Grill Smoke BBQ by Ben Tish

Grill Smoke BBQ by Ben Tish is proof that there is a world full of options when it comes to barbecue than hot dogs and burgers and that there is a power greater than us that loves us and wants us to eat happy. Tish, the Chef Director of the Salt Yard Group in London brings smokey deliciousness to far more than the usual fare and I, for one, am grateful he has. 

First of all the book is stunning, the photographs, the layout and feel of the book is just sensational. Then we have the recipes - Potato and Honey Flatbreads with Smoked Butter (yes smoked butter) & Thyme, Marcella Apple and Potato Pancakes, Slow Cooked Blackberries with Turkish Pide and Creamed Sheep's Cheese, Hot Smoked Butternut Squash with Ricotta and Grape Jam and so many more. Carnivores, have no fear, the book shares plenty of protein dishes and those offerings look killer as well. But where this title shines for me is in the out-of-the-norm selections such as Cavolo Nero Gratin with Cream and Gorgonzola, Charcoal Grilled Chicory with Pomegranate Molasses and Walnut & Coffee Cake with Salted Caramel and Clotted Cream - oh for heaven's sake - I'm swooning. 

Anyone who loves to grill, smoke or barbecue will appreciate the content of this glorious title and even those of us who aren't so much into the fire and smoke routine (like myself) can find themselves totally taken in by these innovative, beautiful dishes. 

Special thanks to the author and Quadrille Publishing for sharing the Hot-smoked pork belly with cider, apples and marjoram. Be sure to head over to our contest page to enter to win a copy of this title. Fire up your grills and prepare yourself for greatness. 

Hot-smoked pork belly with cider, apples and marjoram


The classic combination of pork, apple and cider has been around for years. It is said that this culinary triumvirate first came into being in Normandy, where all three elements are in plentiful supply. When I was young, my parents would cook pork chops with grilled apples and cider gravy, and I remember thinking how exotic and interesting the dish was (I think it's still rolled out in the Tish senior household on special occasions). You'll need to start this recipe the day before. There's only one non-negotiable in this book… and that's serving this pork with Smoked Mashed Potato (recipe below). 

Serves 4

You'll also need a lump of hardwood, a chimney starter, a water tray and a temperature probe

1.2 kg (2 3/4 lb) boneless pork belly, skin on
1 quantity Brine for white meat (see below)
4 small apples
1/2 bunch marjoram, leaves picked, to serve
sea salt and black pepper

For the cider glaze

100g (1/2 cup) dark brown sugar
50ml (3 1/2 Tbsp) cider vinegar
500ml (generous 2 cups) dry cider

Using a very sharp knife, score the skin of the pork belly in criss-cross fashion. Place the pork in a non-reactive bowl or container, then pour over the brine and 3 litres (3 quarts) of water. Leave for 7-8 hours in the fridge.

For the cider glaze, place the sugar and vinegar in a nonreactive saucepan and heat on the stovetop until the sugar has dissolved. Pour in the cider. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until thick and syrupy. Reserve and keep warm.

Light the barbecue and set for direct/indirect cooking. Place the lump of wood onto the ashen charcoal to start smoking.

Lift the pork out of the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the meat all over with some of the glaze, then place skin-side down on the grill in the direct heat zone. Cook for 3 minutes before turning and cooking for 3 minutes on the other side. Transfer the pork, skin-side down, to the indirect heat zone.

Place a water tray in the direct heat zone. Baste the pork with the glaze, then close the lid (the temperature inside the barbecue should be about 170-175ºC/340-350ºF; regulate with the vents, if needed) and cook for 1 hour before turning and basting the pork again. Cook for another hour, then turn and baste again.
At this stage, check if the water tray needs topping up, and add a fresh batch of coals from the chimney starter and another lump of wood. Place the apples on the grill around the pork and cook with the lid closed for a further hour, then baste the pork again. Check to see if the pork is very tender - it should be soft enough to cut with a spoon. If not, keep cooking and basting for another hour or so. To be on the safe side, use the temperature probe to check the internal temperature of the pork, which should be around 75ºC (167ºF).

Finish with a final glaze, then remove the pork from the barbecue and leave in a warm spot to rest for 20 minutes. The apples can come out at the same time as the pork, as long as they are nice and soft.

Cut the pork into four thick slices, and serve each one with an apple and a sprinkle of marjoram leaves.

