Barbecues are a big deal to us Brits, and whenever the opportunity presents itself we are likely to be found in our gardens, cooking food over hot coals. And there are many reasons why the barbecue is so popular!
As you may have spotted, this year’s summer is not baking. Nevertheless, you can be sure that many of us will have already partaken in plenty of barbecues – quite probably in the rain. It seems that part of the charm of the barbecue is trying to defeat the weather, and from personal experience I have lots of fond memories of barbecuing as a child, cooking under an umbrella and huddling near the flames to stay warm.
In the UK, nice weather is a bonus when it comes to barbecuing. Otherwise, we just carry on and, if the weather is really bad, there is always the option to eat the barbecued delights indoors.
Cooking food on the barbecue is not expensive but can prove delicious. Somehow, food simply tastes better when grilled on the BBQ. Take, for example, the standard sausage – how much better does this taste when it’s gained a smoky flavour? Or fruit, when it’s caramelised beautifully on the barbecue?
Plus, the actual barbecue doesn’t have to break the bank either. For example, you can buy kettle barbecues for around £20 or gas barbecues start at around £65. Portable barbecues can be good if you like to cook in different places, and prices start from around £25 for charcoal BBQs and £55 for gas BBQs.
The heart of the barbecue is variety – there are so many dishes, flavours and food options on offer normally. You can choose from traditional barbecue fodder like burgers, chicken wings, sausages, ribs, jacket potatoes and corn on the cob to more creative dishes like barbecued pizza, home-made kebabs, stuffed peppers, full English breakfast, fresh fish, pasta salads and various snacks and dips.
Barbecuing food is not difficult, despite what the chef may say! While there’s an art to preparing certain sauces and dishes, mastering the barbecue is fairly straightforward and enjoyable. Plus, it’s so easy to cater for everyone’s tastes – be they meat-eaters or vegetarians, eating healthily or on a diet – and cook food that satisfies all guests.
There’s something about a barbecue that brings out our sociable side, encouraging us to invite friends and family over and make an afternoon or evening of it. People can get involved and make their own food, kebabs or pizza for example, as well as take their time enjoying all the different courses involved at a barbecue party.
We love cooking with fire
Ultimately, food tastes great when cooked over a flame. And our love of cooking with controlled fire is not new – it’s something our ancestors were doing more than a million years ago. As well as being fun and a delicious way to eat, cooking this way makes our food easier to digest, which is why we’ve always cooked this way.