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Make Your Own Mangal

Meat of all forms; from kebabs to köfte, grilled chicken to offal are all transformed into melt-in-your-mouth, tender, smokey goodness by a good old mangal. The name mangal, actually derives from the word portable, a far cry from the fancy, industrial smokers that are in today’s Mediterranean and Middle Eastern grill houses. We wanted to know how to achieve that smokey depth of flavour at home, without having to completely kit out your kitchen.

Josh Katz, head chef of London’s Middle Eastern BBQ grill house, Berber and Q gave his tips on home (well garden/balcony) smoking using a standard barbecue.

Different type of wood

“Sometimes you get wood that’ll impart amazing flavour into your meats, different types of wood will impart different flavours. Find yourself some nice chunks of good wood to put in your bbq. When your charcoal is burning just a add a piece of wood and put the lid on. 

If you’re cooking something like a chicken, it’’ll take a while to cook, you do something that’s called indirect grilling. You bank your coals on one side and you put your chicken the other side, so it’s not directly on the heat. When you’re indirect grilling for 40-45 minutes, just sit a couple of pieces on top of your charcoal to adds an extra flavour and smokiness to you meat.”

At Berber and Q we use pear wood. You can get bags of different chunks of wood from many places. Try Mesquite, Hicory or Cherry. There are good combinations between the type of wood and meat, but that involves playing around, I’m still learning. Hicory tends to be an all-rounder, some of the fruit woods are good with pork but not so good with chicken. Mesquite i find to be very good with lamb, There are guidelines but it’s a personal thing.”

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