Portugal in Spring – the First Barbecue of the Year

Chicken on the BBQ

During the long months of planning before our move to Portugal, one of the things we imagined most often was a simple barbecue of chicken or fish sizzling away on our balcony while we enjoyed a glass of wine in the evening sun.

First barbecue of the year - it must be spring in Portugal

First barbecue of the year – it must be spring in Portugal

It’s fair to say that my husband has always been somewhat barbecue obsessed, which means he fits in perfectly in our new country. The smell of sardines cooking on outdoor grills is one that pervades every Portuguese village during the summer months. For those with no outdoor space, a tiny charcoal barbecue on the street by their front doorstep suffices, closely guarded to scare off any semi-stray cats who fancy trying their luck.

Shortly after we arrived here, we purchased a Weber gas barbecue. Though now nearly four years old, it remains one of my husband’s favourite and most used possessions. We also own a cheap coal barbecue, but since the Weber arrived the cheap version has been relegated to slowly and sadly rusting in the corner.

Fresh, local ingredients - apple slaw

Fresh, local ingredients – apple slaw

The first barbecue of the year is, for me, a sign that spring is truly underway in Portugal. As the evenings begin to draw out, I potter around the kitchen making side dishes (on this occasion apple coleslaw), while the sound of chicken sizzling away outside brings a smile to my face. Soon, the scent of the tomato/garlic/dark beer glaze (the husband’s own recipe) fills the apartment and I once again get to marvel at the fact that this is now our life.


The husband's secret recipe glaze

The husband’s secret recipe glaze

We’ll have plenty more barbecues over the course of this year, as we do every year here, feasting on grilled meat and fish with accompanying sides made from fresh, local produce. For me, though, the first barbecue after the Weber comes out of its winter hibernation is always one of the most precious.

The end result - beautifully moist and tasty chicken

The end result – beautifully moist and tasty chicken