Turn Up The Heat This BBQ Season

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Firing up the BBQ is one of the best life hacks when you need to feed an eclectic crowd of guests with equally eclectic dietary preferences. Unless your home comes with a butler or you’ve recently acquired a Michelin star, you risk mingling with the cooking pots instead of your guests.

Saying that, the downside of the whole BBQ game could be the stereotypical culinary scenario: burger, chicken skewers, ‘boring’ salad that everyone forgets to eat and the half-burnt corn on the cob no one wants.

Well, no more. The way to ‘Better BBQ’ is a short trip up the escalator of Oxford Street’s John Lewis to the rooftop of the Gardening Society. Mississippi-born, Southern BBQ expert and chef Brad McDonald of Shotgun’s rooftop pop-up has looked beyond the traditional beef patty and its classic sidekicks, creating fiery menu results with Tabasco® sauces.

Prior to tucking into Brad’s reimagined BBQ starters, I was handed a tequila cocktail made with Tabasco’s Green Sauce. I don’t drink tequila and I am one of those people who say ‘Hold the Tabasco in that Bloody Mary’, so I treaded carefully. I didn’t have to. It was dangerously refreshing.

A few dance songs later from the nearby speaker, Brad’s BBQ starter delicacies materialised: Devilled Eggs, Pimento Cheese O’ Crackers and Pickled Shrimp. As far as the ‘finger food’ goes, these were wonderfully moreish. A perfect prelude to the sizzling main event: ‘The Bur-Goat’, i.e. Fiery Goat Burger with Feta Spread.

Brad elaborates: “Burgers have become complicated of late, almost Frankenstein-ish with the likes of meat on meat and mac and cheese burger towers emerging. Making things better isn’t always about making them bigger, that’s why I have created a simple burger that’s more akin to summer.”

Goat meat has risen in popularity recently, popping up on the menus at the high-end restaurants as well as retailers and the farmers’ markets. It’s favoured due to its versatility and leanness, as well as its nutritious properties, with less fat than beef, pork, lamb and chicken.

Brad’s spin on the traditional cheeseburger starts with a juicy and flavoursome goat burger mix, which includes bacon, garlic, cumin, coriander and Tabasco sauce, this continues with a roasted beefsteak tomato, red onion, cos lettuce and a savoury, toasted brioche bun and finishes with a dollop of easily-made Feta Cheese Spread. For even more heat, you can switch your traditional Tabasco sauce for the fiery fruitiness of Tabasco Habanero sauce.

This meaty masterpiece was accompanied by Chargrilled Sweet Corn and Tabasco Chipotle sauce Aioli salad mix. Another moreish BBQ idea.

The inventive BBQ menu had one more trick up its sleeve: A Brownie Sundae made with Tabasco Chipotle Sauce. Weird to imagine but in the world of Chocolate and Beetroot or Goat Cheese and Strawberry combinations on the menus, it is only natural progress to experiment with flavours. And it was, of course, scrumptious.

Zuzana Ritchie

Zuzana Ritchie

Embracing the multiple career personality disorder she developed after moving to London in her twenties, Zuzana Ritchie can be spotted around the city in the capacity of a make-up artist on Monday, a voice-over artist on Tuesday and a beauty writer on Wednesday.

For the rest of the week she will take up various other roles like an amateur sunset sky photographer, a red wine enthusiast, a dog’s best friend, a bookworm, a martial arts fan, a humour addict and not a very good guitar strummer.

Leaving her previous job at a publishing house to freelance instead has resulted in more free time to become a professional beauty products hunter by day and a female superheroes stories gatherer by night.

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