BBQ advice

  wallbash 19:17 26 Aug 07
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Bank Holiday w/e is well advanced . so summer is coming to its close. ( wot summer !!!!!) So I am looking for a bargain. Last year it was garden furniture bought in October, brilliant saving. This year its time for a new BBQ. Have had charcoal/gas in the past, and am in two minds which to buy. But am thinking of one with 'hood' which has a thermometer.
Have seen that the 'professionals' seem to cook with the cover down, while the rest of us ignore the cover.
So need advice/suggestions, gas /charcoal??
and who ( and uses) has a thermometer.
Seen any bargains, looking at least 50% saving

  oresome 19:26 26 Aug 07

I have just BBQ'd steak, mushrooms, peppers and sweetcorns on a gas flatbed.

I would recommend a gas BBQ, but not a flatbed as too much of the heat is lost in even a slight breeze.

I prefer a cast aluminium construction for the body and either stainless steel or cast iron burners for longevity.

I can do without the thermometer which I consider a gimmick. I don't need any help to burn the food!

  Forum Editor 19:27 26 Aug 07

that has a grid which swings across the charcoal. It's very solid, and was expensive when I first bought it. The grill height can be adjusted, and there's are some ash/drain holes in the bottom. It has no lid, but is the best of many I've had. It's around 2'6" in diameter.

I can't remember where I bought it, but it was a very good investment.

  laurie53 19:43 26 Aug 07

Had all sorts over the last twenty years.

Now have gas, with hood and thermometer. By far the most convenient, reliable and consistent.

  namtas 21:34 26 Aug 07

I have both gas and charcoal BBQ. Charcoal adds traditional cooking flavors essential to obtain that distinct taste of BBQ food. Gas cooks with no added smoke taste unless one adds flavours and only has slight advantage over cooking indoors in that fats are largely discarded, I would happily forego the ease of gas ( which I suspect is the reason for popularity ) to keep the taste and flavour of proper BBQ-ing

  laurie53 08:29 27 Aug 07

Can't agree - fat still drips down onto the lava "coals" and smokes to give that barbeque flavour, though admittedly not quite as intense as charcoal.

  oresome 09:12 27 Aug 07

I also must disagree with namtas. I find no discernable difference in cooking flavour between gas using lava rock and conventional charcoal.

Gas is much more controllable and prevents the all too often burnt offerings achieved on a charcoal BBQ.

  wee eddie 09:28 27 Aug 07

The flavour comes from the juices, mostly melted fats and marinade, dripping onto the hot medium beneath the goody being BBQ'd.

Some cheap gas BBQ's do not have such a medium,

This medium is heated by the gas flame, it should not be the flame but the "radiated (Infrared)heat" that does the cooking.

This medium can be made of lava-rock or consist of metal screen or V-shaped bars. Lava rock is best, the V-shaped bars, if sufficiently close together can be almost as good. The cheaper the BBQ the wider the spacing of these bars.

  Quickbeam 10:01 27 Aug 07

Cooking with the cover down starves the dripping fat of the oxygen required for 'big flames' very quickly.

It's the 'big flame' cooks that end up with charred fodder thats probably poisonously raw in the middle.

Don't be an impatient lid up fiddler!

  v1asco 10:41 27 Aug 07

The closed lid ones may be similar to Webers click here . My in-laws in South Africa have one and we cooked melt in the mouth pork on one occassion. It was superb, although a bit time consuming. If I remember correctly it uses very little charcoal. It can also be used as a traditional BBQ of course. I think the thermometer would be useful for the roasting side of things. A proper weber is not cheap.

We have now done away with our BBQ, and use disposables, quick,easy and fun to clean! Mainly because we Braai impulsively and there is usually only 2 of us.

Still, whatever your choice, enjoy!

  Quickbeam 11:02 27 Aug 07

My sister who has been in Italy for over 30 years, has a brick pizza oven on the patio. Shaped like a beehive, it is heated by lighting a wood fire inside the chamber, which is swept to the sides for cooking.

So, the first time I saw this & tasted the wonderful smoked flavours I just had to experiment.

Over the week I did roasted joints, slow cooked casseroles, etc. But the best of all was bread.

Being originally by trade a baker & confectioner, I had always wanted to bake bread in the Victorian/Edwardian style, in a solid fueled oven with an initial very hot (800deg f) oven that diminished down in temperature, through the hot bread temperatures to the cake & meringue temps.

What amazed me most, were the fantastic flavours that the pre-Great War generation must have taken for granted. There is no doubt that the old ways with a permanently lit range, complete with full-time attendant (scullery maid!) makes todays cooking banal by comparison.

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