Mmm, deliciously expensive barbecue

Getting Started: Equipment

Right then. Better start barbecuing, I guess. This post will introduce you to the stuff Gemma and I use to barbecue with on a (more-regular-than-we-should) basis.

The Barbecue

We’ve lived in our house since 2007. We started barbecuing then, using some sort of cheap ‘open’ barbecue (the sort that comes from a well-known catalogue shop and looks like a big metal box with shelves). Rubbish! Because of the amount of space around the charcoal, it was difficult to get anything lit. And once the barbecue was lit, it didn’t stay hot for very long. Oh and being huge, it took a mountain of charcoal to get anything good going.

That leads me to Matt’s first Top Tip™: don’t buy a cheap-ass barbecue. This is based on our experience, of course, but our grilling lives were enhanced by the world of Weber (any Weber folk reading, I’d love some free stuff, ok? Thanks).

Mmm, deliciously expensive barbecue
Where the magic happens. Ahem.

The barbecue we ended up buying was the one to the right, a Weber OneTouch. It cost about £70 from a well known orange-branded DIY store. Seems expensive for a charcoal grill, but money well spent. It always lights, first time, because it’s quite deep inside (see other picture), and has vents in the bottom for air to get in.

More importantly, though, it cooks really well. The lid allows it to act like an oven, which means you can do fairly awesome things like cooking a roast chicken in it. Can’t do that with your open barbecue can you? Eh?

In the past we’ve replaced our barbecue every year or so (nothing to cover it -> rust -> weird metallic flavours). These things apparently last for ten years or more if kept properly. So anyway, enough sycophantic praise…

Inside of the barbecue
It's Grilliant! (Sorry, I'll go now)

The Fuel

Ah, onto a controversial topic. We’ve never really got on with normal charcoal (heretics, I know). But if you do want to use plain charcoal/briquettes I’d recommend using firelighters. Lighting fluid has often given my food a weird flavour before.

So… we use instant-lighting fuel (see left). It costs more, but until we get a Charcoal Chimney (thanks for that one, Ina Garten), it’ll do. Takes about half an hour to be ready, and cooks for over an hour without trouble. Disagree? Put it in the comments!

Other Stuff

So you’ve got the barbecue and the fuel. A few other things you’ll need:

  • A good knife. If you’re just making burgers and sausages, you can probably do without this. But for some of the recipes on this blog, you’ll need to chop! And that leads me to…
  • A food processor. Homemade burgers are great made by hand, but quicker made with a machine.
  • Barbecue tools. Personally I can get by with just a fish-slice-style turner, and some tongs. But a big fork is sometimes useful.
  • Barbecue drip-trays. Obviously you can get non-branded ones, which are just as good. Perfect for indirect cooking, like for a roast chicken (more on that soon).

I think we’re set! Let’s do some barbecuing!

6 thoughts on “Getting Started: Equipment”

  1. You need to sort out your link to Weber up there.

    With regards to the BBQ, one which has the charcoal chimney built into the stand is best. See Barbecook for more details. I do some tech stuff for their previous importers, and hey have a lovely £400 grill from them :)

    I must say my £60 barrel BBQ from the laminated book of dreams is very good. And I’d like to point out that having a large BBQ doesn’t mean you have to light all of it, I find it very useful to have a hot side and a “cold” side. This means you can move stuff away from the heat while leaving it on the grill.

    I do wish we’d paid the £10 more for the heavily discounted version from the other popular green themed DIY store when they had their 15% off day. It had wings on it, which at the time I didn’t think were worth the extra £10, but now I have no where to place my utensils.

    1. Mm, I quite like that barbecook thing. However, I’m a Weber convert. And yeah, I see your point about the “cold side” thing. But I find that if you don’t light all of it, the charcoal doesn’t burn as well.

      Good thing about Webers is that you can buy a metric shedload of accessories which are pretty much universal. Next on the list is a lid holder (my current lid holder is Gem).

  2. What are your recommendations for ash removal? I’ve been chucking them behind a bush in the hope that they will be good compost, however I’m not all too sure.

    1. Heh! It’s actually quite good for grass, because of its high potassium content. But if there’s loads we just wait for it to cool and then bin it.

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