Ramadan is drawing to a close, and the weather has cooled down enough so that sitting outside in the evening is actually tolerable. Now that daytime eating is back on, it seems the perfect time to roll out the ol’ barbecue. If you feel that grilling season is a bit premature, then at least enjoy some ‘cue in the comfort of an air conditioned restaurant. Regardless, we’ve put together a guide to help you get the most out of the winter pastime.
Did the last BBQ party you threw go down like a lead balloon? Maybe it’s because burgers and lamb chops are, well, boring. If you want to liven up your cooking, the Sparkle and Shine Home Learning Centre is running fancy barbecue lessons (their words, not ours) the next two Thursdays in a row in Safa training villa and may run more if the classes prove popular. British chef Drew uses lots of fresh, local fish, and teaches pupils how to grill up a stuffed fish, parcelled fish, any way you want a fish. A group of four classes cost Dhs1,000, though you can sign up for individual courses as well. For more info, call 050 70 31 007, or email email@example.com.
Take it outside
Though it’s a bit of a trek for some, Al Mamzar Beach Park, which teeters on the edge of Sharjah, offers grassy knolls, plenty of beach and built in barbecue pits where you can bring caveman-like offerings of flesh to throw on the coals. Get there early, and you might even be able to grab some shade under one of the few coveted palm trees. Jumeirah Beach Park also has 13 barbecues to choose from.
‘Cue around the world
The South American country is considered the king of the BBQ for a reason, and La Parilla only proves the point by offering some of the best steaks in the city in one of the kitschiest, if most charming settings. Live music may even inspire you to join the various tangoing couples after you’ve devoured a juicy T-bone.
Jumeirah Beach Hotel (04 406 8999)
Iraqi barbecue is beautifully distinct: a bed of coals large enough to cook a human a fare grade of medium fare. At Al Bayt Al Baghdadi, an authentic Iraqi restaurant in Deira, you can peek through the glass at your meat or fish slab being steamed over this behemoth coal bed. The method results in some seriously juicy morsels.
Al Muteena Street, near Sheraton Deira (04 273 7064).
Why settle for teppanyaki when you can feast on robatayaki, the Japanese grilling method that takes prime ingredients and grills them in an open flame, often right before your eyes. Robatayaki can be found at Zuma, one of the first of several high-end Japanese restaurants coming to Dubai. The funky DIFC eatery has been open for a sole week, and has a special table where customers can watch chefs grill their meat in front of them. Go ahead, feel the burn.
Gate Village 06, DIFC (04 425 5660)
I’ve heard the argument against Korean barbecue: why pay money to cook meat yourself, but you know what, it’s just a cool thing. At Seoul Garden, the waitress will bring you your own portable barbecue set, along with some mouth-tingling garlic sauce and miso paste dip. If your short ribs are a little overcooked, you’ll have no one but yourself to blame.
Opposite Baby Shop, Za’abeel Road, Karama (04 337 7876)
Even if you’re not a huge fan of fish, the hunks of hammour at Barbecue Delights are a must-have. The fish are marinated with red chillies, garlic, ginger and coriander seeds, and then barbecued until they are crisp on the outside and torrentially juicy on the inside. The mutton karahi doesn’t match the majesty of the fish, but the little iron pot of tender meat, tomato and devilishly hot green chilli in a smooth, rich sauce packs a punch, even when wrapped up and dispatched in sheets of soft, buttery garlic naan.
Near Mövenpick hotel, Oud Metha (04 349 0711)
Steak it out
If you’re not up on your meat, choosing a slab of steak to barbecue can be intimidating: do you get a rib eye or T-bone? A South African steak or an Argentinean? We asked Fadi Serhal, the supervisor at Butcher Grill & Restaurant, to tell us which cuts are best:
If you like your meat…
‘If you want your steak soft, go for a filet,’ says Serhal. This cut of meat is the most popular purchase at the butcher shop, partly because it’s so low in fat, perfect for ladies watching their waistlines. ‘My girlfriend loves it,’ he reports.
‘South American and European meats have more fat in them, which means, if you like your steak cooked through more, these types won’t dry out.’ South African beef doesn’t have as much fat, and is a better bet for those who like their steak medium-rare, rare or blue.
‘Sirloin has that side fat, which melts a bit when you throw the cut on the barbecue,’ says Serhal. It results in a moist and juicy piece of meat that also has some chew to it.