fire, I tend to throw a little bit of everything in there, like seasonings on a steak

let's try some hickory, some apple, some oak

I'm a big fan of blending woods together as well, I love hickory, it's got that nice traditional bacony smell that is amazing I liek pecan as well with vanilla and hazlenut flavoursm we use a lot of American woods over here, but I try to encourage people to explore some of the British woods as well, fruitwoods, apple, and a big fan of cherry, I always put in a little dash of cherry wood into the mix, and one that I don't know if you have in the states

is SIlver birch, it's quite similar to maple and I love it, it's a flavour we could make our own here in the UK

Yeah I'd love to try it, it's like beech, we don't have birch in the stores, we have birch trees in the Northern states, fruitwoods are very popular, particularly appla nd cherry, we have a really big competition scene going on in the US, I think you do too

Cherry is considered the one you have to use for the colour, it really creates a deeper mahogany colour which is really important for good scores and the flavour too

I love cherry it's got a nice sweetness...your books are associated with Weber, do you cook solely on weber, or do you have any other bits of kit you use as well?

Do you think the kit you cook on is important or it doesn't really matter?

It's all a matter of controlling the fire and the smoke, and I grew up with a weber, it's what my dad had, then for the past 20 years I've been working with the company, so I'm spoilt, they send me new ones all the time, it would be ridiculous for me to go out and buy another brand at this point, I just got

used to it, I know that there are other great grils out there, but for me I'm just very comfortable with the webers, I recently started to cook on the new charcoal summit, I think you might have that in the UK, it's an expensive piece of equipment but if you're really into BBQ, I think this would be a fantastic choice

because it holds the temperature better than any other product that I've cooked on, you can use one chimney of charcoal and it'll last 4 or 5 hours easily, it's a really high quality grill

at this point I only use webers, unless I'm going to the park and they have those public grills, but I'm a weber guy

I recently went to the local recycling centre and found a little weber go anywhere, it looked like it had been used once and left, it was £3, in the original box with a beautiful manual in it

I looked at the sate from that, 1981 it was in perfect condiiton apart from the grate, real traditional old school pictures and techniques but it was still relevant with some good recipes in, I love it that bit of kit had survived, it was almost as old as I am, which is a testament to weber kit, and it's good to shout about it

Thank you Jamie, really appreciate having a chat with you.

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