Prepare to dig out your tongs, don your favourite apron and dust off the BBQ. National Barbecue Week kicks off on Monday 26th
Charcoal or gas, this is the question. Ask any barbecue buff which they prefer and you’ll find most people are wedded to one or the other. Weber® research shows that charcoal barbecues are the most popular with 62% of people using one, as opposed to 35% gas . Aside from personal choice, other factors to consider might be how much space you have, how much time you have to cook and your budget.
But does food cooked on a charcoal barbecue really taste better than food cooked on a gas one? Clare Edwards, expert Weber® chef, gives some food for thought on the subject “Charcoal fans prefer the romance and authenticity of the coals and say that you can’t beat the taste of food cooked on a charcoal barbecue. Also it’s a good introduction to BBQ cooking as most charcoal barbecues start at a lower price point and all you need is a bag of briquettes and a light, and then you’re all set to cook up a feast. “Barbecue enthusiasts who choose gas over charcoal often do so for the added control it gives them – the heat is simple to control with the turn of a dial.
It definitely comes down to personal preference and delicious food can be produced on both. The real secret to great grilling, no matter what type of barbecue you choose, is that you should always cook with the lid on and master the use of direct or indirect heat. With these simple tricks you can get the best out of your grill and extend your repertoire of dishes.
With the Direct Method, food is cooked directly over the heat source. For even cooking, food should be turned only once halfway through the grilling time. Use the Direct method for foods that take less than 25 minutes to cook: like steaks, chops, kebabs, sausages and vegetables. Direct cooking is also necessary to sear meats, which creates that wonderful crisp, caramelized texture where the food hits the grate.
The Indirect Method is similar to roasting, but with the added benefits of that grilled texture, flavour, and appearance you can’t get from an oven. With a charcoal grill, arrange hot coals evenly on either side of the charcoal grate and place a drip pan in the centre between the coals to collect drippings. These can be used to create delicious gravies and sauces. Heat rises, reflects off the lid and inside surfaces of the grill, and slowly cooks the food evenly on all sides. The circulating heat works much like a convection oven, so there’s no need to turn the food. Use the Indirect Method for foods that require 25 minutes or more of cooking time or for foods that are so delicate that direct exposure to the heat source would dry them out or scorch them. Try roasts, ribs, whole chickens, turkeys, and other large cuts of meat, as well as delicate fish fillets and desserts.
All you need now is some inspirational recipes and you’re all set to enjoy al-fresco dining!
For further information please contact Sara Armitage or Ellie McParlin on 01423 359100.