An epic barbecue: here's how to do it, the chef's advice – Italian Cuisine


For the Millenials it is a barbecue, or rather a BBQ, for the traditionalists it is a barbecue: in both cases we talk about a ritual that requires time and passion – in addition to suitable locations and tools – for a top ten result.

Here are some guidelines and tips from the star chef Marco Sacco of the Restaurant Small Lake of Verbania, to enhance the flavors in the best way and cook the meat in an excellent way.

Each meat is marinated:

7222First point: the marinade is essential. Especially if you want to cook meats that cook quickly such as chicken and veal, which otherwise will be hard and dry due to the high temperatures of the embers. To obtain a tasty meat you can prefer a marinade greasy, spicy and slightly acid: if you don't have your favorite recipe, know that a mix of emulsified olive oil with lemon juice (or vinegar, beer, yogurt, white wine), in addition to aromatic herbs such as rosemary, sage, chives and thyme – chopped with 1-2 cloves of garlic – it will work great. You can add mustard or soy sauce to taste. No salt (see below), a little pepper. The marinating times are about 2-3 hours for chicken and pork, 4 and more for beef. The marinating is much more effective on small cuts or thin slices.

The chef's advice: "The ideal is to focus on simplicity. Allspice, cloves, juniper and extra virgin olive oil (olive oil) to enhance the flavor of the meat are perfect. For more specific raw materials, such as the capocollo (part of the pig between the head and the loin), better an intingolo with extra virgin olive oil, sage, rosemary, 2 whole garlic cloves, allspice and black pepper. The meat should be left to marinate for 24 hours, but the real trick to season it even more is to massage it for 5 minutes before putting it in the fridge ".

Carefully prepare the meat

159693Talways anger the meat out of the refrigerator in advance because cold meat on hot embers will undergo a very strong temperature excursion, with a sudden drop in temperature and the loss of meat juices. Degrease the meat but do not overdo it: the remaining fat will melt during cooking giving softness and flavor to the meat fibers. Too much fat would run over the embers and would ignite dangerously. Remember to prick with a frankfurter fork and sausages if you cook them whole: they will lose an excess of fat. In the case of lean meats at the start, prepare a sprig of rosemary to dip into the oil (or marinade kept aside) to brush them during cooking. If you prepare skewers, remember to make sure that the ingredients (meat, vegetables, etc.) are the same size, to ensure uniform cooking.

The queen is the grill, which must be warm at the right point

161769Before cooking any dish on the grill, you have to make sure that the grill is clean, warm at the right point and slightly greasy. It should not be placed directly on the embers but should be kept a certain distance. The brazier should be lit at least about 1 hour before cooking: the most sophisticated griller will use traditional wood, otherwise you can use charcoal; choose large pieces of charcoal, they will have a better yield. If you can, turn it on and avoid using the diavoline or some flammable liquid: they make everything easier but sometimes they stink. If you don't have wood, better the charcoal briquettes.
There charcoal will be ready for cooking when it is covered with a layer of white ash and there will be no more tongues of fire. Spread the embers well and evenly over the entire cooking surface, always leaving an empty strip all around the edges: it will be useful for cook the most delicate foods so that they will not be exposed to the direct heat of the embers. The center will be perfect for the thicker beef, which tolerates high temperatures well.

The chef's advice: Marco Sacco has no doubts, preferring with decision the wood "the thin one, the so-called fagots, which heat up immediately and create a perfect fire suitable for caramelize the meat and make it become succulent ".

Order of appearance: carnthe different ones require different ways and times

160677Then there is the cooking order, which is fundamental.
First the beef, which when cooked at high temperature will make the crust but will remain juicy and tender inside. Follow on salamelle and skewers, leaving for last chicken, vegetables and fruit, which are more delicate. Speaking of turning the meat: while a constant movement – use the special pliers! – on the grill it helps the cooking of chicken wings or legs, 4-5 inch high steaks or whole carré, with regard to slices, fillets or fish steaks, vegetables already sliced ​​or sliced, chops and skewers, it will be enough turn them once, halfway through cooking; especially the fish, which will tend to flake more easily.
On the barbecue discovered you can cook meat in small pieces, skewers, scottadito, kebabs, salamelle open as a book (as well as vegetables and fish steaks). what with the lid it uses the hot air that forms inside the grill and is perfect for cooking thick ribs, whole carrots and chickens, meaty ribs, in short, large pieces that require long cooking at lower and uniform temperatures (but times are much longer long).
Unless you are very experienced grill magicians, able to judge cooking by eye, we advise you to use the faithful probe thermometer, to be pierced in the center of the meat.

The chef's advice: "It is fundamental to keep in mind that every type of meat wants its cooking and its time. For the capocollo, for example, the embers must reach 50 °, cooking must be slow, not violent, a rule that must also be applied to the ribs of pork, other inevitable protagonists of the grill. For ribs, steaks, hamburgers, salamini, roast beef instead, direct cooking is required with the 200 ° / 300 ° fire ".

Salt: only at the end

155399Chapter sale: without disturbing the various super-technical schools of thought, as regards your epic barbecue with friends on salt should always and only be placed at the end of cooking. Strictly salt (try the Himalayan Rose or the Hawaiian Sea Salts, Red for Meat and Black for Fish).

The chef's advice: The chef is adamant on this point. "Sprinkling the meat with salt before cooking it will release a lot of water which will compromise the success of the grill."

And finally two gourmet recipes directly from the kitchen of Small Lake to smoke and marinate like a star chef!


Meat or fish
whole salt

1) Parry meat or fish

2) Season it and let it marinate for a day

3) Rinse from excess salt, dry and smoke with cypress needles

4) Leave to rest in the fridge for a day

Candied lemon sauce and chili pepper (10 servings)

  • 400 gr lemons
  • 400 gr sugar
  • 400 gr syrup 1 to 1
  • 30 gr mustard
  • 40 gr olive oil
  • 5 gr salt
  • n 1 red hot pepper

Massage the lemons into the sugar for 20 minutes, boil them for 10 minutes in the syrup and leave them in a vacuum with the syrup for at least one day.
Stone the lemons and blend them with oil, salt, mustard and part of the syrup until the desired consistency is achieved.

Francesca Tagliabue
August 2017

updated by Elisa Nata
June 2019

This recipe has already been read 37 times!

Proudly powered by WordPress