Firing up the barbecue for one last blast this summer? Max Waldron, our in-cabin chef at the Forest of Dean shares his top tips and techniques to make it a meal to remember. We won’t let the summer go without a fight, so get those coals glowing and learn the secrets to perfect chicken drumsticks, mouth-watering marinades and why yoghurt is good for the barbecue.
How to barbecue chicken drumsticks
Firstly, use free-range chicken, for flavour and because of the welfare issues. Go to your local butcher – or if you are staying with Forest Holidays, check your Forest Retreat shop where they make a point of stocking local and high-welfare produce.
A simple but effective technique is coat the drumsticks in soy sauce, which gives flavour and a lovely crisp skin; let them marinate for 30-60 minutes. Light your barbie 20-30 minutes in advance and cook the drumsticks 6 inches or so from the coals. Those stainless steel or foil trays with holes are very convenient, reducing the chance of burning the drumsticks and making it easier to turn them.
Give them 5 minutes and then turn them; keep on turning every 5 minutes for 20 minutes or so to ensure they cook evenly. Move them closer to or further from the coals depending on how furiously they seem to be cooking (or cheat: after marinating, cook in the oven at 190 degrees for 20 minutes, then simply finish them on the barbie for 5-10 minutes to get that smoky BBQ flavour).
Mouth-watering marinades for your BBQ drumsticks
- Lemon and herbs-a squeeze of lemon, crushed garlic, a little drizzle of oil and the leaves from a few sprigs of rosemary or oregano/marjoram.
- Sweet and sticky -a 50:50 mix of pomegranate molasses and honey, with a crushed garlic clove, a little olive oil and some ground coriander.
- Asian inspired -a little sambal oelek (an Asian chilli sauce, from supermarkets), soy sauce, fish sauce, and a couple of pinches of ground allspice and turmeric.
- Curry lovers -a good curry paste mixed with a little coconut cream.
- Moroccan marinade -minced preserved lemon, turmeric, coriander and minced garlic.
Serve your drumsticks with a dip, such as sweet chilli sauce, a mix of yoghurt, crushed garlic and pomegranate molasses, or a mix of yoghurt, minced green olives and chopped coriander.
Instead of serving with the usual salad, try some veg such as red onion, aubergine, courgette and peppers. Chop into chunks, coat in oil and a little salt, thread onto skewers and heat on the barbie.
More delicious barbecue ideas
- Cook whole fish - sea bass, sea bream, mackerel or trout. Stuff with a couple of slices of lemon and a sprig of rosemary. 5-10 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Serve with mayo, hollandaise, or a mix of chopped parsley, garlic, capers, anchovy, lemon juice and zest.
- Cube some lamb or take boneless chicken thighs and thread onto skewers; marinate in yoghurt, crushed garlic and a generous amount of curry paste, or a mix of turmeric, ground coriander, ginger and cinnamon.
- Try a whole butterflied leg of lamb with the same marinade. Cook for 45 minutes or so, turning only a couple of times. The yoghurt marinade helps to avoid burning the meat. Cooking a whole leg butterflied means you get the thinner bits well done and the thicker bits rarer.
Max trained in Italy before setting up a restaurant in a medieval hill town overlooking the Mediterranean in the South of France. Max specialises in the bold flavours and foods of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, marrying them together to create his signature style. He firmly believes in using only free range or organic meat and poultry along with local, seasonal ingredients whenever he can.
At Forest Holidays Max has catered for hen parties, friends’ reunions and multi-generational family get-togethers. Max says “I just love cooking for people because I adore food and get great pleasure from seeing people enjoy themselves and indulge their appetites.”
I just love cooking for people because I adore food and get great pleasure from seeing people enjoy themselves.
Staying at the Forest of Dean? If you would like to hire Max for a special meal, whatever the occasion, simply include it in your online booking or call our booking hotline on 03330 110495 and we’ll sort it out for you.
In the meantime, light up the barbecue and tuck in. Bon apetit!