Mumbai Food: 5 barbeque chefs on how to host BBQ party at home

Updated: Dec 07, 2016, 09:57 IST | Krutika Behrawala |

From the right space to techniques, marinades and recipes for veggies too, five barbeque chefs tell Krutika Behrawala how to host a hit BBQ party at home

A chicken breast sizzles on Mulchandani's charcoal barbeque grill. Pic/Poonam Bathija

B for Barbeque
grilling vs smoking: €ˆThey are different cooking methods. While smoking involves slow-cooking meats over low temperatures, grilling involves fast cooking at higher temperatures, always above 175 °C. Also, grilling is done directly over a heat source, while smoking happens away from it.

Hira Mulchandani often hosts barbeques on his terrace in Bandra. Pic/Poonam BathijaHira Mulchandani often hosts barbeques on his terrace in Bandra. Pic/Poonam Bathija

Choose your grill: Those who wish to enjoy barbeques at home, should invest in a charcoal grill. It ranges between Rs4,000 and Rs10,000. You get portable ones too. If you don't have space to grill outdoors, go for an electric grill.

Hira Mulchandani, founder, Death By BBQ at Carter Road, Bandra (W)

Before you play with fire
Find the right spoT: Be careful while choosing a spot to place your barbeque grill. On a terrace, stay away from a windy spot because that will make the coal embers fly. I have rarely heard of instances where it has burnt someone but it may scare your guests away. Keep a bottle of water by your side for safety.

Kaviraj Thadani
Kaviraj Thadani

Get your coals: Use a mix of small and large pieces of natural coal. Avoid using imported briquettes (square blocks of compressed coal dust) because they don't lend much flavour.

Spark it up: Never use kerosene or a liquid to light the fire because the flavour lingers into food too. Instead, light a fire naturally. Let each and every coal burn hot red. This process takes 45 minutes to an hour. You'll know the coals are ready when they turn slightly ashen and the flames stop coming out of the grill. Don't be afraid of the heat. Enjoy a beer while grilling. 

Cool Tip
Hira Mulchandani
Remember that you are cooking on a heat source that can't be controlled. You'll know the coals are warm enough when you can feel the heat on your hands, six to eight inches above the grill.

Chef Kaviraj Thadani of Kaavo Meat, an artisanal meat kitchen

Meats and cuts

Go lean: Choose tender cuts whose thickness is under one inch for quick high temperature grilling. For example, boneless breast or leg of chicken, pork chops, buffalo tenderloin steak and fillet of fish, preferably the skin on.
Siddharth Kashyap, chef and partner, The Boston Butt at Kala Ghoda

Siddharth Kashyap grills the meats on a smoker at The Boston Butt. Pic/Sneha Kharabe

Sausages: If you're hosting a party, burgers and sausages are your best bet. Use freshly ground meat for a patty. Ideally, it should include 80 per cent meat and 20 per cent fat, which makes it juicier and won't cause flare-ups on the grill when excess grease hits the coals. Vegetarians can try soy, mock meat or mushroom.

Chef Subroto Haldar, The Yard at Kala Ghoda

Cool Tip
Kaviraj Thadani

If you're using chicken leg, leave the skin on. Slit the sausages diagonally on both sides. It will allow them to puff up from the inside when grilled.

Before you start grilling

Brine: After you've decided the meat and cut, it's important to brine it, which means soaking it in a solution of salt and water. Or opt for dry salt brining. “Dry salting the meats a day prior to grilling and an hour before for seafood, helps the proteins to denature. The altered proteins have a greater ability to retain water, so meat remains more moist through the cooking process. A generous sprinkle of salt on the meat surface should do the trick. Rinse the brine and pat the meat dry before grilling,” says Kashyap.

Jerk Chicken, Harissa Chicken and Jumbo Prawns on a smoker at The Boston Butt. Pic/Sneha Kharabe

Marinate: You can use a variety of spices and herbs or even wine, cognac and brandy-based sauces to marinate your meats. “Marinate the chicken a day prior to grilling and other meats, at least three days before. You can use vinegar to marinate the pork since the acid will break it down,” says Thadani.

Oil your grill: Use a basting brush to oil the grill before you slap the meat on it. Avoid butter as it burns fast. “People believe using olive oil is healthier but that's a misconception. It is best eaten raw. When you use it on high heat, it loses nutrients. Use unflavoured, neutral oils like rice bran or grape seed oil,” suggests Mulchandani.

Cool Tip
Siddharth Kashyap

Brush clean the grill from the previous BBQ to avoid adding charred food deposits to the new batch. Never leave the barbeque unattended.

Keep calm and barbeque on

Know the hot spots: There are spots on the grill where meat cooks faster because of hotter coals underneath. “Start by cooking the meat on high heat, which will help lock the juices of the meat. Then, move it to a lower heat spot.
Always remember to keep the meat moving by flipping it using tongs. Otherwise, one part will be burnt while the other side will remain uncooked,” says Thadani.

