It’s National BBQ week next week, and this year it’s going to be a bit different. But carnivores can at least make sure they meat (sic) the occasion with some quality cuts from Dukeshill
BBQs are not ideal for our socially distanced times. One of the most enjoyable aspects of a BBQ is that the kids can play in the distance, the women can have a drink together, and the men can all stand around the BBQ like it was the open bonnet of a car, offering advice to the’chef’.
Gosh, how sexist! But admit it, that is how things normally pan out and we all know it.
This year though it’s going to be very different, most of us will be just the household around the coals, although perhaps we can converse with the neighbours by shouting through the fence. That is still allowed isn’t it?
And I do realise many of us do not have gardens. That sexy flat in Hackney was great when every other business nearby was a cool bar or a trendy restaurant, but now the flat’s charms are harder to see.
So, assuming you’re reading this because you can actually BBQ outside, or are able to make a fair job of it inside, there is the question of the meat.
While supermarket meat is fine day to day, a BBQ calls for a bit of an effort. And if like me you don’t eat much meat, not because you’re a full-blown veggie but because you think a balanced diet is the best kind of diet, then you want the finest quality meat when you do eat it.
Which leads me to our subject today, Dukeshill the online butchers.Founded in 1985, they originally only sold Wiltshire Ham from a converted cowshed, but fast forward to 2020 and they’ve won the Farm Shop & Deli Online Business of the Year Award 2020 and have over 450 lovely things to buy on their website.
Well actually I don’t have the dosh for one of the Kamado Joe Grills they sell, although I will seriously get one if my ship ever sails in, but I can afford their BBQ meats.
So we sent off for more meat than two people could eat, to make the delivery worthwhile, and we put the excess in the freezer after first making room by throwing out mysterious bags labelled gf7ys5 2017, as well as a giant box of ice cream that was now a science experiment.
Ordering is easy, the website is well-designed to help you navigate to where you want to be quickly. There’s also a handy’inspiration’ page to get you started.
We were a bit spoilt for choice, but that’s hardly a criticism.
On the BBQ section are things like Chinese Five Spice Pulled Pork, Prime Steak Burgers, BBQ Pork Rib Racks, BBQ Pulled Pork with Bourbon and a range of sausages. Across the site are steaks, lamb chops, pork chops and an interesting range of rubs and sauces, too.
Delivery came on the day arranged and between the hours expected, which was good as meat is of course perishable.Ideally you want to be in when it arrives, but that’s not too hard to sort out at the moment.
The first thing noticeable was that the cardboard box was sturdy and had no damage from its travels, Inside was a kind of space blanket affair to contain the meats and it was all kept cold by frozen water packs, not dry ice or anything slightly dangerous like that.The meat was very cool to the touch, which was reassuring.
Obviously we could not wait entirely for BBQ week to check it out all out, so we pulled the BBQ Pork Rib Racks (2 racks) from the box.I do like ribs, and I have often done the ten hours smoking thing, but there’s no denying precooked one like these are far easier.
These came in a bag to hold the generously sauce-covered meat, which had then been put into a thick plastic bag and vacuum sealed. Very efficient, if a bit of a battle to get into.
We could have warmed them in the oven, a perfectly good method, but we lit a very small pile of charcoal off to one side in the kettle BBQ instead. Just to make it more of an event and also to add a bit of that smoky extra goodness.
Half an hour later we tucked inVery thick meaty ribs with excellent flavour of their own. The sauce was quite mild, so the meat got to shine, but personally next time I will add some of my own flavourings to their sauce to, as Jamie likes to say,’kick it up a notch’.
A few days later and it was time for the steaks. Ribeye steaks.
These were good and thick, well marbled and prime quality for the money, and of course the BBQ is the best place for them. Although a red-hot griddle on the stove is a close second place.
Lightly salted and peppered just before going on the BBQ (salt too soon and the moisture is drawn out too much) these cooked in under eight minutes.
In fact, rather annoyingly I over cooked them for our taste. We like steak rare to medium and these were medium. All my own fault as I didn’t use my Thermapen, which I couldn’t find in time, owing to a bit of a mess in the kitchen.
Use a Thermapen and you need never get meat wrong again, it is the BBQers best friend.Anyway even at medium these were top steaks, the fat as delicious as the meat and served up with airfryer chips from our faithful friend the Ninja Foodi Grill.
These meats were just a toe in the water of the massive choice Dukeshill has to offer, and you’ve got time to get supplies in before BBQ week arrives.
We’ll be trying the chicken thighs and breast next, and then some sausages.
You can’t have a BBQ without sausages.www.dukeshillham.co.uk