How many times have you complained about how there really is nothing to do in and around all our cities these days? Well, perhaps it's time to take some initiative and come up with a way to while away your time in the company of good friends and better food. It may be too cold to go out, but time is ripe once again to throw the best barbecue party that you possibly can. With the recent spate of blockades and such, you don't even have to wait for weekends anymore. To make sure you throw the best bbq ever, this week Lifestyle goes over all the basic requirements that you must fulfill.
The first objective is to get a grill machine, if you haven't invested in one already. You can easily make a boxed in square using bricks and then pouring the coal in there for a quick home-made grilling area, but it's safer to actually get a grill machine. Such machines are readily available and New Market offers numerous options. Starting from Tk.5,000 and going up, you can easily get a great grill. There are ones that start for less but without the stand. The electric grills are much more convenient for beginners but a shade more expensive. Look around before making your choice.
Coal is easy to get and cheap and therefore doesn't warrant much discussion. Every area in every city has at least one place where coal can easily be procured. The most important thing to nitpick is of course what you are going to barbecue. You can take your pick from Meena Bazaar, Agora, Bengal Meat and your local butchers, but don't save it for the last day. The best cuts of meat are the most tender ones and need to be booked in advance for most local butchers while superstores may also run out of them, so it's prudent to get this part out of the way first. In local bazaars, meat stands at Tk.280 per kg while at supermarkets it can cost anywhere from Tk.300-320. Untrimmed beef briskets, chuck eye steak, ribs, sirloin, rump and T-bone are the best cuts. Though the last two are the toughest cuts, they make great steaks. Have space for chicken too, as it is the most inexpensive and convenient option. There's lamb too, but you need almost expert level knowledge to execute that well enough.
Steaks, kebabs and tikkas are what tastes best during a bbq. Of course with all three, the right marinade and the right heat is what matters. Sear too much and you lose the flavour entirely, so how long and how much you grill is something to always keep under consideration. While grilling, remove excessive marinade and always maintain the proximity between the coal and the food. Most grills have different layers to use so you can invest in one of those for a smoother process.
Many barbeques are ruined because the marinade wasn't done right. As a rule of thumb, most cuts need to be kept with the marinade coat at least overnight or 12 hours, however some can be done with 20. A great trick is to pour the marinade in a plastic bag and put the meat and then massage the meat and keep in the freezer for around 30 minutes. With the meat taken care of, move towards other essentials, such as sauces and dips. Then you need an ample number of paratas, naans, rice and so on. You can easily prepare the dips at home but it's time-saving to get the naans and such from outside. For around Tk.10-12 a piece, it doesn't cost much.
Before you start, remember a few tips that all bbq lovers swear by; never ever eat your steak right off the grill. Always give the meat plenty of time to rest, otherwise it'll taste burnt and be hard. Secondly, don't start cooking right off the freezer; give the meat at least 20 minutes to settle. Now, many people often wonder if they are digging into raw meat or not; an easy way to check is to cut right down the center of the meat and see if the flesh is cooked and the juices are running. If that's the case, then you are ready to eat.
Winter presents the best opportunity to indulge in a little bbq. With the heat of the grill and the presence of friends and family emanating enough warmth to keep the chills at bay, don't miss out on this wonderful opportunity.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed