BBQ Week – My BBQ Essentials

It is National BBQ week and the start of the summer and BBQ season, weather permitting! This week started with a typically wet bank holiday Monday but it has brightened up so I am sure we are not the only ones that have had a barbeque and rushed out to buy the essentials on the day to ensure we could do it while we had a nice day! So I thought I would share some of my essentials for a successful barbeque with you.

This was our barbeque the other day, Stuart and Bens anyway, I cook mine on a small separate barbeque as I am vegetarian and don’t like mine to be cooked on the same grill. We all survived without food poisoning so obviously we did something right! If it all went wrong or rained we would have had the option of leftovers in the fridge or a meal out!

Starting the BBQ

Obviously with a barbeque like this one essential is charcoal, it sounds simple but I have tried to have a barbeque before and realised at the last minute I don’t have charcoal! Barbeque fire lighters or lighting gel is also essential if you want to light the barbeque easily. Don’t use too much lighter gel though or get it on the grill itself as I can assure you it tastes horrible on the food!

I had never imagined needing anything else when building up the barbeque however when I was recently sent the Firemizer to try I was intrigued. The Firemizer is a metal mesh that is placed under the charcoal and helps to spread the head evenly and limit the oxygen getting to the charcoal. The aim of this is to make the BBQ stay hot for longer and get to temperature quickly when lit. The picture below shows the Firemizer in place. The instructions say it should cover the whole of the base of the fire so whilst it covered a large proportion I think in hindsight two would have been more suitable. The Firemizer is available here

I didn’t time the BBQ and haven’t previously so I couldn’t say for sure whether it got to temperature more quickly than it would have without the Firemizer. I can however say it seemed to stay hot for longer than usual though again I didn’t time it so can not tell you how much longer but we did cook more items than normal as it was still hot so we cooked some food for the following day!

The Food

What foods do you consider essentials for a BBQ? In my eyes you need sausages, burgers, salad, corn on the cob, bread rolls (or whatever you call them in your area of the country!), cheese, vegetable kebabs, large mushrooms and sauces!
The particular items I used were Quorn sausages and burgers for myself as a vegetarian, wholemeal bread rolls so that we could still follow our Slimming World plan, vegetable kebabs (peppers and onion), Slimming World Garlic and Herb burgers, Debbie and Andrews sausages, and a big bowl of salad!
The only syns we had were in the Debbie and Andrews new Clean and Lean high protein low fat sausages we had been sent to try, the sauces and the extra bread rolls we each had on top of our healthy extra choice. If you don’t follow Slimming World though just ignore this bit!
The Debbie and Andrews sausages we put straight on the barbeque rather than using a holder and they cooked thoroughly easily enough and were a hit with both Stuart and Ben who enjoyed them. The sausages looked good and both Stuart and Ben said they had a great flavour and texture. The burgers we cooked initially in a burger holder so they didn’t fall apart on the barbeque and then swapped to the barbeque when they were partly cooked.

The Cooking Tools

Proper barbeque tools are really cheap to buy and so essential if you don’t want to burn yourself and believe me I am accident prone and easily do that! Last week we went to a barbeque at my brothers families house and they have an electric grill plate type barbeque yet I still burnt myself twice!
We love the burger holders as they make cooking burgers so much easier as you can turn them over without them falling to bits! They also make sausage ones which we haven’t bought yet but I think we will as for £2 from Morrisons I think they are a bargain really and make the cooking so much easier!

