Hit the squids: it’s barbecue season
Barbecues can do so much more than cook snags. We’ve got some expert advice to help you get the most out of your backyard barbecue this summer, plus a squid-tastic recipe.
“There’s no limit to what you can cook on a barbecue,” says Nathan Roberts, pit master from Basting Bros BBQ. “During the lockdowns this year I’ve experimented with a range of dishes including bread, curry, mini madeleines and apple pie.”
Pro barbecue tips
Here, Roberts shares his top tips to help you master the art of barbecuing this season. Below, you’ll find his recipe for stuffed squid with chilli dipping sauce.
1. Forget the traditional way of cooking directly over a heat source and up your BBQ game by trying the indirect method. This is as simple as having the heat source on one side and the protein on the other. This method will allow you to have better control over the cooking process. (Note: with any leftover charcoal, save and store it for future cooks.)
2. When choosing your meat, look for steaks that are well-marbled. Remember that fat equals flavour and will render down nicely. Roberts recommends selecting a steak that is a minimum of 4-5cm in thickness.
3. It’s always best to go fresh over frozen when selecting whole fish. Ensure it has clear eyes, gills are red and skin is firm. When it comes to shellfish, fresh is always best. Never buy them if the shell is partially open, and always rinse under cold water prior to cooking.
From resting to rubs
4. Use a digital thermometer and go by internal temperature when checking if your protein is cooked. Then go by appearance and feel, especially for bigger cuts like brisket – you want to make sure that it “probes like butter”. This basically means that it has little resistance, and feels like you’re running a warm knife through butter. (Note: don’t go by time and temperature alone, as no two proteins are the same.)
5. Ensure you always rest your protein after cooking. The length of time depends on the cut of meat. For something like steak, it can be as little as 10 minutes; for something bigger like brisket, pork or lamb shoulder, it’s usually a minimum of 2 hours in a Cambro or esky.
6. To add some flavour to your cooks, use Char-Griller Rubs. Try layering your favourite dry rubs together. The layering process involves using an oil binder, applying your first rub, patting it down and letting it absorb. Then repeat this with a second rub for ultimate flavour. Use an oil with a high smoke point, such as rice bran, grapeseed or peanut oil.
Stuffed squid with chilli dipping sauce
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes + cooling time for the sauce
For the stuffed squid
6 squid tubes
160 grams raw prawn meat, peeled, deveined and chopped
250g pork mince
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp mayonnaise or tartare sauce
Salt, pepper, dried oregano, and chilli flakes to season
½ lemon for garnish
For the chilli dipping sauce
125ml (½ cup) water
½ cup white rice vinegar
½ cup sugar
1-2 fresh chilli, finely chopped
½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, grated
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp corn flour
To make the chilli dipping sauce:
1. Add the vinegar, water, sugar, soy sauce, garlic and ginger into a small pot and cook over medium/high heat on the wok burner or over charcoal, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and let the sauce simmer for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add in the finely chopped chilli and cayenne pepper. Simmer for a further 2 minutes.
3. Mix the corn flour with 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl and pour into the simmering sauce. Continuously stir the sauce and cook for further 3-4 minutes or until the sauce thickens to a nice consistency.
4. Remove from heat, pour sauce into bowl, set aside to let it cool to room temperature.
To make the stuffed squid:
1. In a small bowl, add salt, pepper, dried oregano and chilli flakes. Mix, set aside.
2. Prepare squid tubes by removing any white membrane. Wash squid tubes and pat dry.
3. In a bowl, mix prawns, mince, breadcrumbs, shallot, garlic, ginger and lemon rind. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Using a teaspoon, add filling into each tube. Push mix to bottom of tube, using a toothpick to secure. Be careful not to overfill tubes. The filling will expand while cooking.
5. Prepare the BBQ for medium to hot direct heat cooking. Brush squid tubes with a little olive oil, season with salt, pepper, oregano and chilli flake seasoning.
6. Cook the squid on the grill plate over direct heat. Using tongs, turn squid tubes when you see a slight char on the squid and the flesh is turning opaque. Repeat on all sides. The squid will take approximately 12-15 minutes to cook but cook time will vary depending on the size of tubes. You want to reach an internal temperature of 71°C
7. Once cooked, remove squid from the grill. Remove toothpicks. Squid can be served whole or sliced with some lemon juice. Serve with chilli dipping sauce and sides.
Looking for a new barbie? The Char-Griller Double Play is a great BBQ for those looking at getting into the low ‘n’ slow style of barbecuing. The Double Play offers the convenience of gas and the flavour and experience of charcoal all in one barbecue. So you can get all the benefits of authentic barrel grilling with a push of the button. The Char-Griller Double Play is available from Bunnings. For more info, head to bunnings.com.au