If you were to distill the essence of Hackney into a perfume, it would probably smell like the designated barbecue area in London Fields (with a top note of chicken shop fumes). While Americans fire up sleek six-burner stainless steel beauties with bespoke condiment racks, British people poke sad-looking burgers on disposable barbecues with twigs – and that’s what makes us great, folks. But how to get the most out of that £3.50 disposable grill? We asked barbecue pro Neil Rankin, founder of Temper and purveyor of all things meat.
How can you get the most out of a crappy disposable barbeque?
‘To grill food well, you need thick grill bars that retain heat. Disposables don’t have that, but they're still an okay heat source for indirect cooking. Try buying a few of them and hanging or placing your meat further away. I’ve cooked a whole chicken in 30 mins before using five disposables hung around it like a tandoori oven.’
Which is the best cut of meat to go for?
‘Thick steaks are the best all-rounder and you're least likely to mess them up as you don’t need to be worried about undercooking. For the pricey cuts, sirloin is the easiest to cook but I prefer flank. It’s cheaper to buy the best quality flank steak than the worst quality sirloin. Cook it hot and fast.
Are there any quick and simple marinades you can make al fresco?
‘Mix equal amounts of Sriracha hot sauce, sesame oil and soy sauce. I add marinades and sauces after cooking as they make a mess of your grill and don’t help you cook it well.’
Ready to put your new skills to the test? Here are 11 London spaces where you can barbecue like a boss.
Can't be arsed to cook? Let someone else do the hard work at these ace London barbecue joints.