This month we talk to local BBQ Chef extraordinaire, Jim Moore, or for those of us who follow him on Twitter and Instagram, we may know him better as @Onlyslaggin. Jim shares with us his secrets to the year round BBQ and shares his delicious recipe for BBQ steak and dauphinoise potatoes.
Q1: Jim, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am 42 years old and have been married to my beautiful wife for 20 years now. We have fantastic 2 boys, aged 13 & 10 and we live in Newtownabbey, just outside Belfast.
Q2. Where did your passion for cooking begin?
I’ve enjoyed cooking since I was in my teens and developed a real love barbequing in particular in my 20’s. Every year as soon as the first spot of sunshine appears I’ll be outside getting the BBQ fired up!
Unlike a lot of my friends or family, I have always found barbequing to be a really relaxing and enjoyable experience. I love getting outside as much as possible which probably fuelled my passion for outdoor cooking.
Q3. How did you begin to specialise in barbequed foods?
Over the last 10 years we have spent our family holidays in the USA. Through these visits I started to enjoy what those in the US would call traditional BBQ - slow smoked food. Full racks of ribs, brisket, pulled pork etc all smoked for hours low and slow over charcoal and logs etc.
When I came home I tried to replicate the foods we had enjoyed. I experimented making my own rubs, using different woods (Cheery, Apple, Hickory, Oak etc) with charcoal and found I was able to make food I was proud off.
Q4. Have you found any challenges in perfecting your own recipes?
The more difficult aspect was getting the cuts of meat I needed to help me to really get the best out of my BBQ. A couple years back I made a trip to the Meat Merchant in Moira, part of the Hannan Meat group. I bought a few items and thought the quality was excellent. I love being able to use local ingredients whenever possible. I now buy 90% of all the meat I use through the Meat Merchant.
Q5. Any tips for the perfect BBQ?
Good slow cooked BBQ is a labour of love. You need to get to grips with fire management for your BBQ, the different cooking methods, trying different ingredients and understanding that the fire and smoke also contribute important flavourings and are as important to the food as any other seasoning.
Ensuring that you buy the best local ingredients that you can afford before makes a massive difference.
Q6. You are a bit of an advocate for buying local too aren’t you?
Absolutely, we have some fantastic local produce, and it’s great to be able to cook using locally produced food whilst also being able to support our local industry.
Q7. You are a member of ‘Smokin Yankees Belfast BBQ’, can you tell us how you got involved?
I had dabbled on Instagram & Twitter with posting pictures of my food. I then found there was an entire network of people all interested in BBQ and Outdoor cooking. It was through this I was introduced to Competition BBQ. I never knew BBQ could be a competitive event!
I had built an online friendship with two other liked minded people in Belfast and both of them had been involved in Competition BBQ. They asked me whether I fancied joining their team and giving it a try. We met, had a few beers, shared some food, and from there I became a member of Smokin Yankees Belfast BBQ!
Q8: Surely the Northern Ireland weather must put a dampener on barbequing?
I won’t be beaten by a bit of bad weather! I had begun to cook outside 3-5 times a week so I decided to build a covered BBQ area at my house to beat the weather and enable me to BBQ all year round, and we take our BBQ out as often as we can too, as a family we have started taking the more portable BBQs out on day trips around Northern Ireland to cook and enjoy our scenery, something that I hope we will be able to do a lot more of this over this summer, fingers crossed!
Q9: Your online presence has got you some very welcome attention too I believe?
Yeah, it has been great. At the start of last summer, I was approached via Instagram by local company ‘Mash Direct’ to develop some BBQ recipes that would work with their products and cook it all on my BBQs. They came out with their video crew and videoed me barbequing the recipes which they shared via their website and social media channels during the summer of 2018.
This year I will also be working with Weber UK doing BBQ demonstrations across Northern Ireland at local garden centres and other venues over the next few months where I will be sharing some hints and tips on how to get the best out of the BBQ and share just how enjoyable outdoor cooking can be.
Q10: And any more competitions for the Smokin Yankees?
This Summer Smokin Yankees are working with Glenarm Castle to host Ireland’s first ever KCBS (Kansas City Barbecue Society) Competition, ‘Celtic Smoke’ at the Dalriada Festival. We hope to see teams from across the UK, Ireland, and USA compete in what should be a fun family event, so we would encourage anyone who is interested to come along and see our team in action!
Jim has shared one of his favourite BBQ recipes using the delicious, award-winning, Broighter Gold Hickory Smoked Oil.
