We Britons love a barbecue, but it’s fair to say that, for all our bravery when grilling in the rain, we can be a little timid when it comes to what we cook.
Whereas in some countries a barbecue will probably include something like a slow-cooked brisket, a large cut of beef or a whole fish, in Britain you’ll often turn up to find sausages and burgers – drumsticks, skewers or halloumi at a push.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Almost anything can be cooked over hot coals, and it’s time to up our collective barbecue games. These recipes are a good place to start.
Fillet with dill béarnaise, charred asparagus
As a general rule fillet steak is a rather expensive case of style over substance. Sure, it’s very, very tender, but for that you sacrifice flavour. One truly glorious day, beef-master Olly Woolnough of Meatmatters fed me a fillet from an ex-dairy cow that he’d dry-aged for 14 days. Game. Changer. Full of rich ribbons of fat marbling, both tender and ludicrously tasty. If I couldn’t get a fillet this good, I would probably use hanger/onglet instead. Fraction of the cost, way more flavour.
I make the béarnaise over the barbecue, moving the pan on and off the heat to keep the temperature nice and steady. I love to encourage people to just think of a charcoal fire as your heat source, just like you would a hob, but you can make this inside if you prefer.