Many of us look forward to relaxed summer dining in the garden with close family and friends, and the unmistakable waft of delicious barbecued foods.
The range of wonderful foods that can be cooked alfresco on the BBQ seems to grow ever longer. Indeed, such is the attraction to the unique flavours of BBQ food that increasing numbers of people are using their BBQs as a year-round extension to their kitchen.
Making the right choice
Regardless of whether you like the idea of the occasional BBQ with friends in the sun, or wish to make the most of what the BBQ kitchen has to offer (whatever the weather!), you’ll need to choose the right barbecue for your needs. Here we explain the two main considerations when choosing your BBQ; size and type of fuel.
What’s the right size for you?
The right size for you will be determined by the number of people you want to cook for, whether you need your BBQ to be portable, and the type of food you’ll want to cook – the more people and the more elaborate the meals, the larger the BBQ you’ll need.
The range of foods that can be cooked on the BBQ mean that you should consider all the possibilities. If you’ll be content with burgers, sausages and kebabs, a simple BBQ will probably suffice. But did you know that many of the meals you currently prepare in the oven, under the grill or on the hob can also be cooked on the BBQ – all with the added flavour and pleasure provided by the outdoor experience – so give some thought to roasting meats, grilling fish, stir-frying and baking pizzas.
And did you also know that BBQ foods can be deliciously enhanced with the use of aromatic wood-chips of Mesquite, Apple, Cherry, Pecan or Hickory? And if you like your food smoked – a process which cooks, preserves and flavours foods as diverse as meat, fish, cheese and vegetables – Bypass Nurseries have a range of dedicated food smokers you might be interested in!
Which fuel should you use?
Once you’ve decided on the size of BBQ you need – and thought about the delicious meals you’ll be making – the next decision to make is about fuel; charcoal or gas? The answer, once gain lies in exactly what you want your BBQ to do for you.
Charcoal delivers the traditional outdoor cooking experience – it takes a little time to prepare (more on that later!), it provides heat, smoke and delicious food. Charcoal also produces ash which needs to be cleared away when everything has cooled – and being less complex than their gas counterparts, charcoal BBQs have a lower price tag.
Not all charcoals are equal…
Lumpwood Charcoal, arguably the most traditional fuel available is also fast burning – it’s ready in 15 minutes and provides about an hour of cooking time.
Charcoal Briquettes provide a long-lasting heat source – burning for up to 4 whole hours – making them ideal as a heat source capable of extending your social enjoyment on cooler evenings!
Charcoal BBQ lighting made easy with the Weber Rapid Fire Chimney Starter…
Simply place a couple of a couple of firelighters on your BBQ grill and light them, fill the Rapid Fire Chimney Starter with the charcoal fuel of your choice and stand it over the flaming firelighters, let the natural chimney effect work its magic and your charcoal is ready to use, remove your grill – carefully empty your burning charcoal onto your BBQ grate, replace your grill and you’re ready to cook!
For the ultimate in ease of use, some charcoal BBQs are equipped with gas ignition to get things going at the push of a button – which brings us to the other choice of BBQ fuel…
Gas BBQs deliver all of the alfresco dining delights of charcoal with the added benefits of instant heat and no ash – so they’re more convenient and, being more complex, they’re also priced a little higher.
Some BBQs are built purely for cooking, and some come with shelves for food preparation and storage -but not all BBQs are built equal and the quality of materials used and finishes applied will show in time. Bypass Nurseries stock quality BBQs by Outback and Weber – and for complete peace of mind Weber’s charcoal BBQs are guaranteed for 10 years, and their gas BBQs come with an amazing 25 year guarantee!
Ultimately the BBQ you choose will be determined by your requirements, preferences and budget – hopefully the information and questions above will prove to be of use next time you’re looking for a new one.
Whatever you decide to cook – enjoy alfresco dining with a BBQ. And if you need a little inspiration – here’s a deliciously simple recipe for beans…
- Tin of Baked Beans – lid and label removed
- Small onion – peeled and chopped
- Cheddar (approx 40g) – cubed
Mix the chopped onion and cubed Cheddar into the tin of beans – then place the tin on the BBQ cook until the tomato sauce has reduced – serve and enjoy!
Other heat & light sources are available too!
If you prefer to relax outside long into the evening, it’s good to have the option for heat and light to keep it comfortable and warm – and this can easily be achieved with a stylish chimenea or a cosy firepit. We have a great range in store, with something to suit all tastes and budgets.