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Barbeque Superstars

These guys are HOT! All across Wales they’re smoking, basting, marinating and baking. Maybe it’s time you joined them?

The Marinaders

Who are you? We’re Samantha Evans and Shauna Guinn and we run Hang Fire Southern Kitchen in Barry How did you get into barbecuing? We met when we were 19 and after working in different careers in London both wanted to come back here and do something with more soul. Shauna was really into country music and Samantha loved cooking. A six month road trip sampling soul food and BBQ in the Deep South of the USA got us hooked on the friendships and flavours of the local BBQ joint. So we tried setting up a pop-up BBQ shack in a pub in Splott. The first week we fed four people, within nine months we were feeding 200!

Why are marinades and rubs so good for BBQs? Both are about adding an extra complexity and depth. We marinade things that can take an alternative hit of flavour such as chicken, pork or lamb overnight. More subtle flavours like steaks and veggies work better with a rub. We brush them with oil and sprinkle the rub on no more than 20 minutes before cooking. We learned some spice rub secrets in the US that we aren’t going to tell anyone!

Tell us a marinade/rub favourite and how to cook it? Our classic all purpose rub is brilliant and easy to make. Combine sea salt, paprika, brown sugar, garlic granules, onion powder, chipotle chili powder, all spice, cumin, fennel and pepper in a blender and rub away! We like it on ribs, pork shoulders, chicken or as a seasoning for meatballs.

What else do you love to cook? We cook soul food and we cook it with love. American barbecue is all about cooking it ‘low ‘n’ slow’. On the menu you’ll find 7 hour smoked St Louis Spare Ribs, 18 hour smoked pulled pork shoulder and 8 hour smoked brisket on Texas toast. But we also do yummy dishes for veggies and vegans and people rave about the Creole Gumbo.

Where can we try some? Hang Fire Southern Kitchen is at the Pumphouse, Hood Road, Barry, CF62 5BE. You can buy our new cookbook and we’re filming a new series of Sam and Shauna’s Big Cook Out for BBC Wales right now!

The Firestarter

Who are you? I’m Chris ‘Foodgasm’ Roberts, Gwynedd-based barbecuing guru.

How did you get into barbecuing? It was my dad Colin. He got me into South American cooking methods. He taught me how to use an iron cross asado barbecue to cook meat. He’d learned the technique spending time with Welsh-speaking gauchos on the Patagonian plains in Argentina.

Why is cooking over an outdoor fire so good? The whole point of an asado is it brings everyone together. In South America you get whole communities all eating together. And you can’t duplicate the flavour of charring and smoking indoors. The fat drips from the meat onto the embers and makes the smoke come back up and hit the meat again. Cooking with fire is kind of in our DNA. Every culture started that way. We’ve kind of lost the skill to cook this way that’s a shame.

Tell us your asado cooking tips You need to start with quality meat. Welsh meat is the best. I love mountain lamb. They don’t just eat grass – they eat flowers, berries, and wild grass. You get these flavours coming through. And then you need the right fuel. If you’re buying good meat don’t skimp on the fuel. You needed seasoned hardwood like oak or ash. Super dry it gives you clean smoke. Wet wood gives you dirty bitter smoke which ruins the flavour. Then you have to baste. Salt is essential as it turns the fat into a crackling. I mix a special blend of oil, water, sea salt, whole cloves of garlic and chilis and then just splash it on using a bunch of herbs – rosemary, thyme, bay leafs. No one knows it, but lamb crackling is the best – way better than pork!

What else do you love to cook? I cook almost anything over a barbecue or an asado. I love it. I recently cooked a whole cow on an asado. That took 28 hours! And I love a good rub. Massaged into the meat before you cook it. I have my own special brand called Sexy Rub which people will be able to buy in shops soon. It’s a secret blend of local herbs including shitake mushroom powder produced locally by a mate of mine and Halen Mon sea salt.

Where can we find you to try some? I’ll be barbecuing at events all across Wales this summer including Royal Welsh and Good life Experience with Cerys Matthews. I’m also at Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace. You can watch my TV show Bwyd Epic Chris on S4C Click too. I’m recording the second series right now!

The Heatseekers

Who are you? We’re Ron and Margaret. After successful careers in building and teaching consultancy we wanted a complete change. So at the age when most people are retiring, we set up Bryn Celyn – a 12 acre small- holding in the heart of the beautiful Anglesey country- side. We love it!

How did you get into outdoor cooking? We started selling free range eggs from our hens. Next came pork pies, sausages and bacon from our own pigs. Then we set up our farm shop. A restaurant and cookery school soon followed. The small holding is a place to come and relax. In particular we wanted to spend more time outside on sunny summer evenings. So Ron decided to try building a traditional cob oven using clay from our own fields. We now run courses for up to four people to build your own cob oven and cook in it.

Why is cooking using an outdoor oven so good? The cob oven’s design means it pulls in cool moist air then heats it to very high temperature. Ordinary ovens use dry heat. The result? Cooking in a moist air means you can cook at a much higher temperature without the food drying out. So the flavours are way better and they’re all enhanced by a hint of woodsmoke. Delicious!

Tell us a few of your cob oven top tips We use it to cook all kinds of stuff: pizzas, bread, focaccia, whole legs of pork. It’s important to use the right fuel. We use hardwood from our own woodland: beech, oak, ash or hazel. You need to light the fire and leave it to heat up to 300 degrees centigrade, holding it at this temperature for at least 15 minutes. Depending on what you’re cooking, you can either remove the fire and cook in the residual heat (that works really well for breads). Or leave some fire burning to cook pizzas or joints of pork or chicken.

What else do you love to cook? On our cooking experience days, as well as using the cob oven, Ron shows you how to cook spit-roast porchetta. Ron has also built an asado barbecue. He roasts whole Anglesey Salt Marsh lamb over seasoned wood for several hours and serves it sliced with fresh salads. Basically it’s all about trying new ways of cooking. People love it!

Where can we find you to try some? North West Wales on Anglesey, half a mile off the A5025 between Moelfre and Amlwch on the Dulas estuary. Find out more, book experiences and buy produce on our website:

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