Expand your horizon during UK BBQ Week
It’s UK BBQ Week (4th – 12th July) and, while we will never get bored of bangers and burgers, it’s the perfect time to experiment with new recipes and equipment,
Marcus Bawdon is one of the founders of this annual celebration of all things barbecue and, along with esteemed grill master, Ben Forte, he has been handing out some hot tips in recent days.
UK BBQ Week co-founder, Marcus Bawdon also runs Country Wood Smoke – a cookery school and barbecue forum from his home in Devon. He says, “I’d recently started eating meat and had just moved to the countryside – I was cooking burgers and sausages for ever-larger social gatherings – but realised I was missing out on a lot because I was stuck to the grill. I started researching other ways of cooking such as whole pigs on rotisseries, wood fired ovens, and low-n-slow American style barbecue, I soon realised I was hooked!
“UK BBQ Week has days for lots of different areas of barbecue, from burgers and roasts to tacos and veggie options… barbecue should be inclusive of everyone,” he added.
Part of the drive to up the barbecue game has come to these shores in the guise of the kamado charcoal burning cooker – the word means “clay oven” and the modern kamados are based on 3,000 year-old wood-burning technology from Japan.
Ben Forte is global marketing manager for an international company called Kamado Joe which manufactures the very latest high-tech charcoal cookers.
“It’s all about the amazing efficiency and versatility,” he said. “The kamado is changing the way people are thinking about cooking outdoors. You can achieve such high temperatures that you can sear a big steak in a minute – but you can also control a low temperature and cook a piece of brisket very slowly in 18 hours.
“The kamados also offer different levels of versatility because you can turn them into pizza ovens, and you can have a rotisserie on them to gently turn your free-range chicken.”
Ben’s top tips for UK BBQ Week include finding top quality restaurant grade charcoal such as Kamado Joe’s Big Block Charcoal. “It’s called restaurant-grade because it has really big solid lumps that will burn hot for a very long time,” he said.
“Another good tip is to divide your BBQ into a hot zone for searing and a safe zone for keeping things warm or slow-cooking. If your barbecue has a lid, then use it – they say if you’re looking, then you’re not cooking – and make sure you use a good food thermometer.”
Marcus added: “As a founder of UK BBQ Week, I love to find ways of making barbecue easier for people. I’ve been cooking on a Kamado Joe for eight years – it makes barbecuing and temperature control easy so you can get on with enjoying your cooking. And it makes everything from searing steaks to long slow brisket cooks so stress-free, and the food that comes out of the grill is delicious and smoky.”
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