BBQ Tips and Safety Advice

I have been sent some safety advice and tips below from which you may want to consider too along with some statistics from a survey which made me giggle and probably will do you too. Do you ensure you have a first aid kit and fire extinguisher handy when you have a barbeque? Do you have any funny stories to tell of barbeques you have had? Use the comments section at the bottom of this post to give me a giggle if you do! Make me feel better about my clumsiness!
Brits seem to fluctuate with health and safety during BBQ season, as first aid kits feature in nearly a fifth of people’s list of grilling essentials, yet cleaning the grill doesn’t seem to be such a priority
•          Brits are so bad at barbecuing, they even keep fire extinguishers (17 per cent) and takeaway menus (six per cent) to hand when hosting a barbecue
•          16 per cent have never cleaned their barbecue and 41 per cent only do so once a year
•          Almost a third (30 per cent) have served up either raw or burnt food
•          Two per cent have singed their eyebrows whilst barbecuing
•          Five per cent expect to barbecue eggs this summer
Despite being one of Britain’s favourite summer pastimes, the majority of the population is anticipating their barbecues this year will almost certainly end in some form of disaster. New research revealed today shows Brits have a rather confused view of health and safety as almost a third (30 per cent) of food cooked will either be burnt or served raw, and thus over a fifth (17 per cent) of Brits will have to resort to using the oven because they can’t get the grill going. Some don’t even manage to get to the cooking part, as nine per cent say they’ve had to cancel a barbecue because they’ve failed to get the coals lit, whilst six per cent haven’t had enough fuel to get it going in the first place.
The poll, commissioned by restaurant chain Harvester ahead of National BBQ Week (29th May – 4th June), also reveals that the disasters aren’t just food related, as two per cent of Brits have singed their eyebrows when flipping their bangers and burgers. A sheer lack of skill plays a big part in our dreadful barbecuing efforts, as nearly half (42 per cent) admit that they simply go rogue and cook until it’s beyond doubt that the food is done. Despite expecting to barbecue regularly, lazy Brits are adding grease and grime to the fire, with 16 per cent confessing to having never cleaned their barbecue, whilst 41 per cent only do so once a year.
However, the majority of wannabe grill masters appear to acknowledge their lack of skill, as top barbecue essentials include a first aid box (19 per cent), a fire extinguisher (17 per cent) and a trusty takeaway menu (six per cent), just in case it all goes awry.
With the 2017 barbecue season set to be the most dangerous yet, the resilient British will not be deterred by their lack of skill and accident prone nature. The average Brit expects to host four barbecues this summer, amounting to over 168 million* burger tossing occasions and a total spend of £9.2bn** on the outdoor activity this year.
Anneli Fereday, Harvester Marketing Manager, commented “Considering that we like to barbecue so often, it’s a surprise to see that Brits still haven’t quite mastered the art and are still prone to all sorts of disasters. Many don’t realise how technical barbecuing is, which is why we’re encouraging people to put down the tongs and let our barbecue experts at Harvester do the cooking!”
Whilst almost a quarter (24 per cent) of people admit to not knowing how to cook anything beyond the barbecue basics of bangers and burgers, 17 per cent of Brits say that they plan to throw caution to the wind, breaking with tradition to serve up vegan favourites, avocado and artichokes, with four per cent even planning to serve up tofu this summer. Additionally, and true to our quintessentially British roots, four per cent of Brits will be attempting to cook a roast dinner on the grill, whilst five per cent will attempt to barbecue eggs.
Unsurprisingly, 70 per cent of barbecues will end in a downpour, but this will not deter Brits, who will be barbecuing during National BBQ Week and beyond come rain or shine. However, should the impending disasters and lack of skills be too much for even the most arduous Brits to handle, then people can head to Harvester to enjoy the barbecue season without doing all the work themselves.

Using Lettuce as an alternative to bread for a sausage!

We are hoping to go and visit Harvester soon so I will be able to tell you if it is a lot less stressful than barbequing, and at least a meal out means that whatever the weather it doesn’t have to be postponed!
Please note I received the Debbie and Andrews sausages and the Firemizer to try for our family barbeque but my views above are my own.
Research based on a survey of 2,000 people, conducted by Ginger Comms on behalf of Harvester Restaurants between 17th May and 22nd May 2017. 
*Total amount of barbecues calculated by taking average number of barbecues that the average Brit expects to host, multiplied by the adult population in the UK (as per official government statistics)
**Annual spend calculated by taking the average spend given in the survey conducted, multiplied by the average amount of barbecues that the average Brit expects to host, multiplied by the adult population in the UK (as per official  government statistics)

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