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A Big Barbecue Christmas?

Waitrose predicts a boom in barbecues this socially-distanced Christmas This Christmas, many people will be looking at the option of entertaining outdoors for the first time, with Waitrose predicting

Waitrose predicts a boom in barbecues this socially-distanced Christmas

This Christmas, many people will be looking at the option of entertaining outdoors for the first time, with Waitrose predicting a spike in households wheeling back out their barbecues to cook their Christmas dinner on.

Waitrose reveals sales of turkeys are up 280% compared to last year and new research by the supermarket further shows that despite uncertainty, we are already preparing for Christmas, with 20% of people saying they’re ordering their Christmas turkey or centrepiece earlier than ever before.

Waitrose Executive Chef, Martyn Lee says, “I cook my turkey on the barbecue every Christmas. It never fails to impress and I predict many will join me in doing the same this year. It’s really easy, quicker than if you were to cook it in the oven and gives a beautifully succulent taste with a crispy skin. And it’s not just the turkey, you can cook the full Christmas feast on the barbecue – trimmings, desserts and all.”

Due to changing restrictions this year, al fresco dining has been on the rise and customers are looking for ways they can dine and entertain in cooler temperatures and darker nights. Sales of pizza ovens are up 1271% at John Lewis compared to last year and customers are also investing in outdoor lighting – with sales of line lights and smart outdoor lighting up 146% and 109% respectively. Meanwhile online searches for ‘BBQ charcoal’ are up 176% on Waitrose.com and searches for the supermarket’s online barbecue hub are up 280% as customers look for inspiration.

For those looking to do the same as Martyn this Christmas, he shares his guide on how to throw a Christmas Dinner barbecue.

It’s all about the brine

To get the very best flavour from your turkey, it’s all about the brine. You need to fully immerse the turkey in the brine – with 80g of salt per litre of water – and then leave it for around 24 hours to properly marinate – I use my dormant summer cool box for the task! You then need to desalinate for an hour in fresh water before you take it over to the barbecue. I love to use the Free Range Bronze Feathered Whole Turkey with Giblets – available in small, medium or large depending.

Best of the bird

I love to cook the whole bird on the barbecue as it gives everyone the option of white or dark meat, however I always remove the thighs and legs and cook them separately as the dark meat benefits from longer, slower cooking. Cooking both at the same time means the white breast meat will overcook before the thighs and legs – leading to the dreaded dry turkey! If you prefer to focus on the turkey crown – or are planning for a smaller gathering – then this will cook beautifully too. The Waitrose Medium Turkey Breast Crown with Prime Wing is perfect for this.

Heat it up

Barbecuing a turkey calls for indirect heat – it’s very different to grilling a steak or burgers over hot coals. The best way to do this is to stack coals along one side of the barbecue and the meat on the other side. My tip would be to use foil to deflect the heat if necessary.

From roasties to La Ratte

Swap the traditional oven roasted potatoes for La Ratte Potatoes cooked on the coals. The unique nutty flavour combined with the smooth, buttery texture makes them the perfect side dish to bring out the flavours of the barbecued turkey. Simply dress them in olive oil – such as the Waitrose No.1 Olive Oil – before cooking to give them a deliciously crispy skin.

A meat-free delight

For a fabulous vegetarian dish – give the classic cauliflower cheese a smoky barbecued makeover. Perfect as a main or side dish, barbecue a whole cauliflower in its leaves and dress it with a delicious mature cheddar sauce. A homemade sauce is best, but if you’re short on time then pre-made can work just as well.

The perfect pud

Don’t let the barbecue burn out once you’ve finished with the turkey and trimmings. In recent months we’ve had people becoming more experimental with desserts on the barbecue – for a festive twist, cut a Christmas Pudding into slices and grill it on the barbecue to add a hint of caramelisation. I use the No.1 12 Month Matured Christmas Pudding. Top each slice with brandy butter and allow it to melt for a delicious dessert that’s sure to be the perfect sweet ending to a Christmas Dinner barbecue.