The UK has really upped its BBQ game in the last few years.
We’ve come a long way since the days of gritting our teeth in grim expectation of burnt sausages and burgers that taste like cardboard. So much so that we even have our own National BBQ Week!
Barbecuing is taken a lot more seriously now, not just in terms of the quality of the food we buy but also the accessories we use to cook or prepare it with.
With that in mind, we’ve selected six gadgets that will take your barbecuing to another level this summer.
Don’t get your fingers burnt
It might be somewhat stating the obvious to say that BBQs get very hot. But that doesn’t stop some of the foolhardy amongst us using their bare hands, tea towels or inflexible oven gloves to move things around on the grill.
So, here’s a novel idea: gloves! Heat resistant gloves for the BBQ are available from a number of retailers, including John Lewis and Weber, and allow you the dexterity to do things that you can’t quite manage with tongs.
In the basket
Whether it’s marinated salmon or a simple white fillet with just a squeeze of lemon, fish on the BBQ is a truly wonderful thing. It’s not the most straightforward thing to BBQ, though, and the metallic tang you can get from cooking it in tin foil can spoil things a little.
Very popular in Spain, grilling baskets are a game-changer that allow you to easily flip fish of any type or size over the grill and get that charring just right. They’re great for vegetables, too.
Let’s get this thing started
How many arguments have you had down the years trying to get a charcoal BBQ started? It can be an incredibly frustrating business but using a chimney starter can change all that and allow you to heat the briquettes evenly before you spread them across the grill.
Available from Homebase, chimney starters are a great way to get your charcoal barbeque going and your afternoon off on the right note.
Is it ready yet?
Sure, there’s an art to barbecuing, but a little science can be incredibly helpful too. We’ve been using thermometers to temperature test and help time the cooking of meat in the oven or in the pan for years, so why not for barbecues as well?
There are a wide range of digital and wireless options available, from ones that link to apps on your phone like the Weber iGrill 2 Bluetooth Thermometer to the professional kitchen or BBQ team standard Thermoworks Smoke.
Thermometers take the guess work out of barbecuing and give you an exact idea of if and when your food is ready.
If there is one problem with skewers, it’s that it can be awkward negotiating your way through them to get to the main attraction. You know what we mean – getting past the peppers or onions to reach the chicken, tofu or halloumi. All that sliding things out of the way, and then having to get your teeth around that morsel you were after. Surely there’s a better way?
There is. Great for when it comes to loading up, marinating, level cooking and eating would-be skewers in the order you would choose, grill combs haven’t really caught on in the UK yet but are becoming a big deal in the USA, where they tend to be a few steps ahead of us when it comes to BBQ innovation.
Forgive us if we’re wrong but isn’t the greatest attraction of barbecues the charred, smoky flavour they give to food? A brilliant way of enhancing those qualities for both charcoal and gas grills is by adding woodchips to a smoke box before cooking your food over them. This way of cooking imbues your food with the qualities we look for when we barbecue food.