Cooking on charcoal

Cooking on charcoal

Like a Greek

We all love a bbq, but in Cyprus, as in Greece, it is not just an occasional party, it's a regular occurrence. Perhaps it's down to the weather or perhaps it's something in our blood. We just love meals cooked on charcoal. They can be for occasions with vast quantities of guests it can be for a few friends or even just for the family.

Most people here will own a barbecue - some a small one, some a big one. Many will have the extra accessory of a spit or for real luxury, a revolving spit.

Spend some time in Cyprus and you will surely catch the BBQ bug.

Here are some tips for perfect charcoal cooking:

  1. Have patience. You want to cook on white embers (a few red embers are ok) but not on flames. If you still have flames, you will set the fat from the meat alight and your meat will be greasy and black. You control the amount of heat by the height you have the meat above the embers.

  2. Cook meat long and slow – specially Pork and Chicken. But don't cook so long that the meat hardens and tastes like cardboard. When it comes to lamb, if you like it a bit pinky, you can cook a bit faster on a higher heat.

  3. If you have a spit, you don't have to limit yourself to souvla. You can cook a complete chicken or lamb or pork shoulder.

  4. Two pronged skewers are very useful if you want to grill seftalia. These do need good long slow cooking.

  5. For souvla, souvlaki and chops,marinating overnight in white or rose wine with herbs such as oregano will get your meat succulent and tender.

  6. When seasoning your meat do not salt till the last stages of cooking or the meat will harden.

  7. What about fish? Large flat fish such as sea bream are very tasty on charcoal. Here you want to cook fairly quickly on a high heat so that the flesh stays succulent and the skin separates and becomes easy to remove.


Cooking on charcoal

See also Myrtιa's article on "souvlaki".