Australian Functional Ingredients – by Vic Cherikoff

Bar-B Skews launch in Thomas Dux and selected butchers

Bar-B Skews™ deliver “That’s clever!” flavours to meats, seafood and even vegetables cooked on the grill, BBQ or in the oven.

Bar-B Skews™ are a new, natural way of marinating meats from the inside out and impart crisp, clean flavours. The infused wooden skewers are available in packs of 8 Skews™ in 8 varieties: Hot Chilli, Crushed Garlic, Thai Basil, Paperbark Smoke, Wild Pepper, Fresh Coconut, Spanish Rosemary and Rainforest Lime.

After seeing a similar product in the USA it was obvious that the American product was severely limited as a means to deliver flavours. The concept was to develop skewers which delivered just the right amount of taste into a range of meats, seafood and vegetables and to have them heat-activated. Bar-B Skews™ are the result and the flavour impact is impressive.

Check out my video on using the Skews™: Click here.

It is actually difficult if not impossible to get a similar result from a liquid marinade. These just sit on the surface and generally lose much of their impact during cooking when aromatics evaporate or burn. Most marinades contain some sugars and oil and are therefore prone to charring. This introduces trans-fats as a health challenge and the extra kilojoules are not always desirable.

By comparison, Bar-B Skews™ are near zero fat (the healthy alternative to marinades) and deliver a really clean, all natural flavour, marinating from the inside out.

The Skews™ can be used in any meats as kebabs or when roasting meats but there are some guidelines which can improve the result:

Use good quality meats as cooking times are short so sinew and gristle will give a tasty but chewy product. A little fat in red meats helps absorb the flavours and some will melt away during cooking, particularly the marbling in muscle.

We recommend using the Chinese trick of lightly dusting lean meat, chicken breast fillet and calamari with flour before cooking as this seals in the moisture and keeps the protein juicy. You can also use potato, corn, arrowroot, buckwheat or rice flour and even try more coarse flours such as polenta for a little extra textural crunch from the crust which forms.

Vegetables really pick up some of the flavours eg chilli and garlic and you’ll be amazed at how chilli hot zucchini or par-boiled pumpkin will get or how well they pick up the Wild Pepper or Paperbark Smoke flavours.

Kebabs on Skews™ can be cooked on the barbecue hot plate (finish over the grill if you want some flame finish), in a pan or in the oven but meats need to be cooked more than blue to rare for the heat to activate the flavours. If you like your meat barely cooked then skewer the meat onto the Skews™ so that the wood is very close to the surface and place this down on the heat first and foremost. This is the recommended use of the Spanish Rosemary Skews™ used with lamb kebabs or if grilling fish which is best done rare in the middle eg salmon.

Larger roasts such as legs of lamb, rolls of beef, whole bird or poultry pieces and whole fish can be ‘Skewed’ and oven-baked. Again, pierce the Skews™ through the meat keeping them about 1cm from the surface and use 1 Skew per 350g of meat. It is also possible to pair flavours. Try Hot Chilli and Thai Basil in a beef roast, a large fish or whole chicken. Spanish Rosemary and Crushed Garlic can go into a leg of lamb. Wild Pepper and Paperbark Smoke really suits poultry or whole fish.
Bar-B Skews™ can also be used pushed through whole steaks, sausages (particularly good) and mince (with egg and breadcrumb mixed through) shaped around the Skews™ as meatballs or skinless sausages.

Bar-B Skews™ are packed in a zip seal, barrier sleeve to protect the flavours and this is particularly useful to store un-used Skews™ perfectly fresh. Additionally, the forests producing the timber from which Skews™ are made are grown under sustainable forestry management practices so we will have this resource for centuries to come.

You’ll find Bar-B Skews™ in Thomas Dux outlets in NSW and Victoria; in select butchers in the eastern States; or visit our on-line store

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Vic Cherikoff