Barbecue recipes: three dishes for outdoor cooking

Barbecue recipes: three dishes for outdoor cooking

Eeveryone likes to fry potatoes in the embers of a fire, especially children. It’s exciting for them to participate,” says Gill Meller.

“Give them a stick so they can poke and prick the hot coals and roll over their potatoes if they need to be turned. While the spuds are cooking, have them cook the homity onions and leeks. It’s easy cooking, but they will learn so much by helping you.”

Homity baked potatoes

Serves: 4 or more


8 baked potatoes

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

150 g butter

2 leeks, cut into rings

2 onions, halved and sliced

1 tbsp whole grain mustard

100 g mature cheddar, finely grated

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. You will need a large fire for this recipe. Allow the wood and charcoal to burn back so that you have a wide bed of solid embers. Make sure that the coals are not too bright, otherwise the potatoes will not be cooked evenly.

2. Give the potatoes a scrub, but only when they need it. Rub each one with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Wrap each potato in a double layer of foil. Use a pair of pliers to clear some potato-shaped cavities in the embers and nest the squeakers in these openings. Make sure they have a significant amount of heat around them. You don’t have to cover them as such, just pile the embers around their sides. Turn the potatoes with tongs every 10-15 minutes, until soft to the touch – about an hour.

3. Meanwhile, heat a large pan and add a third of the butter. When it is bubbling, add the leek and onions and season with some salt and pepper. Let them sizzle and stir regularly until they are soft and smell wonderfully sweet.

4. Remove the soft potatoes from the packaging and cut them in half. Scoop the center of the flesh from the pan with the leek and onions with a spoon. Leave enough potatoes in their skins so they don’t tear. Add the remaining butter, mustard, half of the cheddar and season with salt and pepper.

5. Mix everything together. You can leave it all pretty rough.

6. Stack the homity potato mix back in the mantel halves and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Eat hot.

Grilled mackerel with lemon, smoked paprika, oregano and black pepper

Summer is not complete without fresh mackerel

(Andrew Montgomery/PA)

“Summer would be nothing without fresh mackerel. It’s a fish that has an undeniable affinity for smoky fires and glowing coals — they seem to be pulled together,” Meller says.

“This is a particularly tasty way to prepare mackerel fillets or whole fish. The flavors I use are spicy, but the fish carry them all beautifully. I usually serve them with warm, crusty bread and a salad of ripe tomatoes and basil, seasoned with salt, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.”

Serves: 2


2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic, grated

A small handful of oregano, leaves picked and finely chopped

1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped

1 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed

4 very fresh mackerel fillets

Sea salt


1. Combine the smoked paprika with the oil, lemon zest, garlic, oregano, rosemary and peppercorns and season with salt.

2. Use the back of a spoon to spread the garlic mixture over each fillet. Light your fire and when you have a bed of hot, glowing embers, place the mackerel fillets skin side down on the grill. Cook for four to five minutes. You will notice that the meat changes color as it cooks. When the mackerel is almost cooked, flip the fillets and cook for another minute on the other side.

3. Carefully lift the mackerel off the grill onto a plate and serve.

Campfire Pork and Beans

This dish is somewhere between a cassoulet and Boston baked beans

(Andrew Montgomery/PA)

Meller says this recipe is “somewhere between a cassoulet and Boston baked beans. It’s absolutely perfect for campfire cooking — rich, savory and warming,” he adds. “You have to get it going in the afternoon and then let it simmer gently until dusk.”

Serves: 4


250 g dried string beans

1 tbsp sea salt

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

200 g bacon strips or sliced ​​bacon

3 celery stalks, cut into 2-3cm pieces

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

7-8 sage leaves, cut into ribbons

1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped

1 can of diced tomatoes of 400 g

1 tbsp light brown soft sugar

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

250 grams of smoked bacon

2-3 bay leaves

6-8 pork sausages

Freshly ground black pepper


1. Place the dried beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Add the salt, stir the beans and let them soak for 10-12 hours or overnight. (If you’re camping, you may want to do this before you go.)

2. Drain the beans and put them in a large saucepan. Cover with more water and place the pan on a hot fire. Bring the liquid to a boil and cook until the beans are tender – about 45 minutes should do the trick.

3. Place a large, heavy-bottomed pan with a lid over medium heat.

4. Add the extra virgin olive oil and when it is hot add the bacon strips and fry them until they get a bit of color and start to shed some of their fat. Now add the celery, onion and garlic. Stir well and cook for another five to ten minutes. Add the sage and rosemary and some black pepper.

5. Stir in the canned tomatoes, sugar and red wine vinegar. Add the drained beans and about 500 milliliters of water to cover the bacon and beans. Put in the piece of smoked bacon and add the bay leaves. Put a lid on the pan and let it simmer for two hours.

6. When it’s time to simmer and the beans are meltingly tender, place the sausages on the grill over medium heat. Cook them, turning them frequently, until they are dark and caramelized, then add them to the stew. If they seem a little too big, just cut them in half. Continue to simmer the stew for 15-20 minutes, until the sausages are cooked through, then remove from the heat and let it rest and cool for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.

‘Outside: Recipes For A Wilder Way Of Eating’ by Gill Meller (published by Quadrille, £30; photography by Andrew Montgomery), out now.