The BBQ season is hotting up, so get your coals and firelighters at the ready and make sure you have a delicious BBQ recipe to impress your guests this summer.
DIRTY CHOPS WITH ROSEMARY BUTTER AND PICKLED FENNEL
‘Dirty’ cooking simply refers to cooking directly on the coals. With that in mind, it’s really important to use natural firelighters and decent lump wood charcoal, free from any chemicals or other nasty surprises. Laying the meat straight on the coals results in incredible flavour and, importantly, the meat doesn’t burn because there’s no oxygen between the surface of the coals and the meat so it can’t catch fire. The only tricky part is the skin on the pork chops – make sure that it’s hanging off the edge of the coals so that it cooks indirectly (the skin will cook far quicker than the rest of the chop). This also works brilliantly with thick-cut steaks and whole vegetables. Just keep a brush to hand to dust off any loose flecks of charcoal.
SERVES 4 | PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES PLUS CHILLING | COOK TIME: 20 MINUTES
4 thick-cut pork chops, skin on
Fine sea salt
FOR THE PICKLED FENNEL
1 large fennel bulb, quartered, cored and finely sliced
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
200ml boiling water
150ml white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons caster sugar
FOR THE ROSEMARY BUTTER
4 sprigs of rosemary, leaves chopped
Good pinch of sea salt flakes
75g unsalted butter, at room temperature
A few hours before cooking, stack the pork chops skin-side up in a roasting tin. Boil a kettle of water and carefully pour the just-boiled water over the skin. Pat the chops dry, then lay them
on a wire rack, uncovered, and chill in the fridge for 2–3 hours.
To make the pickled fennel, put the fennel and salt into a large bowl and toss to combine, then gently knead together for 5 minutes until softened. Combine the boiling water, vinegar and sugar in a jug and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour over the fennel and leave to cool to room temperature. The fennel will be ready to eat straight away, but tastes even better if you make it a day ahead, storing it in the fridge once it has cooled.
To make the rosemary butter, put the rosemary leaves into a mortar with the salt and grind to a fine paste with a pestle. Gradually work the butter in until you have a vibrant green paste. Spoon into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and chill until needed.
Preheat the barbecue and remove the grill. Meanwhile, remove the chops from the fridge and season with plenty of salt. When the coals are glowing white, push them to one side of the barbecue. Lay the chops directly on the coals; the idea is to rest the meat on the coals but leave the skin hanging off the edge. This way you’ll get delicious crackling and perfectly cooked meat. Cook the chops for 7–8 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from the coals, give them a quick dust to remove any ash then set aside to rest for 5 minutes. Serve with the pickled fennel and rosemary butter on the side.
The Carousel would like to thank Kyle Books for this edited extract from Fire and Smoke by Rich Harris (Kyle Books, $45). It is available now.