If The Barbecue Fits, Cook With It
My partner and I recently moved house and, for once in a very long time, I now have a large outdoor entertainment area. The recent move to this spacious ground floor apartment has prompted me to buy a barbecue. And yes, I appreciate the irony that I am purchasing a barbecue at the end of summer.
The barbecue culture is almost synonymous to the Australian heritage. In fact, Australians are known to barbecue at least 2-3 times a week. It is predominantly a male domain possibly because of the primal need to light fires, grill food, or quite simply, a place to hang out with the rest of our mates with a beer in one hand and the tongs in another.
For the more style-minded cooks out there, the barbecue is more than a dusty, rusted piece of metal that is the home to many breeds of spiders in winter. It is more about equipment that is versatile, heats up quickly, stays heated, and easily manoeuvrable. It’s important that it is easy to put away so it is neither an eyesore nor a centrepiece of your entire yard. Not to mention the actual versatility in cooking methods. Imagine succulent char grilled steaks, rotisserie lamb and tea-smoked duck.
So my research for the past week was what barbecue should I buy? Homework has led me to several options:
Weber Barbecues have something for everyone whether you are a charcoal maniac, crave for the convenience of gas or simply want to barbecue on the run. Should I go with the baby Q which promises a built-in thermometer for roasting with electronic ignition and side tables or the Family Q with the additional factory-fitted hotplate?
Beefeater Barbecues - the sheer name of it makes you want to grunt. They have been manufacturing barbecues for 20 years and they promise rust free cook tops, porcelain enamel surface to ensure they are durable, scratch and scorch resistant, and integrated Quartz start ignition for trouble free starting with no fiddly batteries or buttons. Beefeater promises to cater for all sorts of outdoor cooks, not just lovers of beef.
In a recent cooking segment I did with Kerri-Anne on Channel 9, I got to work with an Electrolux barbecue. Some more research led me to a higher price range and bigger models. Electrolux claims that “beautifully designed outdoor spaces deserve a barbecue to match because more and more people regard their backyard as a great place for a kitchen and for a party”. Their innovative barbecues incorporate the oil management system, professionally inspired cooking surfaces and fully adjustable high powered burners.
Looking at the charcoal cousins of this equipment got me a little more excited. Yes it lacks the convenience of being lit up at the flick of a switch but think of all the Malaysian satays I get to create! My research of charcoal grills led me to the Hibachi, a traditional Japanese heating device which is often cylindrical in shape and designed to hold burning charcoal. Would this be what I need? Or would it be some of the weird and wonderful alternatives from our American charcoal grill websites like the Char Griller, the Big Green Egg and the Kingsford. All food for thought.
With these thoughts in mind, I think a shopping reconnaissance is due. Once I have decided, let the roasting, charring, and smoking begin. Flame on!
What do you think I should buy?
Alvin Quah for Citysearch, March 2011
March 01, 2011
a pizza oven