The chophouse Blacklock’s name is inspired by the cast irons used to press meat onto a grill. It’s the first clue that this restaurant is definitely one for meat lovers.
The restaurant uses award-winning farmer and butcher Philip Warren in Cornwall as their meat suppliers for some top notch chops.
The restaurant group was founded in 2013 by Gordon Ker, a former employee at Hawksmoor. The first branch opened in Soho in a former brothel, followed by sites in Eastcheap and Shoreditch.
Here, Blacklock’s founder Gordon Ker shares his top tips for your next BBQ so fellow meat lovers can upgrade their grill game.
Which cuts of meat do you recommend?
I love lamb chops, always have, and always will. A charcoal grill will always caramelise the fat on lamb much better than a pan over a hot hob.
There is nothing better than a stack of nicely caramelised lamb chops accompanied by a crisp tomato and feta salad with plenty of mint.
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What would you recommend for vegans and veggies?
We roast lots of earthy vegetables in the coals of the grill as it creates a delicious bark on the outside whilst keeping the middle tender.
In the restaurants sweet potatoes sleep overnight in the coals awakening soft the next morning but aubergine, beetroot, celeriac and plenty more can all stand up to more heat.
What seasoning do you recommend on the grill?
We like to keep things simple. A healthy covering of Maldon sea salt and a hint of black pepper.
We use a 90:10 mix in the restaurants and always favour an extra sprinkle of salt to build that delicious charcoal-grilled crust.
What’s your favourite marinade?
We steer clear of anything that masks the flavour of the meat, preferring to rely on the flavour of the very highest quality animals that have lived long and happy lives eating grass, as well as the taste that a lengthy dry-ageing brings.
Over-marinated meat slightly sets off alarm bells on quality in our minds.
Which sides would you recommend for the perfect BBQ?
Baby gem lettuce grilled lightly over charcoal and topped with anchovy dripping.
Charred, juicy, and full of umami.
How can you best prepare for a BBQ?
Don’t rush. Get your meat out of the fridge a good hour before cooking so that it can relax and come to room temperature, this helps to build the perfect crust.
Also, don’t start cooking until you have white coals.
How should we light a BBQ?
We tend to avoid fuel-soaked firelighters. The fumes can linger and affect the flavour of your meal.
A good way to get your coals lit is to fill an old egg carton with lumps of charcoal and place it in the barbecue.
The dense recycled fibres will control the burn and allow the charcoal to catch fire in good time.
Before you start grilling, ensure the coals are no longer smoking and have started to coat themselves with a silver-grey ash.
You can add a little block of oak to the edge of your fire to allow a gentle smoke.
Which drink would you pair?
A Blacklock lager – crisp and refreshing, perfect whilst tucking into a hot pile of chops straight off the grill.
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