Barbecue king tells Ireland to quit moaning about rain

Ireland’s ‘barbecue king’ has urged the nation to stop complaining about the rain and get grilling outdoors.

“Irish people feel that it has to be sunny to eat grilled food,” pitmaster and professional barbecue chef Mike Corcoran said.

“But a barbecue is more than a garden party. It’s a style of cooking.

“And after all, Irish people have no problem standing outside in the rain for a cigarette, so why not barbecue under an umbrella?”

With forecasters predicting a mini-heatwave today and tomorrow, the Chicago native, who is based in West Cork, said it’s the perfect time to give grilling a go.

Given the Irish climate, Mike said he is working on bringing indoor barbecuing to Ireland. He has sourced a special liquid smoke product in the US that can be used indoors and gives the same flavour as an outdoor barbecue. “It’s a completely natural product that would work well in this climate,” he said.

Mike hails from Chicago, Illinois. His grandfather, who was from eastern Tennessee and the grandson of a Cork native, was a true barbecue enthusiast. He cooked and smoked his barbecued meats all day in his pit — a converted 50-gallon drum cut in half, hinged and fitted with racks — for family get-togethers.

If it rained, Mike said his grandfather would just move his pit under a patio umbrella near the back door, and the party would move indoors.

After high school, Mike went in to the restaurant industry, where he worked and managed for Marriott and Stouffer Hotels, and the Chart House Restaurants.

He studied grilling and barbecuing under world champion barbecue chefs Paul Kirk and Mike Mills.

His close friend and mentor, Chicago-based Dave Raymond, aka ‘Sweet Baby Ray’, is a barbecue legend whose barbecue sauce range is one of the largest selling in the US.

Mike relocated to just outside Clonakilty a few years ago and has studied at the Ballymaloe Cookery School. He has also developed his own Mike’s BBQ Sauce and Spice Rub, which are available in butchers and speciality shops, and his own BBQ Pork and Mike’s Applewood Smoked Streaky Bacon for the catering industry.

BBQ recipe

Mike’s soy-lime marinated flank steak (serves 2):

This quick and easy steak marinade is one of my favourites. It is great on any cut of meat, but I like it on flank steak, a thinner cut which grills in just minutes on a very hot grill.

* ½ kilo flank or your favourite cut of steak;

* For the marinade:

200ml olive or sunflower oil,

2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce,

2 scallions, or one small red onion, sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic, minced,

Juice of one lime,

¼ teaspoon chilli flakes,

¼ teaspoon cumin,

1½ tablespoons brown sugar;

nMethod: Combine all the marinade ingredients and whisk briskly until well incorporated. Place in zipper seal bag along with meat, and allow to marinade for at least two hours, or overnight. (If using a baking dish or other vessel to marinate, flip meat occasionally).

After removing from marinade, pat steak dry with paper towel. This will help the meat sear, instead of steaming, over the hot grates. Grill over medium high heat to desired doneness.

Flank steak has a slightly tapered shape, so when the thinner side is medium well, the thicker side will be medium rare.

Allow steak to rest for five minutes after grilling. Slice thinly against the grain of the meat.

Sun-starved Irish jump ship

With summer 2012 effectively written off, Falcon Holidays launched its 2013 summer sun programme out of Cork Airport yesterday.

Hotels and apartments in top sun destinations like Lanzarote, Costa del Sol, Gran Canaria, Majorca and Costa Dorada are already available for booking 12 months in advance.

Online holiday provider lowcostholidays.ie reported yesterday it recorded almost 500,000 hits on its website last month as the sun-starved looked to escape the summer washout.

Majorca, the Costa del Sol, the Canaries and the Algarve are the most popular destinations.

“People seem to have given up any hope of an Irish summer at this stage and families in particular are now looking to book a well-deserved break in the sun before the kids head back to school,” the website’s Irish boss, Clem Walshe, said.

And Sunway said an average of 20% of holiday searches on its website are done on mobile devices which converts to 6% of bookings made by mobile.

The most common searches are for holidays in Orlando, New York, Mexico, Lanzarote and the Dominican Republic.


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