It’s the beginning of August, and the summer break is almost here. My kids are already packing the RV, even though we don’t leave for two weeks. I can’t bring them down, though.
I still have 11 days (and counting) left at work, so I can’t let myself go just yet. However, I know that once I get the portable grill out of the garage, I’ll be just as excited as the kids.
Perfect BBQ Cookout
I love camping in Europe not only because I can go wherever I want, but also because I get to meet so many interesting people along the way. If you walk around the campsite after 1 p.m., you’ll start to see smoke rising as families meet for a cookout for lunch. If I say “Bon Appetite” or “Buen Provecho” first, I can usually get a quick look at what they’re cooking and how they’re doing it. Of course, the best part is when they come over to see what I’m making.
Many times, these friendly conversations have turned more competitive, and a small sample of whatever was cooked has been brought over to my pitch so I can try it. I have to give back, of course! Since neither side understands the other’s language, barbecue food is once again the foreign language of Europe.
What’s a better way to get free grill recipes than to walk around the campground? It’s also surprising to see how easy some of the flavors are to make.
In Italy, for example, meat (usually beef or lamb) is seasoned well with salt and pepper, cooked on a grill tandoor oven until pink, and then served with a traditional balsamic dressing and lemons.
You should only season one side of the meat, and you shouldn’t try to flip it too often. You want the meat to cook at a good temperature so that the natural sugars can be released, but if you turn it too often, it won’t get hot enough. In the same way, the seasoning “protects” the meat, so the side that doesn’t have seasoning will get hotter and bring out more of the natural flavor.
For the balsamic dressing, just mix 4 parts extra virgin olive oil with 1 part balsamic vinegar, give it a good stir (to make an emulsion), and drizzle it over the sliced meat. It’s so easy, but it works so well.
Greek style food is another example of simple, traditional food that works well on a grill. Place diced lamb or pork in a bowl with olive oil, the juice of one lemon, and a pinch of dried oregano. Let it sit for an hour, and then put it onto skewers. Ten minutes on the grill, then serve with salad and tzaziki in a pita.
For the Tzaziki:
1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped into small pieces
225ml, or half a pint, of yogurt
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
· 1 tablespoon olive oil
· 1 teaspoon vinegar
· ½ teaspoon salt
Mix all the ingredients together and put them in the fridge for at least an hour so the flavors can blend.
All you need are simple flavors and fresh foods. The camping trip through Europe has really led to some great BBQ grill recipes, and I hope this year will be no different.