I don't think there is a best way on How to Barbecue, each country has their own techniques that bring out the best flavour of their meat, their local produce, and traditions.
Barbecuing requires skills and practice and with time we have developed our routine inspired by the countries we lived in, the people we talk to, and the restaurants we have frequented.
If you have already downloaded the charts for Cuts of Beef for Barbecuing (names in English, French and Italian), and are now familiar with the different cuts of beef, you might be interested in "our" best practice on How to Barbecue.
So here it is.
When we bought our villa, there was already a 'proper' barbecue installed on the veranda, a solid barbecue with a built-in chimney and large metal doors. One addition we made was to add a custom built height adjuster for the grill over the fire allowing us to regulate the intensity of the heat.
It is important to choose the right charcoal. Some burns very quickly so you will have to add more charcoal while cooking, disturbing the intensity of the heat. There are also some cheap brands that spark and they can be quite dangerous. We always buy a “Restaurant” quality charcoal.
When we have aromatic cuttings from the garden such as rosemary, laurel, oranges and lemon branches we mix them with the charcoal to add flavour.
Before putting them in the fire, we first steep them in water for 30 minutes and drain them well.
They add a subtle smoky flavour to the meat.
Light the fire
To light the fire we use fuel-free lighters so the smell of the fuel does not pollute the meat. I heard that the Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter is very effective, and it is on my wish list to buy. You can find it on my Amazon shop. You can also find other useful tools for barbecuing.
Marinating the meat
While the fire builds up, we marinate the meat.
We use a very simple method to marinate the meat which enhances the flavour without overpowering it.
We prefer our meat medium rare, so we buy thick slices of beef that will not easily overcook in the centre.
Depending on the quantity of meat, we marinate it with:
• 1 or 2 tbsp of coarse salt
• 2 spoons of olive oil
• 1 tbsp herbs Provencal
We massage the meat for about 30 seconds to make sure it absorbs the seasoning.
The Flank Skirt should be marinated with stronger spices. It is a less tender and stronger flavoured piece of meat, so stronger spices will enrich its flavour. I recommend marinating for at least 1 hr before cooking it.
For the Fajita you can season it with:
• 2 cloves of garlic minced
• 2 limes - the juice of the limes
• 2 jalapeño chilli
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tbsp chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon of cummin
In Brazil the Flank steak is called Fraldinha and is a popular cut used in the Brasilian Churrasco. it is typically seasoned with:Flank steak is called Fraldinha and is a popular cut used in the Brasilian Churrasco. it is typically seasoned with:
• 1/4 cup (60 ml) of soya sauce
• 1/4 cup (60 ml) of extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tbsp of water
• 2 cloves of garlic minced
It is not recommended to take the meat directly from the fridge for barbecuing, rather it should be kept at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
Once the meat is cooking on the charcoal, it is best to turn it at regular intervals, this will ensure that the meat is cooked properly on both sides. Depending on how you like your meat cooked i.e. rare, medium rare or well done, you will need to continually check the temperature of the meat so that it does not overcook - there is nothing worse than an overcooked steak!
And here are some final results:
Serving the meet
Before serving, the meat should be allowed to rest for a few minutes, preferably covered with aluminium foil to retain the heat. Once this has been done, we then place the meat on a wooden board and cut into slices, ensuring the juices are poured back over the meat.
And if you want to be original, serve the beef on a Gaucho Asado Picnic kit as they do in Argentina!