Published On: Tue, Dec 15th, 2020

Winter BBQ – Christmas Day on the Charcoal

This might not be traditional, and certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but for some, it might just be an alternative Christmas lunch that brings a bit of ‘charcoally’ cheer!

Barbecue Turkey

Although the government has relaxed the rules over a five-day festive period, there will still be families looking to socialise outdoors in the garden. And in a time where traditions have been thrown out the window, you may be looking to fire up the BBQ to cook the Christmas turkey. 

And while it’s common practice for Australia to stick another ‘shrimp on the barbie!’, Brits could be putting another sprout on as the celebrations head outdoors rather than inside – and after so much time surrounded by four walls, who could blame you if you did! 

You can cook pretty much everything you’d eat on your plate for the big day on the charcoal grill, just don’t forget the bottled gas or coal. We might not live in Australia, but seizing the opportunity to eat al fresco is what we do best. During the festive period in 2017, the UK matched the same temperatures as the Spanish capital, averaging temperature highs of 13 degrees during Christmas week. It’s a fact that winter in the UK is getting hotter, despite what Deirdre from down the street might have you think. With this in mind, we thought why not extend barbecue season?

Nobody is suggesting that you have to sit in the back garden until 12am, caked in suntan lotion with your short shorts on in the middle of September, but taking advantage of an alternative form of cooking once a week can spice things up for the taste palette. At Flogas, who sell a range of gas BBQs, they run you through how to do Christmas on the grill.

The bird

For many of us, the highlight of the year in regard to the food calendar is the turkey being carved on Christmas day. Succulent slices of slow cooked meat dripping in gravy, topped with cranberry sauce is enough to have most salivating. However, we have all fallen guilty to the slightly overcooked bird, which requires that extra glass of vino to help digest. Barbecuing the game, however, provides chef with no such worries on judgement, or those consuming it none in regard to choking. A little over two hours on top of the wire rack and one is left with golden brown, juicy segments waiting to be torn apart.

Ingredients

a bunch of thyme

a bunch of rosemary

200g butter

2 lemons

1 x 5kg turkey

Method

We suggest leaving the bird to soak overnight in salt water. For a 5kg turkey, use approximately 10 litres of water and 800g of salt. Once you have risen from your night’s sleep, the desalinating process begins, otherwise it wont only be your taste buds receiving a shock — your cholesterol will as well. Place the turkey into clean water, changing the water approximately every 15 minutes. Repeat this process four times before placing the thyme, rosemary and lemon in the turkey’s cavity. Baste with butter and it’s time for the barbecue.

Unlike cooking a steak, this is a delicate process, so you aren’t wanting to have flames attacking the surface. Ensure that the coals are dispersed to either side of the barbecue and place a bowl of water among them — this may require refilling during the cooking process. Carry out the usual seasoning process, using butter, lemon, salt, and pepper.

Place the bird on top of the wire rack and cover. Be sure to keep the vents in the barbecue open, allowing sufficient air to escape — we would usually suggest three-quarters open. Using an oven thermometer keep regular tabs on the temperature being 180 degrees, adding coals as necessary. With the remainder of your butter, rosemary, and thyme, making a basting sauce to smear the turkey during the cooking process. Continually check the internal temperature — 65 degrees at the thickest point and you’re ready for a delicious Christmas day feast. Top with bacon rashes about 20 minutes before the end of cooking.

The sides

Sweet carrots wrapped in bacon

Admittedly, pigs in blankets ranks highly on most peoples’ lists in regard to the ‘best part of the Christmas dinner’. But after trying these alternatives, you would be forgiven for
changing your mind.

Ingredients

1kg carrots, washed and peeled

500g bacon

60ml maple syrup

Method

Take the carrots and wrap generously in bacon. Pre-heat your gas BBQ to 200 degrees. Place the carrots on top of a baking sheet laid over a wire rack, cooking for approximately 25 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy and the carrots are beginning to soften. Half-way through the cooking process, drizzle the maple syrup over the carrots. For an added kick, swap the maple syrup for some Dijon mustard.

Honey onion slices

The onion adds the flavour to any meal — we all know that. But, what about an onion with a twist?

Ingredients

60ml honey

2 large onions, peeled

2 tbsp butter

1½ tbsp gluten-free Worcestershire sauce

60ml Dijon Mustard

Rather that chop your onion finely like you often would, slice them slowly, maintaining the ring of each slice.

Method

In two separate bowls, whisk the oil and butter, and then the mustard, honey and Worcestershire sauce. Heat the BBQ to a medium-to-high heat. Using two thin metal skewers, pierce the onions approximately an inch and a half a part. Place on the wire rack, before brushing with the oil. Leave to cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until the onions have browned. Turn, leave to cook for a further ten minutes and brush with mustard mixture.

Voila! There you have a winter warmer recipe that can be served on Christmas Day, straight from the BBQ!

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