Cooking on an outdoor grill has plenty to recommend it. The cooking method ensures that the surface of the meat is caramelised to create that fabulous and distinctive taste that you only get with a BBQ.
Modern grills now come in all shapes and sizes and are easy to use. They take all kinds of fuel as well, from charcoal and natural gas to hickory, mesquite and other smoking woods that enhance the flavour of the food.
With versatility of styles, such as indirect heat for roasts and direct heat for searing, along with an almost unlimited choice of menus from around the world, it’s no wonder that a BBQ forms the basis of so many social events.
The British have tended to lag behind other places, particularly Australia, South Africa and the southern United States, in terms of putting time and commitment into their barbecuing. A few sausages and burgers with some chicken legs thrown in were the norm until recently - if you were lucky - and disposable barbeques from high street chains tended to be overused. You don’t have to be a BBQ snob to realise that this just won’t do and that a proper BBQ experience deserves better planning and a more serious approach.
To be fair, the unsettled British weather may have played a role in this, because there’s often a certain sense of impatience to get the thing over with as quickly as possible, perhaps because of approaching rain clouds. However, more Brits are coming to realise that the slow cooking of meat over a low heat will pay big dividends, in terms both of the taste of the food and the opportunities for socialising.
From weddings and corporate functions to birthday parties, charity fundraising events and Christmas parties, BBQs make the perfect choice for getting folks together in a fun and informal environment. Organising a BBQ party at home is a great way of celebrating birthdays and holidays, and inviting family and friends around to the back garden is a brilliant way of catching up with the nearest and dearest.
In South Africa, we talk about cooking up a Braai, which comes from the Afrikaans word for a grill, and organising one is an important social custom in places such as Swaziland and Botswana. Of course, the weather over there is a tad more reliable than it is in the UK, but we’re pleased to see that this is not stopping the increasing popularity over here for BBQs of all descriptions. Maybe global warming has something to do with it, but the British are taking to slow outdoor cooking as if making up for lost time.
Many of us keep our all-weather BBQ grills in the garden or on the patio. They can be stored indoors in the colder months and be quickly wheeled out during a warm spell along with the champagne glasses and umbrellas!
There’s no beating a BBQ when it comes to organising a social event, and with so many different types of equipment, fuel and recipes on offer nowadays, a BBQ is the ultimate flexible choice as well as a guarantor of brilliant tasting food!