Chef Kevin Ashton

Sharing my passion for cooking

Barbecued Rib of Beef with Forestiere Sauce


                    Barbecued Rib of Beek With Forestiere Sauce © Kevin Ashton 2007

If you caught any of my BBQ masterclasses around the UK, you know you can cook anything from whole chickens and shoulders of lamb to pizza and cheesecake on a barbecue - if you know how to control the heat.  For those that didn't you can read more about the basics here.

For this recipe, your BBQ needs a lid and you'll also need a disposable aluminium roasting tray. The tray needs to be placed underneath the grill bars in the middle. If your barbecue is charcoal, place the coals around the tray. If your BBQ is gas, leave the centre gas jet off and put the tray in the middle.

1tbsp olive oil
1 .5kg rib (3lb) Rib of beef on the bone
100g (4oz)oyster mushrooms
1 large portabella mushroom
125ml red wine
30g (1.5 oz)butter
1.5tbsp plain flour
2 rashers smoked bacon finely diced
500ml (1pint) beef stock
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 small shallots diced
1 level tbsp tomato puree


  1. Set up and light your barbecue as per the above instructions.
  2. Slice mushrooms into large pieces then fry together with bacon in a non-stick frying pan, until golden brown.
  3. Turn the heat down, add the butter and shallots and cook until the shallots are soft. Stir in the flour and stir occasionally until the flour has lightly browned.
  4. Transfer the mushroom mix to a non-stick saucepan, gradually add the beef stock a ladle at a time so it stays smooth.
  5. Finally add the wine, garlic and tomato puree, stirring in well, then simmer for 40-50 minutes, then keep warm.
  6. Rub on a little olive oil and then season the rib of beef with salt and pepper on both sides.
  7. Position the rib of beef over the aluminium roasting tray and close lid of the BBQ. In doing this, you're creating an oven and can cook the beef to your desired taste (I prefer my beef medium rare so the beef when pressed should still have a little spring in it).
  8. If you have a meat thermometer, cook the beef until it reads 138F/59C (which should be medium rare).When you rest the meat the temperature will rise several degrees as the meat relaxes.The rib of beef in the picture was cooked to medium which is around 145F/63C.


Allow the meat to rest on a warm plate before carving. Any juices that come out of the beef should be poured into the sauce to give the sauce a wonderful beefy flavour.

The purpose of the disposable aluminium roasting tray is to catch the fat running of the meat and thus avoiding flare-ups.

As you can see from the photo I like to serve this dish with dauphinoise potatoes. If you want to add a little extra smokey flavour to the beef soak 1 handful of small hickory wood chips the night before in cold water. Just before you put the Rib to cook drain the wood chips and sprinkle them directly onto the charcoal.

Polar Family Cool Bag Review


Whenever I review a product I try to judge it fairly and yet critically.  In my recent  barbecue article, I talk about how useful it is to have a large cool bag to avoid constantly running back and forth to the kitchen and perhaps burning your food. When choosing a cool bag for this specific job size is a very important factor, so avoid anything less than 20 litres.

Polar Luxury Family Cool Bag-Review

This is a good size and well designed cool bag and a decent quality for the price.

The bag arrived quite flat because there are two velcro straps that make it possible to pack it flat, which is useful for storage or even when packing into a suitcase.  Additionally these straps can be put out of the way by using the other two velcro fasteners located inside the lid, so they are not just dangling around ready to catch themselves (as velcro fasteners have a want to do).

It can either be carried using the adjustable shoulder strap or the two handles can be fastened together.

This particular model has an extra access point on the top so you can get things out without unzipping the whole lid.

There is also a useful large exterior pocket for things that don't need keeping cool. It's the little touches that show the thought that went into the design.

As I said the overall quality versus price is good though it was a little stiff when I first tried to zip up this bag.

Given that the zip is positioned at the very top of the cool bag and has to go around corners without catching the lining I would advise you gently work it back and forth a few times before you use it to loosen it. The thick thermal insulation is food safe and PVC free.  The lining has heat sealed seams to contain spills and for easy cleaning.

After impressing me overall, the included "free ice pack", was a bit of a letdown.  I was hoping that Polar would have included a specially designed cool block that covered the base of the bag, even if this raised the price slightly.

Photo Gallery 




Design  10

Quality  8

Included extras 7

Polar is a well-respected name in commercial refrigeration and this is a well-designed family size cool bag, especially when you are planning your next Barbeque.

Using a Cool Bag For A Barbecue
Ahead of time figure out which assortment of your plastic containers fit your cool bag to make sure you maximise the capacity of the bag. You want a mixture of sizes but try to avoid round ones as they will waste space.

Prepare your food the night before (and refrigerate). Whilst your barbecue coals are tempering, place each item of food in separate containers ie The chicken in one, vegetables in another, seafood in another and so on.  Place frozen cool blocks at the bottom of the cool bag and then pack your food. Try to place the items you need first towards the top.  Add any additional cool blocks if you have any room left in the cool bag. Try to keep the cool bag in the shade if possible, though a good cool bag used correctly should keep food cool for at least 6 hours.  I also like to have a work table behind or next to the barbecue, which may also offer shade to the cool bag.

