“It’s something special,” says Tudor Manciu. “It’s not something you find in shops.”
For three years, Manciu, born in Bucharest in Romania and living in Ireland for 12 years, has taken his barbecue on the road. He travels around Dublin to people’s houses and cooks up Romanian feasts for special occasions.
“What do you want?” he asks. “Full pig, full sheep, full chicken, smoked ribs?”
Manciu started out by cooking for those close to him. “I’ve loved it for many years,” he says. “I cook at home, for my wife, for my kids, for my friends.”
He has travelled over to the UK, and bought his barbecue with him. From time to time, he takes it with him back to Romania, too.
Exactly what he charges for his Dublin-based feasts depends on the numbers he is feeding. For 20 people, his smorgasbord of grilled meats costs €650.
Says Manciu: “I come with everything fresh.”
A week ahead of time, Manciu orders his meat and vegetables. He packs up his van, leaves his home on the Malahide Road, and makes his way to another party.
“I come with my grill. My everything,” he says.
The centrepieces are always grilled meats. He offers up whole cuts alongside grilled vegetables, thick loaves of bread, and pickled cabbage.
He slow-grills whole pigs, or rotisserie chicken – take your pick – over hot coals, he says. Vegetable kebabs and mititei feature, too.
Traditional Romanian sausages, mititei are made with ground meats – pork, beef and lamb – flavoured with salt, pepper and herbs.
Manciu is busy. He’s barbecuing at three parties in Dublin over the coming weekend, he says, and will bring with him his own gazebo, his own table, cutlery, and miniature Romanian flags for decoration.
His are simple recipes, he says. Dry-rubs with traditional sauces. “I’ve been to many Lithuanian parties. I’ve been to many Russian. I’ve been to many Romanian.”