Can you barbecue anywhere? Chef Tony finds out
The definition of a barbecue is cooking over an open flame, either over coals or gas (I prefer charcoal, gives the food a better flavour). So, when the editor of Northern Soul asked me to review the new Calor Grill-2-Go portable BBQ, I quibbled over the use of the word ‘barbecue’.
Calor claims that its new gas grill will allow you to barbecue anywhere. I know I am being a bit picky, but it’s not a BBQ, it’s a portable gas stove that you can boil, sear or grill on. But not all at once.
Still, in for a penny, in for a pound. I got cooking. On the menu were tuna steaks with grilled Mediterranean vegetables, served with a salsa verde (see below for the recipe).
Let’s deal with the negatives first. It’s a portable grill that needs a 5kg calor gas bottle to power it, hardly a piece of equipment to take “anywhere”. And you can’t use all three cooking methods at the same time. The grill is on the other side of the searing plate and you need to remove the plate to boil over the open flame.
As far as the size is concerned, it’s ok for two but anymore hungry mouths to feed and you’re struggling to fit all the food on. All of which means you have to think hard about what you’re going to cook on there. I also had a problem seeing the flame in the sunlight (yes, I managed to find a nice day to trial the grill). I had to place my hand over the heat to find out if it had lit correctly.
Now for the positives.
This stove produces excellent results. With a fully controllable flame at the turn of a dial, this means you can adjust the temperature of the grill as needed, increase the heat to sear or decrease to cook through. You can cook on it like you would a frying pan or griddle on your home cooker top, meaning if you can cook a steak at home then you can recreate the experience in the middle of a field (handy for festivals when you’re sick to death of chips and burritos). There’s a small hole in the top that allows you to line up with the gas control knob so you can view the flame strength.
So, is the Grill-2-Go a keeper?
CHEF TONY SAYS: I will certainly be adding this to my camping equipment – it’ll free up space on my camping stove for other items if I’m cooking for more than two. But I’ll definitely be sticking to a charcoal BBQ if I want an authentic taste.
Grilled tuna steak with grilled Mediterranean vegetables and salsa verde
2 tuna steaks
2 peppers – colours of your choice
1 bunch of asparagus (continuing using this while it is in season)
For the salsa verde
1 bunch of fly leaf parsley
1 clove of garlic
Half a lemon
As always, salt and pepper
First make the salsa verde. Chop the garlic as fine as possible. Using some sea salt and the back of the knife crush the garlic into a purée, place in a bowl, chop the anchovies, capers and parsley as fine as you can. Mix the parsley, anchovies and capers into the garlic, add a squeeze of lemon and add the olive oil to loosen. Season to taste.
Chop peppers into quarters and de-seed, slice the courgette in oblong slices, prepare the asparagus by chopping or snapping of the hard stalk, toss all ingredients in a bowl with some oil and add salt and pepper.
Heat your grill pan til just smoking, add your peppers skin side down. Do not stir or shake as you want to try to create bar marks on the peppers. After about two minutes add your courgettes. After about four minutes when your vegetables are nearly cooked, place your tuna steaks on the grill. I like mine red in the middle which requires about one minute on each side depending on thickness, but cook to your likeness. Move your peppers and courgettes to plates and add your asparagus to the grill. Remove asparagus and tuna once cooked and drizzle with the salsa verde.
Next week: Chef Tony visits Manchester’s newest burger joint, Byron.
PROPER FOOD FOR PROPER APPETITES
Each week, discover recipes to nourish the soul, all compiled and concocted by Chef Tony, a gastronome with 15 years’ of experience cooking across the North West. Chef Tony has worked in some of the region’s best kitchens, including the award-winning Nutters in Rochdale and The Lowry at Salford Quays.
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