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What's your beef with barbies?
7:00am Saturday 23rd June 2012 in Lifestyle
Mike Reid, head chef at Argentine steak restaurant Gaucho, gives his top tips for serving up perfect barbecued dishes this summer.
By Diana Pilkington.
Although we don't always have the sunshine to justify cooking up a storm in the garden, us Brits certainly have the enthusiasm.
But while sausages and chicken wings have their place at an al fresco feast, there's always room to draw inspiration from other barbecue-loving nations.
Mike Reid is executive chef at restaurant chain Gaucho, which is best known for its Argentine steaks.
He says: "British people love the barbecue. We don't get as much practice as everyone else because we don't have the weather, but in the last 10 years the popularity of the barbecue has really grown.
"We love to do sausages, burgers and lamb in Britain, but I'd recommend steak - the bigger the better."
He adds: "If you don't have steak it's not a real barbecue in my opinion."
In Argentina, the average person eats 500kg of beef in a lifetime and the "asado" (barbie) is as traditional a social event as the Sunday roast is to the UK.
Reid says: "Do what we do in Argentina and use the bigger cuts.
"Go to the butcher's, get a nice big joint of meat, put it on in the morning and slow grill it. It will be beautiful, one of the best things you've ever cooked on the barbecue.
"A cut like rib eye is perfect. It's got enough marbling of fat to keep it moist as it's grilling so it breaks down and flavours the beef even more."
For an extra burst of flavour with your barbecued food, the chef recommends preparing marinades in advance, using charcoal where possible, and experimenting with different flavoured wood chips, such as lavender or whisky.
He adds: "If you're doing burgers or steaks on the barbecue, make sure the coals are a nice temperature and leave them burning for a bit before you start cooking so it levels out.
"Cook the meat on a high temperature when you start, and when you turn it drop the temperature a touch - or move it to a cooler part.
"You get a nice colouring on the first side, which gives a crispy charcoal flavour, and then you reduce the heat and cook it through nice and slow."