All types of meat can be barbecued, but the various cuts have to be treated differently. For instance, thin steaks, pork chops and chicken legs cook in a very different way from a whole leg of lamb, pork ribs or a large chicken. If you were to cook them all the same way, the larger cuts would end up nicely cooked on the outside but raw in the middle. Here I'm going to show you how to barbecue larger cuts of meat so they're flavored and moist in the middle and golden and crisp on the outside every time. The thing to remember is to cook the meat through in the oven first, without coloring it, to make it lovely and juicy, then finish it off on the barbecue, basting the meat with the marinade and cooking juices. PS This recipe makes enough marinade for 1 of the types of meat listed in the ingredients. However, I love to do three different types of meat at the same time - if you want to do that, make three times the amount of marinade.
For the marinade:
1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bunch fresh thyme or lemon thyme, leaves picked
Bunch fresh rosemary, leaves picked, a few whole sprigs reserved
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 bulb garlic, broken into cloves and peeled
4 heaped teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup organic tomato ketchup
8 tablespoons olive oil
10 bay leaves
1 (3-pound) free-range or organic chicken, spatchcocked or 1 (7-pound) leg of lamb, on the bone, slashed evenly 1/4-inch deep or 4 1/4 pounds pork rib racks
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and light your barbecue about 40 minutes later.
To make your marinade, grind the cumin seeds, fennel seeds and cloves in a pestle and mortar with some salt and pepper. Chop the thyme and rosemary leaves, orange zest and garlic together finely. Put into a bowl with the ground spices, then add the rest of the marinade ingredients and mix together.
Rub your chosen meat all over with the marinade, really getting it into all the nooks and crannies and, in case of the lamb, the slashes. Place the meat in a snug-fitting roasting pan, top with any leftover marinade and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake the meat in the preheated oven until sweet and tender. This will take 1 1/2 hours for the pork ribs and the lamb (but if you like your lamb pink, it will only need 1 hour), and 1 hour and 20 minutes for the chicken.
Now you're going to finish your meat on a medium hot barbecue. Place it carefully on the bars of the barbecue and sear it well on 1 side, then turn it over. While it's cooking, use your reserved rosemary sprigs to baste the meat with the sticky juices from the bottom of the roasting pan. Keep turning and brushing the meat until you've built up a lovely sticky, charred crust, then take it off the barbie and rest it on a serving dish for a few minutes. Meanwhile, pop your roasting pan on the barbie or over a gas burner and let the juices reduce a bit.
Cut the pork into individual ribs, carve the leg of lamb into slices or tear the chicken into pieces, and serve with a bowl of the lovely marinade juices from the roasting pan.