Brine for white meat - chicken and pork

Makes about 1L (4 1/4 cups)
100g (1/2 cup) coarse sea salt
50g (1/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
zest of 1 lemon, peeled off in long strips
2 bay leaves
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds

Place all the ingredients in a medium non-reactive saucepan with 1 litre (4 1/4 cups) of water. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring as you go to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before using. 

Smoked mashed potato

This wickedly naughty mash comes with the added bonus of smokiness from oak-smoked milk and cream - it works a treat and adds a natural sweetness to the potatoes. My favourite potato for mashing is the red-skinned Desiree as it has firm, creamy flesh that doesn't absorb too much water on cooking; Maris Piper makes a good substitute.

Serves 4

You'll also need a cold-smoking device and some oak chips

100ml (generous 1/3 cup) double (heavy) cream
75ml (1/3 cup) full-cream (whole) milk
600g (1lb 5oz) Desiree potatoes, peeled
50g (3 1/2 Tbsp) unsalted butter, diced
sea salt and white pepper

Set up the cold-smoking device in the barbecue with the oak chips and get it going, then place the grill rack on top.

Pour the cream and milk into a medium bowl, then place on the rack and close the lid and vent of the barbecue. Cold-smoke for 1 hour, then remove the bowl from the barbecue and leave to rest for 1 hour.

Cut the potatoes into even chunks, then place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Season with salt. Bring to the boil on the stovetop, then simmer until the potatoes are nice and tender. Drain, then return the potatoes to the hot pan and let them steam-dry for 2 minutes.

Mash the potatoes or press through a potato ricer or masher into a bowl. Pour in the smoked cream and milk and stir in the butter. Season to taste, then serve immediately.

Recipes excerpted with permission from Grill Smoke BBQ by Ben Tish, published by Quadrille, RRP $35.00 hardcover.

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20 Comments

  • lgroom  on  6/26/2017 at 1:48 PM

    I love to eat grilled and barbecued stuff but not such a fan of the pyrotechnics involved with preparing it. However, I am always nominated to bring cowboy beans to any backyard gathering.

  • sgump  on  6/26/2017 at 1:54 PM

    My go-to barbecue dish is something to eat *with* the barbecue: a Pennsylvania Dutch macaroni salad (with crunchy vegetables and a nicely tart dressing of mayonnaise, condensed milk, powdered sugar, salt, pepper, and LOTS of apple cider vinegar).

  • HalfSmoke  on  6/26/2017 at 2:43 PM

    My go-to barbecue dish: Adam Perry Lang's Peach-Rosemary Pork Tenderloin.

  • matag  on  6/26/2017 at 9:43 PM

    My go to grilled Korean spiced chicken

  • Uhmandanicole  on  6/27/2017 at 8:20 AM

    Grilled tri tip with a sweet soy ginger-garlic marinade

  • abihamm  on  6/27/2017 at 7:43 PM

    BBQ & Beer Glazed Chicken

  • CAMcooks  on  6/28/2017 at 2:13 PM

    Sounds like a great addition to my BBQ collection. Yummy

  • Siegal  on  6/29/2017 at 10:25 AM

    I love BBQ eggplant

  • SoulfulMama  on  6/30/2017 at 4:39 PM

    Smoked mashed potatoes ....easy and something different for me

  • kitchenclimbers  on  7/5/2017 at 12:00 PM

    smoked brisket- yummmmmmmm

  • annieski  on  7/9/2017 at 5:56 AM

    My wife loves to smoke and is always a sport about smoking some tofu for me!

  • PennyG  on  7/15/2017 at 4:10 PM

    Texas Brisket - nothing better!

  • RSW  on  7/16/2017 at 10:03 AM

    Pulled pork sandwiches

  • JenJoLa  on  7/19/2017 at 2:46 PM

    My go-to barbecue dish would either be corn on the cob or else tilapia marinated in an Asian sauce.

  • AnnaZed  on  7/26/2017 at 2:29 PM

    I make a slow smoked brisket that everyone likes.

  • LaurenE  on  7/28/2017 at 10:23 AM

    I don't yet have a go-to dish. That's why I need this book!

  • Teruska  on  7/29/2017 at 9:05 PM

    Our current favorite involves some method of cooking calamari. Can't wait to check this book out!

  • orchidlady01  on  7/30/2017 at 3:04 AM

    My go-to BBQ dish is BBQ ribs.

  • Sandyscuties  on  7/30/2017 at 9:28 AM

    BBQ and beer glazed chicken ummmm yum!!!

  • DarcyVaughn  on  8/8/2017 at 12:19 AM

    Spatchcocked chicken with some kind of rub is my go-to, but I'd love to experiment with longer cooking, smoked dishes.

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