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Top 10 BBQ tips from Surrey Life’s two-times butcher of the year, Simon Taylor

PUBLISHED: 18:04 21 June 2017 | UPDATED: 18:04 21 June 2017

Simon Taylor from Surrey Hills Butchers, the current Surrey Life butcher of the year

Simon Taylor from Surrey Hills Butchers, the current Surrey Life butcher of the year

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Whatever the weather, us Brits love nothing more than firing up the barbecue come the summer – and who better to ask for the rules of his game than two-times Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards winner Simon Taylor from Oxshott’s Surrey Hills Butchers? No more burnt bangers…

Tips and tricks for getting the meat element of a BBQ spot on (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto/AlexRaths)Tips and tricks for getting the meat element of a BBQ spot on (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto/AlexRaths)

Are you that person who turns up to a BBQ with four anaemic-looking bangers made of reclaimed meat thinking you have done your bit, even though it was an after thought and they literally were the last sausages at Sainsbury’s, or are you the other kind: four prime cut, 45 day dry-aged, 350g côte de boeufs? Well I know who I want at my barbecue!

Honestly it doesn’t take much, just a tiny little bit of foresight…

So the weather is looking okay this weekend. Can you fit in a trip to the butchers? My money says that if you really want to you can – and, well, should as it’ll save your pockets too.

Pound for pound, if you compare what you are getting from supermarkets to what you get from your butcher, the difference in cost is vast and that’s before the added value of the professional advice you receive.

I’ve heard it said that some people are intimidated by going into the local butchers. Honestly, don’t be. Gone are the days of the grunting red faced man behind the counter. In fact, interaction and advice have become a huge part of butchery these days.

I won’t go in to this country’s disconnection to meat right now as that is a story for another blog, but what I will say is that we have most definitely changed roles in how we buy and source our meat too...

Simon’s top 10 tips for your outdoor cooking:

1. Go and see your local butcher! We start with quality not quantity.

2. Try simmering your sausages before heading to the BBQ. Sausages can actually be a little tricky to get right, so simmer them for around 25 minutes and they will essentially be ready cooked. You then just need to colour them on the grill.

3. Instead of trying to fit as many products as possible onto the grill why not try something different like a butterflied leg of lamb or spatchcocked chicken? Place them whole on a large chopping board after they’re cooked and let everyone dive in.

4. Make your own burgers. It’s so easy to do and you get to control exactly what’s going into your food. Start with some good quality mince from your butcher then add whatever flavours you have in the store cupboard. Horseradish is a winner for me or caramelised onion chutney. Mix them in and simply push between the palms of your hands to make bespoke patties.

5. Don’t overcook your food. Yes we must be careful but we don’t want to ruin the fantastic meat you went out of your way to the butchers to get now, do we? If you are worried or a little uneasy serving anything unless you are 400% sure, then I highly recommend buying a temperature probe. They are not expensive but help to ease worries - get your food above 75C and you’re safe.

6. Be clean when you BBQ. Wash your hands often and don’t cross contaminate (don’t let raw and cooked foods come into contact by using different tongs for each). It should help to ensure your family and friends are just as happy after the barbecue as during...

7. Try a reverse sear on your steaks. This is where you start your steaks in a low heat oven (130 for around 25 minutes works for me), and then simply finish on the BBQ for that beautiful caramelisation.

8. Get that pinny on! This will protect you and your food - no oils or sauces on you; no you on the meat.

9. Make barbecuing a family thing. It doesn’t have to be a solo man mission! Get the kids involved, supervised of course, as it can be a great opportunity to teach them some fire safety and encourage them to try new things – there’s always the treat of cooking marshmallows on the mellowing coals, too!

10. See rule number one!

• Visit Simon and his team at Surrey Hills Butchers, Aberdeen House, High Street, Oxshott, Surrey KT22 0JR. Tel: 01372 844890. Web: http://butcherscook.com

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If you’d like to contribute a foodie column or recipe to the Surrey Life website or appear in our magazine’s Gourmet Life pages, contact matthew.williams@surreylife.co.uk

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