Grilled Chicken Breast at The Yard is cooked on a lava stone grill and allowed to rest for five minutes before it is served to a guest. To learn how to maintain your grill, log on to

Invest in a thermometer: You can't tell if the meat is cooked by looking at it. Sometimes, the upper layer may be burnt but it may be uncooked from inside. “It is important to invest in a food thermometer. These barely cost Rs 400. Poke it into the toughest part of the meat to see if it's done,” says Mulchandani. Most importantly, be patient and ready to wait.

Glaze it right: The sweet aftertaste that greets your mouth when you bite into grilled pork chops comes from the glaze, a sweetened, liquid mix that includes honey or sugar. “Ensure you glaze your meat at the fag end of the grilling process. That's when the meat is hot enough for the glaze to stick on it and it won't blacken. A glaze
mix should be thick with consistency similar to a tomato ketchup. Use a silicone brush to glaze the meat,” asserts Thadani. Also, it's important to glaze a meat if you have not marinated it earlier and used a dry rub (a dry marinade), instead. It will keep it moist.

Let it rest: The aromas of grilled meat will lure you into biting into it as soon as it's off the grill but wait. “Allow the meats to rest for five to eight minutes so that the juices that it is cooked with can settle in,” advises Haldar.

serve with a side: Add a side of jacket potatoes or grilled veggies. Cut a potato (with skin) into half, scoop out some flesh, add cheese and herbs, wrap it in a foil and throw it in the coals directly. You can also grill tough vegetables like
carrots, babycorns, zucchini, aubergine and asparagus. But use big cuts. Pick off-the-shelf hot sauces or spice up some mayonnaise as accompaniments. Keep the sauces refrigerated to add a cooling effect in a barbeque meal.

Know your cooking temperatures
Chicken or turkey: 74°C
Chicken or turkey as a sausage or ground meat patty: 74°C
Buffmeat or pork: 63°C
Buffmeat or pork as a sausage or ground meat patty: 71°C
Fish or prawns: 63°C or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork

Maintain your grill

City-based foodpreneur Hanoz Shaher, who often hosts barbeque parties at a friend’s terrace or at gymkhanas, says, “For a party, you need at least half a kilo to 1 kilo of coal, if you are serving meats for over 10 guests. We use off-the-shelf sauces and lean cuts, mainly chicken and pork chops. It is important to remove the coals from the grill only after they have cooled down completely. Then, wash it properly and also put it in boiling water to decontaminate it. Most grills have a good shelf life but ensure that they don’t rust,” he says.

Hanoz Shaher

Indian-style barbeque

Types of skewers: Each skewer is designed for a specific purpose. Use a long, flat skewer with a sharp pencil point edge to make seekh kebabs. The marks that you often see on seekh kebabs are finger prints when you skewer them into the rod. Use a thin stick-like skewer to grill chicken and paneer tikka.

Deal with paneer: To ensure that it doesn't break, cut thin paneer squares, marinate them and refrigerate overnight. Then, stick two squares together and skewer them. Poke a few holes into chicken so that it cooks faster. The biggest mistake people make is to place the skewers over direct flame. Place your skewers only when the charcoal is ashen white.

Chef Mikhail Shahani, Charcoal Biryani 

Reccos for meats

For chicken, mutton, lamb and pork, head to Joseph Cold Storage at Bandra (W). 
Call 26424261

For seafood, look for fresh catch at Sassoon Docks or opt for Siddharth Kashyap's trusted supplier.
Call 7039765692

Buy artisanal handcrafted meats and a wide range of sausages (in pic) from Kaviraj Thadani. He promises to provide you with marinated, grill-ready meats if you call up two days in advance (minimum one kilo).

Call 9022886675 


Try these recipes
>> Coffee Mustard Rub: Make a mix with coffee powder, mustard powder, garlic powder, brown sugar, black pepper powder and salt.

>> Miso And Ghost Pepper Marinade: Whisk miso paste, rice-wine, honey, soy sauce and ghost pepper hot sauce.

>> For vegetarians: Make Esquites, a Mexican street salad by tossing corn kernels with mayonnaise, crumbled feta cheese, scallion, cilantro leaves, jalapeno, garlic, lime juice and chilli powder. Or opt for Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Salmoriglio sauce, a Southern Italian condiment made of lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, oregano and parsley, salt and pepper.
Siddharth Kashyap





Where to buy your grills

Sigree: Saria Stove Depot in Crawford market stocks sigrees that start from `600. These crude but compact and cost-effective grills can be used to cook smaller cuts of fish and tikkas. They also stock apparatus like barbeque tongs, spatula and skewers required for the barbeque.
Time 11 am to 8 pm
At Lohar Chawl, near Badshah Cold Drink House, CST. CALL 22082314

Portable grills: Weber seems to be a trusted brand when it comes to buying portable grills. One of the most common is a coal barbeque one that comes with a tripod stand and wheels.
Cost `10,469 LOG ON TO (they also stock high-end barbeque grills going up to `95,000)

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