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With the nation salivating over a variety of mouthwatering concoctions whilst viewing ITV’s first episode of BBQ Champ on Friday night, now’s the time to go the whole hog by dusting off that BBQ and getting inventive with outdoor cooking.
From rubs to marinades, to the famous beer-can chicken, the Haynes BBQ Manual by barbecue expert and celebrity chef ‘BBQ Ben’ Bartlett is ideal for those simply not sure where to begin, looking for inspiration, or even the most confident of BBQ chefs looking to ensure last few heady weeks of summer are well and truly enjoyed. Twice winner of the ‘Best BBQer’ award from the British Barbecue Association, author Ben Bartlett is now the Association’s president and the UK’s most successful barbecue champion.
Not only does this step-by-step guide lift the lid on how to choose the right barbecue, tools and equipment and basic techniques including health and safety pointers, but it is stuffed with over 100 sumptuous recipes which will satisfy the most discerning of friends popping over for lunch or dinner.
Wave goodbye to bland burnt sausages, raw chicken and other unsavoury specimens, and say hello to a range of spectacular gourmet meal ideas from main items such as meat and fish, through to vegetables. The Haynes BBQ Manual even goes as far as providing ideas for accompaniments such as superb salads, easy pre-prepared sides and post-grill and grilled puddings for the barbecue.
What’s more, the Haynes BBQ Manual is also packed full of advanced techniques from spit-roasting and brazucades, to bonfire cookery and baking and pizza-making. It even has ideas for other outdoor cooking, including how to smoke food, how to construct a spit-roaster, and the southern barbecue pit.
Offering all that you’d expect in a Haynes manual, including a few step-by-step projects, it covers all aspects of hardware and barbecue techniques. Also, unlike most guides, the BBQ Manual covers all the basics when it comes to choosing gas or charcoal, briquettes or lumpwood, direct or indirect cooking.
Ben Bartlett’s top ten tips
Here, Ben provides his top ten tips on how to have a successful barbecue.
- Season the grill with olive oil and rosemary before you start
- Bring the meat to room temperature before cooking as it will cook through quicker and will also drain fat better
- Spice it up – simply a powdered spice to your meat
- If you are using coals let them turn grey before you start cooking
- Choose a sheltered spot to eliminate wind that may delay cooking time
- Always have a bucket of water on standby
- If you are grilling in the evening, have ample lighting
- A clean grill burns better and doesn’t leave a bad taste on foods
- When using wooden skewers, always soak well in water before use
- Marinate overnight – it’s magic, but remember to baste the meat during the last 5-10 minutes of grilling
Ben also shares one of his favourite recipes from the Haynes BBQ Manual:
Margarita Sea Bass (serves 4)
Credit should be attributed to Haynes BBQ Manual and Benjamin Bartlett
Inspired by the famous Mexican cocktail this tequila based marinade is a perfect partner for this celebrated sea fish...
- 8 sea bass fillets (100g or 4oz each)
- 100ml (3½ fl oz) white or gold tequila.
- 120ml (4 fl oz) Cointreau
- 150ml (5 fl oz) fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 3 garlic cloves crushed
- 3 tsp vegetable oil
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
- Place the fish in a zip-lock bag.
- Combine the tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, salt, garlic and 2 teaspoons of oil and pour over the fish.
- Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature turning occasionally.
- Heat the grill to very hot.
- Remove the sea bass and pat dry.
- Brush lightly with 1 teaspoon of oil and grind some pepper over the surface of the fish.
- Grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side.
About the author
‘BBQ Ben’ Bartlett was the first ever winner of Britain’s ‘Best BBQer’ title awarded by the National BBQ Association. As well as writing regularly for the trade press, he has written for the Guardian and Sunday Times and has appeared on numerous TV programmes including This Morning and Ready Steady Cook. He is President of the British BBQ Association and competes around the world with the Best of British BBQ Team.
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