Sizzle season dawns


By Jan Bilton

Tantalising smells are wafting across my backyard — it must be time to rev up the barbecue and compete with the neighbours in our annual competition for the best summer aromas.

Whatever the type of cooker or fuel used, the secret to successful barbecues is the quality of the heat.

You don’t need a mountain of coals on a charcoal barbecue — under normal circumstances, about 25 coals are sufficient. Allow 30 minutes between lighting up and cooking. The coals should be glowing under a layer of white ash. If you find the charcoal heat decreases toward the end of cooking, tap the coals to remove the ash. Ash is the insulator and once removed the heat becomes more intense. Don’t blow it off or a cloud of ash may settle on your meal.


Gochujang is a Korean chilli paste. It is available from Asian food stores and some supermarkets.

Korean Chicken with Kick

3 tablespoons thick soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon finely grated root ginger

8 skinned and boned chicken thighs

Glaze: 3 tablespoons gochujang

2 tablespoons each: honey, lemon juice, soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Add the chicken and turn to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Combine the ingredients for the glaze.

Preheat the barbecue to medium-high. Grill the chicken for about 3 minutes each side. Brush lightly with the glaze. Turn the thighs over and cook for a few seconds. Repeat this process until the chicken is nicely coloured and cooked through. Serves 4-6.

  • Jan Bilton is a Cambridge-based, professional food writer. For more of her recipes visit her website here.

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