16th Jul 2021 | Food
In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue, arrived in the Americas, and opened up the world to cultural exchanges.
Some 500 years later much of Britain was still stumbling around in the dark ages with regards to one of the most important discoveries.
For whilst the rest of the world was wielding tongs like a cheerleader’s baton, a Barbie in Britain was still to most a small doll imported from the US who hung around with a beefcake called Ken.
Then in 1997, something happened. Whether it was Cool Britannia, the impending Millennium celebrations or Katrina and the Waves winning the Eurovision Song Contest with the ultimate upbeat summer song Walking on Sunshine, Britain woke up and smelled the barbeque.
National Barbeque Week was born and the 25th edition takes place in July – in fact, it’s become so popular it’s expanded to nearly a fortnight running July 5-18th. And with a few days left, and the weather looking amazing this weekend, we will all be getting our BBQ on.
The name barbeque can be traced back to Hispaniola, where Columbus and his crew first landed on December 6 1492, and the Spanish word barbecoa given to the framework of sticks placed over a heat source.
No doubt on December 7 1492 the European visitors suffered their first dose of “dickie stomach” caused by undercooking, a hazard that still persists today.
Temperature, and a rudimentary knowledge of the two principal forms of barbequing, are key to avoiding this.
Grilling is done over direct dry heat such as a fire and can take just a few minutes to cook meat. Whereas smoking involves using the smoke from a heat source to cook and flavour the food. This takes significantly longer than grilling.
Placing food on a charcoal barbeque as soon as you’ve lit it is a recipe for disaster, and leads to the culinary phenomena of the badly barbequed sausage – blackened crisp outside with pink mushy inside.
Instead, leave the coals to go white, producing an even heat, before placing food on the barbie and then use a digital food thermometer to check when it is safe to eat.
Thankfully, Zorba can at least ensure there’s one part of the barbeque you can get right each time. Whatever style of food you go for we’ve got the perfect dips to accompany whether it’s Asian inspired, Tex-Mex, classic Mediterranean or the more traditional selection of onion, garlic and cheese dips.
So what are you waiting for? Put another shrimp on the barbie and ask Alexa to play Aqua!