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The Italian BBQ: ten must-have products on the table

The Italian BBQ

Every country has its own traditions when it comes to barbecues, from the products used to the way they are cooked. Today we are going to tell you how we Italians experience "the barbecue" and which are the elements that cannot be missing on the table to transform a simple moment of binge eating into a truly Made in Italy experience.

The Italian barbecue: what should not be missing

If you want to offer your customers dishes that perfectly represent the typical Italian barbecue, you can't only consider meat as the protagonist; vegetables, cheese and fish are important as well. Let's find out which are the 10 products that must not be missing in your menu inspired by the Italian barbecue tradition.

  • The bruschetta: crispy, thick-cut slices of bread toasted on a grill until they become golden-hued, seasoned with garlic, olive oil and parsley and served with chopped fresh tomatoes.
  • Ribs: absolutely essential, especially pork ribs. Marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours with a little oil, garlic, red wine and aromatic herbs such as rosemary, sage or bay leaf.
  • Sauces: worthy condiments for everything, the traditional ones such as mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup are certainly not to be missed, with particular attention also being paid to BBQ sauce, whose demand has grown considerably in recent years.
  • Sausages: not to be marinated before cooking, as their fatty composition makes them perfect for grilling au naturel; it is better not to pierce them to prevent them from drying out too much, especially on a very hot charcoal grill. Serve well done, preferably with a crispy crust.
  • The steak: it goes without saying that when Italians speak of steak they immediately think of Fiorentine steak. In general, a slice suitable for grilling must be at least 3/4 inches in thickness, so that it remains juicy and does not become tough. A marinade of at least 3 hours with oil, pepper, aromatic herbs and white wine is ideal.
  • Chicken: one of the favourite products for a quick and satisfying barbecue, the wings are the tastiest part, with crispy skin on the outside and soft meat on the inside, easy to prepare and ready in about 20 minutes. They are usually seasoned with a squeeze of fresh lemon or the sauces we mentioned earlier.
  • Vegetables: grilled vegetables are a real treat! One of the favourite ways to cook them is on skewers, by threading slices of courgettes, aubergines, tomatoes and peppers into simple toothpicks, add flavour with an oil and garlic sauce and then season with salt and parsley.
  • Scampi: a quick and easy dish to make. In 5 minutes it can be served as a fish appetizer as an alternative to meat; if it is grilled, it is delicious!
  • Tomini: a typical small round-shaped Italian cheese that is soft in consistency. It is traditional to wrap it in foil and cook it directly on the burning charcoal grill until the consistency becomes soft, almost liquid. Once the wrapper has been opened, the whole thing can be eaten, including the rind, and it is ideal to pair it with meat or, even better, with smoked cured meat such as speck.
  • Fresh bread: last but not least, a must-have product to accompany a real Italian BBQ! It goes perfectly with everything, better if slightly heated on the grill until it is golden and crispy. It is important that the bread is fresh, but above all of high quality, because for us Italians it is a fundamental element to be able to give a positive opinion on your Made in Italy barbecue.

How to prepare and cook Fiorentina steak

Let's take a closer look at one of the most popular dishes in the Italian culinary tradition and certainly a must for a real Italian barbecue: the Florentine steak. Not all meats are ideal for preparing it; in fact, a specific cut of a specific animal is required. We are talking about the loin of veal, basically the back of the animal, usually between 8 and 18 months old. So no chicken, turkey, pork or horse, mind you.

Usually, the cut includes the fillet and the sirloin, but if necessary you can also ask for just the second one, which is definitely more succulent and less expensive thanks to the presence of more fat (=higher marbling). The breed that best suits the production of a Florentine steak is the Chianina, but also a T-Bone of Angus is certainly a more than valid alternative. The original form is T-bone, but also in this case you can ask to have it already boned, even if, as we all know, the meat close to the bone is tastier: the choice is yours!

Practically speaking, the cooking is a fundamental aspect of serving a perfect T-bone steak: in this case, however, there are no pre-established rules or times, because much depends on the weight of the steak, which will vary the cooking time accordingly. There are, however, some rules that can be followed to avoid making mistakes that will definitively compromise the quality of the product. The steak must be taken out of the fridge at least 3 hours before the preparation, so that it can rest and reach room temperature. It is essential that when you put the meat on the grill, it should be completely red-hot: before placing it on the grill, it is better to wait until the flame has completely died down, so that the meat will cook at the right temperature and without rushing things too much. It is important not to pierce the steak, otherwise all the juices that keep it soft and unique will come out. The only seasoning we recommend is salt, which should only be added at the end of the cooking time; at most you can add a drop of extra virgin olive oil. Generally you need at least 4 minutes of cooking per side, in any case until you see the traditional droplets of blood on the surface: the symbol of the perfect Florentine steak. The final blow is to keep the slice straight on the bone for at least two minutes.

Side dishes for the Italian BBQ

It is easy to focus too much on the main dishes and forget to give due importance to the accompaniments. Every detail is important to create a satisfying Italian-style barbecue. Let's take a look at some of the traditional products that are used as side dishes for the typical Made in Italy barbecue.

Potatoes are undoubtedly among the most common and appreciated, especially when accompanying meat dishes, whether roasted or baked; the fundamental aspect is to flavour them in the right way: rosemary cannot be missing as the main condiment. Placing them in foil and braising them directly on the grill is also one of the most popular alternatives, to be seasoned afterwards with a pinch of salt and a little oil.

Vegetable skewers are another perfect side dish for an Italian-style BBQ. They can be prepared in just a few minutes and add a touch of colour to the table, as well as being very tasty. Aubergines, courgettes and peppers are the most traditional choices, but mushrooms, tomatoes and carrots are also popular.

Another popular combination is honey with grilled carrots to be served with a pork-based menu. Our final tip is to unleash your creativity and use fresh, quality products to make an excellent side dish for your Italian barbecue.

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