The taste, the flavour, the experience, that’s why so many love a barbecue! You can smell the aroma a mile away and without seeing it, you want to be part of it, eating it!
Done right, grilling food outdoors is undeniably one of the most enjoyable and sociable experiences there is. It is something the Schroeter family love doing too which is one of the reasons why their family company, Wolf Steel, a privately owned Canadian company that started life making steel railings and gas fireplaces, now designs and makes premium charcoal and gas barbecues which are sold all around the world. The top-spec’d PRO22 charcoal kettle barbecue is a perfect example. There’s no doubt these ‘Napoleon Grills’ come with a lot of North American barbecue know-how and many bells and whistles to ensure they grill well, but at the heart of every one is essentially just the desire to offer the best tool for the job; to enable the user to cook great, flavoursome and tasty food outdoors.
Perhaps part of the excitement of grilling outside for so many is the element of surprise. Nothing is entirely predictable; the weather can impact the occasion and even the cooking times, the coals of a charcoal grill may not even light. It’s part of the fun and for some, part of the frustration! But the journey to successful grilling doesn’t need to be fraught with obstacles, get it right and it is no different to cooking in the kitchen and with bags more flavour!
Choosing your spices and marinades carefully makes all the difference to your finished meal. The new GLORIOUS! BBQ sauce range make the perfect marinade for any meat, fish or veg to sizzle on your Napoleon grill this summer!
Aside from the quality of the ingredients and combination of spices, marinades and sauces you use, the distinctive barbecue flavour comes from the cooking technique itself. It’s the searing and charring of the food that we most associate with the flavour of the barbecue and that can be achieved whether you have a charcoal or a gas barbecue, despite what some charcoal purists would have you believe! As with so many things it’s down to having the right bit of kit.
As the juices, marinades and fats drip onto the hot coals through the cooking process they create smoke on contact with the coals and it is this smoke that gives the food that distinctive barbecue flavour. This can also be achieved with gas barbecues; angled sear plates ensure that the juices, as they drop onto these plates, send the smoke back up to flavour the food. If you are choosing a gas barbecue the trick is to ensure it has these angled plates
For those would-be charcoal enthusiasts put off by the need to light coals, then the must-have accessory is the charcoal starter. A metal tubed container that acts like a flue; place on the barbecue, put scrunched up newspaper or a non-toxic barbecue lighter in first, fill with briquettes and then light at the base. Once the coals have turned ash grey pour onto the charcoal grate in a single layer. It’s simple and clean to manage and coals light every time, it makes impromptu barbecues doable at a moment’s notice.
Once alight, cooking control is easy with barbecues like the PRO22, use vents top and bottom to control the airflow into the barbecue, use the temperature gauge to check the heat – just like an oven – and most importantly keep the lid on. The air will circulate – again, like an oven – and cook the food. Prodding, poking and constantly turning food releases the juices and dries it out. To keep the flavour in it’s best to handle the food as little as possible.
Some meats will release a lot of fat and juices, duck is a prime example as is chicken or marinades using a lot of oil. If this is a problem and your barbecue offers different cooking levels, then raise the cooking grate away from the coals to reduce the threat of a flare up, and again keep the lid on to reduce the airflow through the barbecue.
Using a barbecue is not rocket science, anyone can do it, but as with so many things the better the equipment the easier it is. So often seen as the preserve of men, grilling is in fact incredibly simple once the veil of mystique is lifted, what’s more it offers a flavour-filled alternative for any meal, not just those special occasions.
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