Always reseal the cool bag as soon as possible to keep the cold in.  You can also use a little portable digital thermometer in you have any concerns.  Just place the probe end into a small bottle with water in. Remember you should always keep your foods 5c or lower to keep it safe.  It is also good to have extra cool blocks on standby in your freezer, if you feel the blocks in the cool bag need switching.

The Art of Cooking on a Barbecue-part 2


In part one I talked about the different methods of cooking on a barbecue, now I'm going to give you an overview of the components and their importance for a successful  barbecue.


The two main types of charcoal are briquette or hardwood lump, some purists prefer the more nature hardwood lump. Myself I like a mix because the hardwood lump lights quicker and burns faster, whereas the briquette is harder to light but burns for longer.  If your barbecue runs for a long time you may need to top up the charcoal and for this I would use the hardwood lump if possible. Remember the new coals will need to temper to get well alight before you resume cooking, or you will get a lot of soot on your food.

Barbecue Placement

Find a flat area of ground, think about wind direction because you don't want it either blowing smoke in the direction of your guests or your neighbor's clean washing.  Don't place the barbecue close to the ornemental pond or you will attract too many bugs. I find that Citronella offers excellent protection against mosquitoes whether in the form of candles or torches filled with oil. Use these in smaller areas, such as on the patio while dining or entertaining.

Work Table

Is always a good idea to have a work table close by. A 6 foot table (1.8288 metres) is ideal and make sure you set it up on a stable (flat) part of the garden,so it does not tip up.  I usually set up the table so as to create a L shape with grill, but not too close.  If you are planing a large barbecue you might consider a second table to act as the buffet table, just make sure it is not too close to the barbecue or your work table.  It is also useful to have a cutting board and a couple knives handy but remember, never cut cooked meat on a board you have been using for raw meats.


Large Cooler Bags

Good barbecuing is about controlling the heat, preparation and having things to hand. Invest in a large cooler bag (about 26-30 litre size) and cooler blocks to stop all the running back and forth to the fridge.  Put your prepared food stuffs into separate plastic containers  which can keep cool in your cooker bag. Make sure your cooler blocks are put in your freezer 24 hours before hand.

In warm weather don't take any raw meats or seafood outside until you are ready to cook. I like to prep everything in the kitchen then put the foods into plastic containers. The plastic containers then get put into a large cooler bag with 3-4 frozen cool blocks to keep the food nice and cold. This way you don't need to keep running backwards and forwards to the kitchen whilst your food on the grill is burning. If you're having a buffet table with things like coleslaw, potato salad etc keep cling wrapped in the fridge until you are about to serve.

Plates and Containers

Have heat proof containers to transfer cooked food into...don't put the cooked food onto plates or bowls that had raw foods in them.

Barbecue Sauce

If you wish to use a barbecue sauce don't put it on too soon. Most barbecue sauce have brown sugar, honey, or molasses all of which burn very easily. Just brush BBQ sauce on during the final minutes of cooking.

Weather Protector

The day before a large barbecue I always make a casserole type dish such as Chili or Curry you might say "It's one I made earlier". I do this for 2 reasons…..

1.) If the weather turns bad and I have to bring the guests in they can still eat.

2.) Often when barbecuing you run out of food until the next batch is cooked, so by having a ready-made dish you can offer to people who don't want to wait.


If you wish you can reserve part of your grill top to warm sauces etc.


If making your own burgers make them several hours before hand, this helps to keep there shape and prevent them from falling apart on the grill. Make sure you have a place for keeping your grilled food hot/warm. Cook the longer cook items such as chicken before you cook the burgers. If you need to cook a large number of sausage for your barbecue consider par cooking them in boiling water (add a chicken bouillon cube if you like), then finish them on the BBQ grill.

Hickory wood chips


You can add a great smoky taste to the food by using various types of wood chips on your grill. Probably to two best know in the UK are hickory and oak. But there are lots of others. Here is a brief list of the better know woods and the types of foods they work well with.  The two important points to remember before buying wood chips are,

  1. The chips must be well soaked in cold water several hours before, so when they are sprinkled on top of the hot coals they smoke rather than catch fire immediately.
  2. Big wood chips like the ones in the photograph are meant for barbecue grills and smaller chips (that look more like shavings are meant for smokers ).

Apple Very mild with a subtle fruity flavor, slightly sweet. Good with poultry (turns skin dark brown) and pork.

Hickory Most commonly used wood for smoking--the King of smoking woods. Sweet to strong, heavy bacon flavor. Good with pork, ham and beef.

Lilac Very light, subtle with a hint of floral. Good with seafood and lamb.

Mesquite Strong earthy flavor. Good with beef, fish, chicken, and game,one of the hottest burning.

Mulberry The smell is sweet and reminds one of apple.

