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Ultimate veg barbecue

Why limit barbecues to meat when the grill can also bring out extraordinary flavours in vegetables?
Cut to the Smoke veg barbecue

‘Why limit barbecues to meat when the grill can also bring out extraordinary flavours in vegetables?’ asks Nigel Webster of Cut to the Smoke. Read on to find out how to create the ultimate veg barbecue this summer

The British barbecue may have developed beyond bangers and burgers but vegetables are still second tier in the grilling game. Yet, with the right treatment and some appropriate rubs and spices, they can give meat a run for its money, believes Nigel Webster, founder of Hampshire’s Cut to the Smoke.

Redefining the British barbecue Nigel produces a range of distinctive barbecue seasonings which promises to elevate any ingredient cooked on the grill.

‘We believe in redefining British barbecue by infusing it with adventurous flavours,’ he says. ‘We source and import quality seasonings that not only elevate flavour, but do so in a health-conscious manner.

One of our primary focuses is to use a minimal amount of salt and sugar (less than 15 per cent sugar and 7 per cent salt) so consumers can season to their own taste and allow the flavour of the mixes and charred ingredient to shine.’

Challenging convention

While the Cut to the Smoke range can be used on pretty much anything that can be cooked on the barbie, Nigel’s a big advocate for taking veggies next level by giving them a lick of flame.

‘Challenge the conventional,’ he insists. ‘Why limit barbecues to meats when the grill can also bring out extraordinary flavours in vegetables?

Aubergine and courgette, often dismissed as watery and tasteless, are transformed by flame. When sliced and charred on the coals, they become flavour-packed delights. A sprinkle of our seasonings adds the perfect finishing touch to intensify their flavours.’

Adding plant‑based dishes to a barbecue will not only please veggie and vegan friends, it’ll enhance the gastronomic event for everyone.

The greater the variety of vegetables you fire up, the more visually appealing your table,’ says Nigel. ‘Strands of vivid green scorched samphire look fantastic.’

Barbecued samphire

Expert tips for barbecuing veg

For those unsure of where to begin for their veg barbecue spread, Nigel suggests a simple starting point:

‘Try cooking less-celebrated vegetables such as padron peppers. A few minutes on the grill and they offer a taste that can stand alone as a side dish or complement a meaty main.’

Nigel believes veggies also have the ability to take centre stage: ‘For wow-factor, slice an aubergine in half then in a criss cross pattern, sprinkle with our ground pomegranate and ground cardamom – the citrusy combo works incredibly well – and char on the grill. Cook long enough to turn them into delicious crackers, or eat them while they’re fleshy and succulent. Either way, the results are amazing.

‘Artichokes are another winner. Cut them in half then grill until the skin is crisp and the edges break apart. It’s a delicious way of treating them.’

Ingredients of note

The flavour that flame cooking gives vegetables is enhanced by the use of quality spices and rubs. And Nigel pays great attention to the character of the ingredients in his products.

‘We use coconut sugar because it brings such a deep molasses taste and aroma,’ he says. ‘It doesn’t burn or char as easily as normal sugar, resulting in less of that crumbly burnt coating.’

Chillies are given the same level of attention: ‘We use them to bring flavour and aroma, not heat, and blend ancho, mulato, pasilla and guajillo.

Even the salt used is oak‑smoked sea salt, which adds a further layer of smokiness.

Ready to take your veggie grilling up a notch? Find recipe inspiration and Nigel’s range of spices, smoking chips, shakers and seasonings at the Cut to the Smoke website.

Enjoyed finding out how to create the ultimate veg barbecue? Make sure you’re prepped for barbecue season with Nigel’s pro tips.

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