The barbecue season is just about on top of us here in Ireland. It is that brief window where Gender Neutral Adult Figure Nature (Mother Nature to the less sensitive amongst you) strings three or four days together like pearls on a necklace of summer sunshine. Not that I have any issues with Father Nature wearing pearls. But, I digress. When we get the few days of tepid sunshine leaking through the damaged ozone layer above the Emerald Isle, we immediately strip to the waist and fire up the barbecue.
Normally culinary incompetent males dress in aprons festooned with slogans like “My Sausage is on Fire” or “King of the Grill” and venture forth amongst the dandelions armed with tongs, spatulas, fish slices and battery operated rotisserie devices that never work when you need them.
This is barbecue season and this is where real men step out of the shadows and try to shine. Dinner will be late. Before there is any afterglow, be it from the glory of the cooking or the combined heat of the sun and the glow of the grill, there is work to be done.
As temperatures rise above “three sweaters and a beanie”, any man, woman or child with an ounce of foresight will go to the garden shed, unlock the door (of course you keep the shed locked) and wheel out the barbecue. Once the cover is removed and placed in its space on the shed shelf, grilling can commence.
Ignore the above paragraph. You will more usefully spend your “shed time” digging out the strimmer. You will need it to cut back the grass and climbing ivy that has grown up around your forgotten barbecue over the winter months. When you try to open it, the hinges creak as the rust crumbles away. You seem to recognise that layer of fur that has grown on the grill bars. It’s the festered remains of the duck you cooked last year, just before you resolved to clean and store the grill for the winter.
While your other half curses their way through cleaning the grill, prepare the dish, mercifully brief in ingredients. To generously feed three people, you will need:
- 1 suckling pig rack
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 5cm/2″ piece of ginger root
- Tablespoon of olive oil
- Heaped teaspoon of sea salt
- Teaspoon of black pepper
The instructions are really simple. Put some slashes in the skin of the rack to facilitate marination and cutting when cooked. Pour the oil over the meat.
Add the remaining ingredients (garlic, ginger, salt and pepper) and rub int the meat. Leave it to stand in the fridge for at least an hour or better still, overnight. However, given the unpredictable nature of summer weather in Ireland, overnight is probably not going to happen.
Heat your now clean grill to very hot. Place a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding any bones. Add the pork to the barbecue in a place that will avoid flare-ups. Close the lid and leave it there, untouched, for fifteen minutes.
Turn down the heat and turn the joint over (That is not barbecue speak for “Wreck the place”, just turn the meat upside down.). Leave it there while the skin crisps up. It’s hard to do this without getting a bit of blackening. Don’t worry about that.
Prepare some vegetables (Bok Choi was my choice) and some rice or pasta (Jasmin rice was my choice) while the meat finishes cooking. This will take about ten minutes cooking time and ten minutes resting time. I used the thermometer and took the meat off at 60ºC/140ºF. Some might find this a bit light on the cooking. I am cooking fine, rare breed, free range pork and have never had an issue with this temperature. However, if you are cooking some dodgeball stuff bought from a supermarket because it was a bargain, you are on your own.
Resting time definition: Resting Time is the ten to twenty minutes where you lose your temper with a close relative or two for their attempting to pick at the crackling on the pork. Don’t go soft on me. They deserve everything they get.
Carve the pork into double rib chops and serve to the relatives who are still talking to you.
When you have finished sucking on the bones, remember to clean down the barbecue and store it away. I really don’t know why I am typing this, we both know what you will do….