Since arriving in Ireland in 1999 I have only been invited to two BBQs by Irish people until 2-6-2013. Recently I got a invite during the past week for Sunday the 2 June and another from other friends for Bank Holiday Monday 3 June. So I wonder to myself will I have to wait another 13 years or is there a BBQ revolution in Ireland.
Don’t get me wrong I have been invited to loads of BBQ in Ireland over all these years but from South Africans and other expats living or passing through Ireland. One of my Canadian students invited me the other day to a leg of lamb BBQ. This was her second BBQ in her new charcoal kettle and I was mightily impressed. I thought it rather “ballsey” considering there were some other guests also invited and the pressure was on. What a success it was and I must say I was confident she would pull it of.
So to get back to the two invites in two days. One was on Gas and the other was on Charcoal. I enjoyed both and it was lovely to just be a guest at somebody’s BBQ and stand around socializing. Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera at the Gas BBQ. The hostess made these lovely chicken burgers that she gave credit to one of the famous female Irish chefs. Yes it was a recipe but pulled off to perfection and rather extravagant. I don’t think the hostess gave herself enough credit. It’s not everyday that you hear about homemade chicken burgers and not even sure if the chef’s recipe is intended for BBQ but it worked on the BBQ. I have Barbecued for the host a few times so had never had the privilege to watch him bbq before and thought he was rather good. There was loads of things to be done on the BBQ as there was a swarm of kids. What scored big browney points with me is although the grid was rather clean looking to start with he still went and rinsed it off and gave it a good scrubbing. There are a lot of people who could take a lesson from this man on how to BBQ and prepare before you start! It is always a good gauge if somebody can handle multiple meats and different types, and yes your man pulled it of rather well. I explained to my friend that in South Africa when you host the BBQ/Braai you’re treated as the world champ and nobody argues with you or tells you what to do. You might not agree but you keep your mouth shut because when they are at your house it’s the same reversed. The only time when you can do something is if the host has to leave the fire for any reason (more often to get himself and others beers), then you get the honour of being handed the tongs and become know as the “tong master”. As this is one of the highest most privileged honours to bestow on you, you will act as your host ambassador and do everything to make sure he isn’t let down. When he returns you will move down the ranks again and know your place in the pecking order. As the saying goes” this is serious business” and all other comrades standing around the fire will be jealous that you were given the tong masters honours. The most bizarre thing happened, my next BBQ was for late lunch on Monday. For some unforeseen reason I ended up back at the first bbq house (which took place on the Sunday) on Monday morning before lunch so we BBQ’d the left over steaks that hadn’t been cooked and had some more grub.
As I finished this BBQ I drove to my next BBQ in Co Meath. I was told not to bring a single thing and I checked with the host and hostess if i should bring a coil of BOERWORS, I was told no, please don’t as there is plenty of food. I was informed that including myself there would be 8 adults. The host had been to one of my classes so was wondering what he was going to do as this was all a surprise. It was on a barrel bbq that’s divided in half with two separate grates. He used charcoal briquettes and a chimney type starter to start his charcoal .
At one stage during all this I heard the host ask his guests individually how do they like their meat rare/medium/well done etc., which impressed me! I know that he hadn’t BBQ’d for all these people before so wasn’t sure of their preference, where my previous host knew his guest well and gave them what he knew was their preference.
A fish basket /grate is something that I would normally not use but is a good idea to keep your fish together and whatever sauce/basting or flavours you want to trap in your fish.
Again your man handled himself well and managed to not only be a good host but also BBQ multiple things without spoiling any of the food. Sorry to the host for not getting any shots of the rib eye and sirloin steaks I was to busy stuffing my face, well done.And there was loads of salads . Vegetarians would have thought they were in heaven until they smelled all the meat !
These two invites are good examples of a good bbq and want to thank you for the invite and really enjoyed it .What makes it also brilliant they were done much the same, one on Gas and the other on Charcoal. So no matter what you use charcoal or gas get out there and have some fun.
Because we BBQ so often in South Africa and if you are invited to a somebody’s house on the weekend it’s a automatic given that it a BBQ. This is something that Irish people might consider - a “BRING and BRAAI “ Yes I know if it’s a special Birthday ,anniversary or once a year special event then spend loads of money buying all the meats and booze for the BBQ and just let your guests arrive with the normal courtesy bottle of wine. For a more regular BBQ use the “BRING and BRAAI” ( BRING YOUR OWN & BBQ) concept. If you cater for people every weekend as we do in SA it will bankrupt you and that’s why we devised this system. It’s not an insult it’s just the norm! So for example you bring your preference in wine or any other fancy, your meat of preference and maybe a salad or dessert if requested by the hostess. This not only relives your financial burden but also ensures that your guest eats the meat of their preference. Some woman in South Africa will only eat beef fillet , chicken fillets and chicken kebabs (maybe spiced). The host will always have a rather good supply of refreshment/ beer to keep you cool and a supply of boerwors to add to everybody’s plate and as a taster while standing around the BBQ. All the host has to do now is Braai all the different meats brought by everybody. This way everybody is happy and nobody is insulted by what they get and so it happens the next weekend again at another friends house. This means more BBQ’s to go to and also the social aspect of mixing with you r friends on a regular basis around a BBQ