The First Barbecue of 2015 with Meat Porter:
With National BBQ week upon us, and Meat Porter (now trading as Heartier but with much the same quality meat offering ) giving us the opportunity to try their new gluten free BBQ box it seemed like the perfect opportunity to ask a few friends around and spend a day in the garden. We were lucky that the weather agreed with us, giving us sunshine and a little warmth, and the first BBQ of the year went swingingly.
The boys kicked off with a couple of bottles of Italian craft beers that Carluccio’s had sent us. The first was a Cortigiana. And the second a darker beer ReAle
Italy it turns out, is also a hotbed of small brewing and craft beers! It seems that the current explosion in quality craft beer in the UK is based upon excellent American imports, and a growing base of very high quality British small producers. We had slightly ignored the rest of the world! Both of these beers were very good indeed, and Carluccios is on to something if they can start bringing in a good selection to compliment their food, and perhaps sell on retail as well.
The girls tried a twist on a classic G&T using a sample of Caoruun’s gin from Scotland made to their recipe. This consisted of 1 part gin, 2 parts good quality tonic, celery crusted with Szechuan peppercorns and garnished with a crisp apple. It looked pretty, but was difficult to drink until the celery and apple had been consumed! Our verdict was that we preferred the traditional G&T with a slice of lemon, as the quality of the gin was so good that it needed the chance to shine through as a crisp and clean drink.
At first I was a little puzzled about the concept of gluten free BBQ, but then realised that this applied to the fillers used in sausages and burgers. The Meat Porter box offers 2 types of gluten free burgers; 2 lamb and mint, and 2 traditional beef. It also contains gluten free Cumberland sausages and gluten free pork and sage sausages. In addition to these the box contained; 2 chicken legs, 2 chicken breasts, 2 rump steaks and 2 pork steaks.
All of it was very good quality, but it did seem a slightly odd mixture, I couldn’t quite decide how many people this was supposed to be for; if it was 4 then there were far too many sausages, if 8 then there although there was enough meat, there could be row about who got the steak as opposed to the chicken quarter. I suspect the pack was biased a little toward those products which needed to be gluten free and might not be if you bought them from the shop. As we had 9 people I added in a few items to make sure there was (more than) enough food for everyone.
The menu in the end consisted of:
- Gluten free Cumberland sausages
- Gluten free pork sausages
- Gluten free lamb and mint burgers
- Gluten free beef burgers
- Beetroot and goats cheese burgers
- Pork tenderloin in a bourbon bbq marinade
- Chicken drumsticks and the chicken quarter in chimmichurri sauce
- Chicken and chorizo kebabs with Mexican rub
- Seasoned rump steak
I made a selection of salads including; watermelon and feta with mint, Scandinavian beetroot and apple, tomato onion and basil, Caesar salad, and a potato salad.
I then finished the meal with a lemon cheesecake on a ginger base, served with new season English strawberries soaked in Cassis, and a little chocolate mint (this plant is a marvel of nature!)
Given that there was only 1 sausage left over I would say that these were very successful, I tried the lamb and mint burger and thought it was really tasty and I really would not have known any different. If you or one of your guests are gluten intolerant, this seems a really good way of ensuring that everyone can have some of their favourite BBQ items. As well as the prepared BBQ boxes, Meat Porter allows you to build your own, which might allow you to get a better balance of items.
Disclaimer: We were offered a gluten free barbecue box from Meat Porter (now trading as Heartier) to review – all content is editorially given.