It’s a cliché to say that the standard of food at a British BBQ amounts to nothing better than incinerated sausages and giant packs of pappy buns. “Charcoal on the outside, raw in the middle! HAR HAR HAR!” When I hear that kind of thing, it makes me want to shout “but those are just the people who can’t cook! They probably can’t cook inside either!” There’s something about the sunshine that makes everyone want to have a go though, isn’t there, and I suppose people who aren’t particularly interested in cooking should be allowed to eat occasionally. Maybe? Bit generous?
Okay so cooking over an open flame requires a little more attention and skill, but I still think that anyone with a modicum of intelligence can manage to grill a sausage providing they’re not completely hosed on half a slab of those little French stubbies you can buy in the supermarket for 6 quid, sweat pouring from their lobster red, knotted-hanky covered head. What? Who’s doing clichés now? Ah shuddup and eat your fifth burger.
Considering the fact you’re reading this in the first place, I’m guessing you have a certain level of skill, and so the burnt sausage scenario is hopefully something you left behind when you stopped either being a student, or cut out those people from that BBQ you went to because they’re idiots who can’t cook a sausage properly.
If you’re going to do meat in a bun, then you really should make it a bit more interesting, so here’s a recipe for grilled ox heart. You will probably have to pre-order the heart from a butcher, and then do ask them to trim it for you. Even past this point, there is trimming to be done at home which will require you to strap on a pair that wouldn’t be out of place, size wise, on the same animal the heart came from. Suck it up. Trim away anything that looks remotely chewy and you’re left with some really flavourful yet lean meat, two qualities which don’t usually go together when it comes to parts of cow.
The way to cook this meat is hard and fast, as you would a steak; it will need only a couple of minutes each side, and is totally fine (in fact better), if left a little pink in the middle. In your face, sausages! The heart is a muscle, don’t forget, so overcooking it will result in something akin to the bottom of a flip flop in texture.
It takes on the smoke of the BBQ like a dream, and has a really satisfying, hearty (groan) flavour, which needs something like the salsa verde I’ve used here to add some serious poke in terms of garnish: herbs, anchovies, capers, mustard, vinegar. A shy sandwich this is not.