Tips and tricks for a sizzling Villa Barbecue

Great food makes a great holiday even better, especially when you get to make it yourself and share the pleasure with your friends and family. At Aphrodite Hills Holiday Residences, it is quite popular for guests to plan their own Villa Barbecue since many of the properties offer large gardens and/or patio areas that are perfect for those who want to enjoy al fresco dining with their loved ones and make their holiday extra special.

With all the Holiday Residences Villas providing either a built-in, a portable or a gas barbecue, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy your very own ‘Villa Barbecue’. Your booked Villa will also include all the cooking equipment you may need, such as stay-cool handles, BBQ essentials, trays and serving dishes, cutlery and much more.

It gives us immense pleasure when we see our guests enjoy their Villa Barbecues, so we decided to share some simple tips and tricks that will take your Summer grilling labours to the next level.

Select your meat with caution – A good barbecue starts with good meat. They say if it’s marbled, it’ll produce juicy results, which means that the fatty meats are the barbecue staples, as they stay nice and juicy while cooking. You should also pick up thick, high-quality meats since thicker cuts are less likely to dry out. High-quality meat means it will be very tender, juicy and packed with flavour.

Well-lit barbecue – Firstly, you need to make sure that your barbecue temperature is bang on. To achieve this, you need to allow some time for your grill to heat up after you’ve turned it on or lit the charcoal. Believe it or not, you can test the temperature with your hand by keeping it 12cm/5inches above the grill for 2 seconds.

A good idea is to also control the temperature across the grill while cooking. The easiest technique is the ‘half and half’ technique where you put all the charcoal to one side, so you have a mega-hot side and one with no direct heat.

Marinade, marinade, marinade! – We all know the phrase “leave the meat to sit for a few hours, ideally overnight”. Well that applies doubly to barbecues in order to make sure the flavours are not overridden by the addition of the smoke. In fact, it is best to save some marinade and use to brush your meat with the marinade every 10 minutes as it slowly cooks. That way it will add moisture, trap the smoke flavour and caramelise gently as it goes.

Another way to preserve the flavour is to keep the barbecue lid closed as much as you can. This way you keep the temperature constant and you lock in all the flavours.

Season well – Seasoning is often neglected. One of the first lessons any chef learns is to only add salt to a marinade if you are marinating for no more than 2 hours. It is better to choose pepper if you plan to marinade overnight. Always season with salt just before barbecuing and don’t be afraid to season well. Other seasonings and spices that can make your food even more delicious are oregano, paprika, cinnamon, chilli powder and even cumin.

Use the barbecue to its full potential – Barbecues aren’t just for meat. You can grill so many other things by placing them on the embers whilst your meat cooks. Some ideas are fish, wrapped potatoes in foil, halloumi or other cheeses, pitta bread, vegetables and even fruit!

Don’t ruin the vegetables – Vegetables may seem secondary when talking about a barbecue, but they can add a nice touch if they are cooked properly. For them to be perfectly cooked, you need to slice them thinly and grill them straight away, without seasoning or oiling them first. Once cooked then you can add the flavour in some quality olive oil and a bit of balsamic vinegar and of course some salt and pepper.

Add some cold dishes – Sides should never be an afterthought as they complement your barbecued meat or fish and can bring out the flavours even more. If you want to make it more ‘Mediterranean’, we recommend you accompany your main dishes with Greek appetisers including a Village salad with feta cheese and dips that include taramosalata, tahini, houmous, tzatziki, tirokafteri and green or black olives.

Include quality drinks and friends – No barbecue would be complete without some cold refreshments and most importantly without a selection of good people. We recommend chilled beer for the men and medium dry white wine for the ladies.

Personal Chef at Villa Experience.

Those who do not want the hassle of having to cook themselves, or those wanting something extra special to celebrate a special occasion, can opt in for the ‘Chef at Villa Experience’. This way you can enjoy the exquisite experience of a personal chef and the delights of traditional Cyprus cuisine in the luxury, comfort and privacy of your booked Villa.

Our Chefs will treat you to a rich, traditional Cyprus barbecue prepared in the great outdoors, giving you a unique opportunity to sample and savour a fabulous selection of traditional Cypriot dishes. You may even participate in the cooking and learn from the expert should you so wish!