Get ready for the weather - come rain or shine!

We never know what the weather has in store, so check the weather and have plan should things turn for the worse. I always try and persevere as long as I can outside - so have a few jackets and umbrellas on standby. And if the rain does set in, have a few recipes up your sleeve which you can also create without the need for a BBQ. My Dirty Rice is a one-pot wonder so you can easily throw it together on the pan and keep your guests entertained while the weather eventually passes.

Brad McDonald

Brad McDonald

BBQ vs. Grilling

Where I'm from in the US, BBQ is all about slow and low indirect heat; what we call smoking - similar to roasting or braising. What's done mostly here in the UK is grilling; that's high direct heat - similar to frying or sauté in a pan. Make sure you know your equipment and what sort of cooking style it caters for. I have created a video tutorial which explains the difference between smoking and grilling (link below) it will help you make your BBQ's even better and your meats even tastier this summer.

Choose your meat wisely

Talk to your butcher to find out whether your meat deserves high direct, heat (such as a ribeye, sirloin, or bavette) or slow and low, indirect heat (like shortribs, brisket, or shoulder), then plan your cooking times accordingly.

Quality matters for the best taste. Buy your meat from reputable butchers; ones that know the farmers they get their carcasses from. Every bit of an animals' life matters for flavour development.

Keep your rub gentle and your sauce spicy

When choosing your pre-seasoning, go simple and remember that you want the flavour of the meat to stand out. Keep your rubbing mix down to salt plus two to three key ingredients. For beef, I always suggest salt, sugar and black pepper. Paprika works well for poultry and cumin for lamb. For accenting the meat once cooked, add some spice into your sauce. I like to use TABASCO® pepper sauces. I've been using them at home and in my restaurants for years. The sauce really amplifies the flavours in your food and makes the end result even better.

Rest your meat

It is essential that you allow your meat to relax before eating. This helps with the tenderness in the bite and maintaining moisture throughout and will help make it even more flavoursome.

What's hot on the BBQ this year?

Experiment and branch out beyond your usual repertoire. Try different cuts of meat and cuisines from around the world such as Mexico, Asia and the US and explore new flavour combinations. This year my BBQs will feature a number of my Southern style favourites as well as culinary mash-ups. Try Grilled Korean Short Ribs with Salsa Verde. This Mexican/ Korean fusion will add a citrus zest to your BBQ. Simply ask your butcher to cut a short rib joint across the bone, about 80-100mm thick, marinade in herbs such as: coriander, mint as well as garlic and ginger and grill over high heat for a quick and tasty dish where the meat is caramelised to perfection. When it comes to seafood New Orleans style chargrilled oysters are a staple of Southern entertaining, they are a great alternative to meat and will really impress your friends. I'm putting these on my menu at Shotgun over the summer - they are full of flavour and literally go from grill to fork.

Don't forget your veggies and sides

Great meat deserves great garnish. Treat your veggies first class and don't underestimate how much the grill can improve their flavour. Try asparagus, broad beans or peas in their shells (grill just until the pods burst), tomatoes, sprouting broccoli, cauliflower, or even cucumbers. Esquites (Mexican Street Corn Salad) with TABASCO® Chipotle Sauce are also a great BBQ side dish and go really well with all grilled meats. The smokey flavour of the sauce makes this dish even more moreish. Be careful, they might just steal the show!

Brad is working with TABASCO® on the Better BBQ Campaign this summer visit

Brad will be chef in resident alongside his restaurant Shotgun at The Gardening Society from 2nd August - 4th September.

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