Whilst we traditionally see large joints of meat being slowly cooked on the BBQ, there are so many other great food you can cook on your BBQ and today we are going to talk about baking. When I chat with people and tell them we like to bake on our BBQ at home, it often raises a few eyebrows as I’m sure they are imagining a Victoria Sponge being seared on all sides but with indirect cooking, your BBQ will act just like your oven at in the kitchen.
Susan Stoneman provides today’s tips and advice on how she likes to bake on her Kamado Joe at home. Susan is an experienced home cook who has won awards for her cooking and writes regular articles for UK BBQ Mag where you can find her tasty recipes.
Susan works at Big Fire where she demonstrates how to cook on all kinds of BBQ’s and Wood Fired Ovens. It’s been a pleasure chatting with Susan over the last few weeks and learning about her journey through cooking. You won’t find a friendlier, more open person to chat with about BBQ!
“Your BBQ is not just for cooking meat” says Sue!
Usually a ‘Home Cook’, but since getting into outdoor cooking using a variety of ovens & BBQs, I’ve discovered that they are not just for cooking meat. Be it bread, cake or a pudding, you name it, I’ll cook it. There is nothing to stop you cooking a complete meal in your BBQ.
To make your BBQ do what your domestic oven does, you need to set it up for indirect cooking. I use my Kamado Joe for most of my cakes and bakes so I’ll take you through the stages. There is a thermometer placed in the top dome which gives a fairly accurate reading of the internal temperature and you need to know the temperature of your BBQ to enable you to do a successful cook.
Once you’ve had your coals alight for about ten minutes, put in your deflector plates on the lowest position and then insert the accessory ring and then the grills on the top setting. Close the lid, make sure the bottom vent is fully open and slide across the daisy wheel on the top vent and get the temperature up to 160C or the required temperature for your bake. Begin to close the vents down and leave it for a few minutes until the temperature has stabilised. You now have your oven – outside.
The thickness of the ceramic will insulate the oven and help retain the heat. The circular shape helps create super air circulation creating an ideal zone for baking your dish. Bakes take slightly longer to cook in the Joe so allow an extra five to ten minutes on your usual baking time, mainly because you are more likely to lift the lid to take a sneaky peek from time to time to check it’s cooking perfectly (not burning) and to allow time for the BBQ to get back up to temperature.
It’s ok to use your normal baking tins in the Joe, even earthenware dishes work well as you are not getting them up to extreme temperatures so they shouldn’t crack with the heat. Always grease and line your baking tins with parchment paper. This will make it so much easier when it comes to taking it out of the tin and cutting into it to serve it up. The paper doesn’t burn. Even if you just line the base, that is most important as the heat is coming from underneath. You are unlikely to get a soggy bottom, and you certainly don’t want a burnt bottom! And of course with the divide and conquer system in the Kamado Joe, you can have a joint of meat cooking on one half of the grill and be cooking bread or cake on the other half at the same time. I will quite often have a piece of pork shoulder in for a low and slow for about 7 hours at 120C and increase the temperature 30C for half an hour during the cook just to bake a loaf and lower it again as soon as it has cooked.
You get a lovely even cook and a lightly browned top. Sponges come out light and moist and bread has a lovely soft texture with a crunchy all over crust. Your guests will be so impressed when you tell them that the cake or loaf you have served up has been cooked on the BBQ!
Cooking on your BBQ doesn’t have to be confined to meat. Baking breads, cakes and puddings is a great way to make use of the remaining life in your coals when your main meal has come off. We regularly throw on a tray of brownies to bake as we are eating our dinner.
I hope this gives you the inspiration to think outside the box when it comes to cooking on your BBQ. I want to say a massive thanks to Susan for helping out with such a great tip. Remember to check out Susan’s recipes in the UK BBQ Mag and follow her cooks over on Twitter.