Oak Heavy smoke flavor--the Queen of smoking wood. RED OAK is good on ribs, WHITE OAK makes the best coals for longer burning. All oak varieties reported as suitable for smoking. Good with red meat, pork, fish and heavy game. The secret to using wood chips on your barbecue is to soak the chips the night before in cold water so they smoke rather than burn on the grill.


Most of the clean up of the grill should be left until the grill is cool. But you should definitely brush the grill bars down well with a sturdy wire brush.


Barbecues can be great social gatherings especially if yours gets a reputation for good food. With that in mind don't allow young children close to the BBQ when it is hot. If there is any unruly kids looking likely to cause an accident designate another adult as the safety officer to keep the kids away from the grill, after all you can't be expected to cook and watch the children.

Oven Gloves/Clothes

Its a matter of personal taste which you use but make sure you have more that one and that they stay dry. A wet oven cloth gets very hot because the water turns back into steam.

30cm tongs

A Good Pair of Tongs

Besides the Barbecue Grill the most important piece of equipment is a good pair of tongs but that doesn't mean expensive. This particular pair are 30cm long (so long enough), they are light which makes them easy to use and best of all is the price, which is currently £1.54 from Russums  plus P+P so buy a couple.    Russems are a very well-known supplier of catering equipment to the restaurant business, so their prices are very competitive.  I have used them for years but they also are happy to sell to the public as well.   Below is a link to the tongs

Look out for final part 3, coming soon.

The Art of Cooking on a Barbecue-part 1


There is no area of cooking more poorly understood or maligned than Barbecuing. If you're a reader who has only experienced the horrid charred remains of your neighbour's BBQ please I implore you to read on. Barbecue cookery is simply cooking any type of food outdoors. The reason it is so often done so poorly is because the "chef” I use the word loosely does not understand the importance of heat control. Firstly men who rarely if ever cook indoors do an awful lot of barbecuing. But for some reason because this form of cooking is done in the garden it seems to fall into his domain, perhaps harking back to our caveman roots?  Basically there are two methods of barbecue cookery, direct cooking and indirect. This explanation refers to charcoal grills, later in the article I will go over the same principles using gas.

Direct Method

Image a rectangular BBQ grill, fill one third of it with a high stack of charcoal, the middle third with a medium stack of charcoal and the final third leave empty. So you have created 3 heat zones…High…medium…and low (the empty third will get sufficient radiated heat. Now you have 3 heat zones you will have much more control and your confidence will grow so you can be more adventurous in what you cook (I have even baked cheesecake on the Barbie). If your barbecue is round then think of a pie chart and again divide your grill into thirds.

Indirect Method

To be able to cook using the indirect method your barbecue needs to have a lid. Again image a rectangular BBQ, this time placing equal (medium amounts) of charcoal at either end. In the middle place a disposable aluminium-roasting tray, ideally one that fills one-third of the space. This will be your drip tray to prevent flare up. Once your coals are tempered (which takes about 35 minutes) then you can place a joint of meat (say a shoulder of lamb or a whole chicken) and cook it without burning. You first need to rub some kind of oil and season the meat or you can marinate the meat before hand to add interesting flavours and textures. By closing the lid to your barbecue you are creating an oven and you will need to baste the meat from time to time ( the same as you would if you were roasting the meat in your oven. Cooked lovingly over coals will add a delicious slight smoky flavour to the meat.

Gas Grills

Both indirect and direct cooking methods can be done on a gas grill, using the same principles. For direct cooking on gas to ideally you need 3 gas jets to replicate 3 heat zones. Having 1 set on high, 1 set on medium and 1 set on very low or off. When using the indirect method on gas you of course leave the middle gas jet off, also make sure that the disposable drip tray prevents fat getting into the turned off gas jet.

Don't Forget The Vegetarians

If you have more that 10 guests coming to your barbecue the chances are at least one or two of them will be vegetarians…so lets not forget them. To respect their wishes I usually cook all the vegetarian dishes first, then there can be no question that their veggies were cooked next to the meat etc. One of the most popular veggie dishes I cook is a Warm Grilled Mediterranean Vegetable Salad, comprised  of courgettes, aubergines, red, yellow, green peppers, mild onions,*oven dried tomatoes, roasted garlic. I dress the salad with a good quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar…. finishing the dish with roughly chopped fresh basil and torn pieces of mozzarella cheese.


When cooked quickly on a clean grill the combination of fresh warm fruit, very cold homemade vanilla ice cream washed down with a glass of dry champagne takes some beating.

In Summary

There is a whole world of outdoor cookery that can intrigue and delight your senses once you have mastered the basics. Recreate those Mediterranean memories of azure blue waters, the fishermen landing their catch…sardines straight on the grill. Perhaps a shoulder of local spring lamb studded with rosemary and garlic as the sun begins to dip on the horizon.

*To oven dried tomatoes cut your tomatoes in half, rub with olive oil, then season and cook on a very low heat of 100 C (gas mark 1) on the middle shelf with the fan on.  This way the tomatoes not only cook but the fan helps to dehydrate them which concentrates the flavours.

Lots of other tips and tricks tomorrow in part 2