Smokey BBQ Steak & Dauphinoise Potatoes
For the Steak:
- 6kg A côte de bœuf (also known as a cowboy steak) which is basically a thick, bone-in rib steak and perfect for the BBQ
- Broighter Gold Hickory Smoked Rapeseed Oil
- Angus & Oink - Montreal Steak Seasoning.
For the Dauphinoise Potatoes:
- 500ml Double Cream
- 500ml of milk
- 4 Garlic Cloves – crushed
- 6 large Maris Piper Potatoes
- Gruyere Cheese to grate over the top.
For this cook I used a 57cm Weber MasterTouch BBQ which I set up for two zone cooking – for this size of BBQ I use a full chimney starter full of charcoal and empty them onto one side of the bowl. This then gives me a side to sear on and then a side I can move food to that has no coals underneath that in effect becomes an oven and will continue to cook food using convection much like a domestic oven.
- Remove the steak from the fridge at least a good hour before you plan to cook. 30 minutes prior to cooking I give the steak a light coating of Broighter Gold Hickory Smoked Rapeseed Oil. This in addition to adding a subtle flavour profile to the steak will also aid the steak seasoning adhere to the steak. The steak seasoning I used on this occasion is from Angus & Oink and is their Montreal Steak Seasoning. I liberally apply the seasoning to the steak and allow to stand at room temperature for a further 30mins.
- Now the steak has been seasoned I make the Daupinoise getting it ready to go onto the BBQ. I combine the milk and cream into a pan along with the crushed garlic and bring it to a simmer.
- Peel and slice the potatoes thinly about 1/2cm thick and add them to the simmering mixture for 3-4 minutes.
- Transfer the potatoes into a cast iron pan, pouring over some of the cream mixture I’ve used to part cook the potatoes, but just enough to cover the potatoes in the pan. Then grate the cheese over the top of the mixture. I like to use Gruyere but I’m sure any cheese of choice would do.
- Place the cast iron pan into the BBQ on the indirect side so it’s not sitting directly over the coals. This will take approximately 30mins to cook. Once the Daupinoise have gone on the BBQ it’s time for the steak.
- Cooking a steak this size on the BBQ is actually a lot easier than a smaller steak as the size actually helps and is more forgiving. A thin steak will cook a lot faster; as such it is easier to overdo a thinner steak.
- Place the steak directly over the hot coals. Leave it there even if it starts to flame up. The trick here is not to panic!
- I prefer my steak cooked medium/medium rare so to do this I close the lid of the BBQ and set the timer for 2 minutes. Don’t open that lid until the timer has gone. Then flip the steak over to do the opposite side. Close the lid and set the timer again for another 2 minutes. This time when the timer goes open the lid and using tongs examine the steak. Make sure it is nicely seared. If needed place the edge of the steak back onto the hot coals and sear the end although keep a hold of the steak during this as it won’t take long maybe 20-30 seconds. With the lid being off there will be more oxygen getting to the fire, as such it will flame up a lot more. Once this is done move the steak over to the indirect side of the BBQ away from the coals. If the steak has a bone turn the steak so the bone faces the direct heat. This will act as protection for your steak to a certain degree.
- This time when you close the lid make sure the lid vent is directly over your steak and Daupinoise pan. This will direct the heat in the BBQ up and over your food before escaping out the vent directly above your food. In effect by doing this you will have created connected heat similar to the oven in your kitchen.
- I prefer my steak cooked to medium – which is an internal temperature of 54oC Its important to cook to internal temperature not time as this way you can guarantee your steak will be cooked perfectly to your liking. At around 520C I remove the steak from the BBQ and set it onto a wire rack like you would use for baking. I then tent it in foil to retain heat. The steak will continue to cook and rise in internal temperature during this resting period by 2-30 allowing the steak to rest is just as important as the cooking aspect as this allows the meat to relax and makes for a much more tender succulent piece of meat.
- As a rule of thumb I would generally rest the meat for 5-10minutes. It will still stay warm so don’t worry about it going cold. So you may ask why use the wire rack to rest the meat? The reason I use the wire rack is during all the steps so far, the oiling of the steak, the seasoning, then the searing, what we have been doing is building up and towards a decent ‘crust’ on the outside of that steak whilst knowing it will be perfectly juicy and tender inside. Keeping the steak on the wire rack keeps it slightly elevated off the dish and any juices that may come out of the steak. Those juices if the steak was left to sit in them would soften and reduce the impact of the crust we have worked to create. The juices can still be used either poured directly over the steak once sliced or added to any sauce you may choose to make to go with your steak.
To follow Jim go to Instagram and Twitter and look for @Onlyslaggin, or to follow the Smokin Yankees, go to Facebook or Twitter and search for @BelfastBBQ, or Instagram @smokinyankeesbelfast