Benedict’s Richard Bainbridge: It’s time to take barbecue food to a new level

PUBLISHED: 10:56 16 July 2017

Richard Bainbridge, Chef and owner of 'Benedicts' restaurant  in Norwich.
Richard cooking up a feast on his 'Big Green Egg' barbecue.

Richard Bainbridge, Chef and owner of 'Benedicts' restaurant in Norwich. Richard cooking up a feast on his 'Big Green Egg' barbecue.


Norwich restaurateur Richard Bainbridge says it’s time to sing the praises of proper barbecued food.

Richard Bainbridge at Benedicts on St Benedicts Street, Norwich.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.Richard Bainbridge at Benedicts on St Benedicts Street, Norwich. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Summer means one thing in Great Britain - barbecuing!

I think the idea of a barbecue is starting to change, because when I was young it had to be weeks in the planning.

You would start off having to dust the thing, then it was about finding where to buy the coal, working out how to light it and most importantly deciding what to cook on it, apart from the obvious sausages.

No-one ever used to barbecue anything but sausages back in the 80s and often they were pink and inedible if memory serves.

We had a peach-coloured barbecue, I recall (well, it was the 80s), and I think we used it once until it was turned into a rather tragic garden ornament, never to be used again.

But in recent years the USA influence - where it’s all about the grill - is hitting us hard from marinades to slow cooking and the using of different cuts of meat that are cheaper and have more flavour anyway.

And don’t even get me started on the cooking of vegetables over open flames!

They truly taste amazing, even to people who say they don’t like vegetables or butch men who insist that vegetables are not for them.

The sweet flavours that come from the vegetables mixed with the seasoning from the smoke will blow your mind.

Big Green Egg - Richard Bainbridge's BBQ of choice. Picture: ArchantBig Green Egg - Richard Bainbridge's BBQ of choice. Picture: Archant

To get the flavours exactly right, the best thing to do is trial and error basically.

What I am saying is throw blooming anything onto the BBQ and see what happens.

I have three butchers I’d recommend for your barbecues in East Anglia.

Rutland Butchers has been open since the early 70s.

It’s a family run shop with a wide range of meats and cures. Other than barbecuing meats one of their specialities is haggis (they’ve actually won awards for it outside of Scotland), and they have a massive range of gluten-free sausages.

Crawford from Whites Butchers in Aylsham is as Norfolk as the day is long.

Most of his meat comes from the Blickling Hall Estate and his beef from Tony Bambridge is phenomenal.

If you went in with a cookbook and said “what’s this?” within five minutes he’ll have it butchered and ready to go.

Then there’s one of the oldest butchers in Norwich – Harveys.

What I love about them is they’re the only Norwich butcher to be certified as organic.

They make awesome peri peri pork ribs.

Cooking on flames is an exciting, forgotten world.

Barbecues are all about summer to us and we think we should be having a cheeky glass of Lambrini while the kids run around and we burn sausages, but the barbecue can be a larger tool than that.

Use the summer to build your confidence on the barbecue and you can carry on cooking with it through September and October

My top three BBQs

-The Big Green Egg

This is the most expensive but the best on the market and the easiest to use. with a starting price of £350 (John Lewis) it is a deep dig into your pocket, but the many years of use and joys make it worthwhile

-Weber 47CM Bar B Kettle

Charcoal Barbecue. Is a great all round small, light and easy to use and with a name like Weber you know you are in safe hands, £105. B&Q

-On a Budget, Asda’s £10.00 36cm Portable Kettle Barbecue

(most large Retailers have a BBQ similar for sale and at a similar price)

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