5 Top Tips for BBQ from Marcus Bawdon of Country Wood Smoke Fame

Tip 1 – Use a digital probe thermometer. E.g a Thermapen, this will give confidence to know that the food is cooked how you like it and is safe to eat.

Tip 2 – Set up the bbq for 2 zone cooking, more heat (i.e coals) on one side and lower heat on the other this way you can have a good degree of control over the cooking.

Tip 3 – Use your lid, if your bbq comes with a lid then use it, it’s not just to keep the rain off, it will turn your grill into a smoky oven.

Tip 4 – Make sure the lid vent is over the indirect side this will give more even cooking

Tip 5 – Keep well hydrated when bbqing, it’s thirsty work so make sure you have your tipple of choice chilled and close to hand.

For more top tips visit his web site @ http://countrywoodsmoke.com/

Follow Marcus on social media
FB:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/CountryWoodSmoke/
You Tube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/CountryWoodSmoke
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/devonwoodsmoke#
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/countrywoodsmoke/

Kadai Fire Bowl – Review by Chillin n’ Grillin

After cooking on a wide variety of BBQ’s and smokers including a pellet smoker we decided that we would like to go back to basics and try some cooking over a wood fire. A bit of research led us to the Kadai Indian Fire Bowl. We were lucky to get it in the end of season sale and as a result we also purchased the cooking tripod with chain and the cooking bowl. They recommend putting some sand in the bottom to protect the bowl, we did this along with a sheet of tinfoil.

We contacted our local stove supplier to see if we could get logs to burn and where lucky to get a barrow bag of silver birch for £35. A barrow bag is about the size of a wheelie bin. To light the Kadai, we use a flamer, a little charcoal and a few twigs from the hedge at the bottom of the garden, this makes the logs very easy to light. We have been starting with three logs and adding as needed depending on the length of the cook

Our first foray was to hang a chicken over the grill. We had seen Marcus from Country Wood Smoke cooking a leg of lamb in the same way. The chicken turned out lovely and moist as they normally do when cooked outside. We have since cooked a casserole using our dutch oven, a chilli using the cooking bowl and after purchasing a hacienda swing grill, spatch cock chicken, harrissa lamb and shawarma cauliflower.

All in all the Kadai is a great bit of kit and good fun to cook on, in the cooler weather I still prefer one of the bbq’s that have a lid to preserve the heat but we will definitely get good use of the Kadai.

Thermaworks Smoke – Review by Marcus Bawdon

The Thermoworks Smoke is recently available in the UK. It is a definite upgrade for those looking for something a bit more substantial and easier to use than a maverick.

The main screen is a great size with large numbers…meaning a glance at the temperatures are often enough. But if you are moving further away from the bbq…then the range is impressive…easily a few hundred feet. The length of our garden and inside the kitchen. At £78 delivered it’s a real contender.

The portable receiver unit is well designed easy to read and solid. The whole thing reeks of reliability and long use. It’s a 2 probe thermometer. Ideally the option for a third or fourth probe would make a good upgrade. The probes themselves are robust and come with one ambient and one for the food. Alarms are easy to set and very loud.

This is my favourite thermometer at the moment and has been well thought through for the bbq market. A WiFi bridge is soon to be available here in the UK which will mean you’ll be able to monitor your cooking from down the pub…

10 Days to BBQ – UK-BBQ-WEEK 2018

Friday 6th July

Steaks are probably the king of the BBQ. What ever steak you are cooking we would love to see it and remember to tag a mate that would be envious of it too.

Saturday 7th July

The 4th of July can be relived today, get your favourite American food on the BBQ, whether it’s a juicy burger or maybe some smok’in ribs. We want to see the stars and stripes of cooking on your BBQ

Sunday 8th July

Have you ever cooked breakfast on the BBQ?, If not now is the time to cook the full English outdoors. Or try cooking your favorite breakfast on the BBQ, post on social media with our hashtag  #ukbbqweek

Now you’ve warmed up the BBQ today, Cook your Sunday roast on the BBQ, Leg of Lamb, Chicken, rib of Beef or a big pork shoulder. Show us your Great British roast dinners all cooked outdoors. We would love to see some roast potatos and Yorkshires too…

Monday 9th July

Today its meat free Monday, get creative and cook a meat free dinner on the BBQ, how about a Cauliflower Shawarma or some Halloumi Skewers, whatever you want to cook on the BBQ today, let it be meat free. Check out our sponsors for some ideas too. Tag us #ukbbqweek

Tuesday 10th July

We all love tacos and with an almost infinite list of fillings we think today you can get really creative with your BBQ.

Wednesday 11th July

This is the peoples vote, you’ll find out more about this one nearer to the day.

Thursday 12th July

Bring the taste of the sea to your BBQ! Fish is so easy and quick to grill on the BBQ or why not try cooking Mussels or Oysters and who could forget some fat prawns. Tag us your cooks #ukbbqweek

Friday 13th July

Time to spice things up and a curry cooked on the BBQ not only has all the lovely spices but a hint of smoke too. We have some awesome recipes you can try or show us your own creations. Don’t forget the Naan bread!

Saturday 14th July

As we move towards to the football final, tonight its all about Pizza’s and flatbreads. So if you have a pizza oven or wood fired oven lets see you fantastic pizza creations. Alternatively make some easy flatbreads and cooks some of your favorite meat or vegetables as kebabs.

Sunday 15th July

Our last day of UK BBQ Week is also the last day of the football, so its Tailgate BBQ time. Cook what ever you love to cook and get your friends round and show everyone on social media your party.

Meater Wireless Thermometer – Review by Paul Niland

When Matt from Meater approached UK BBQ week and asked if anyone would like to try the product I wanted to give it a go.

With the rotisserie, consistency in the setup; the fuel and the weather conditions are all factors that can make or break your Sunday roast or your game changing Turkey during the holidays. When you first start using the rotisserie you tend to increase your cook times or affect the temperature by lifting the lid of your BBQ. What I really needed was a probe with no wires! In comes the Meater “The First Wireless Smart Meat Thermometer”

So how did I get on with it? Overall I liked the product. I have been watching it for a while with anticipation that it would be great for the rotisserie and it was. I found the temperature accuracy to be good, sometimes the same as my Thermapen or 1-2 degrees different. The app was very clear and simple to use and consistent between Apple and Android devices. I found the setup simple (maybe because I work in technology) and using the combination of Bluetooth, WIFI and the Meater Cloud Feature, I found syncing devices worked very well. I did see a few tweets about range so for my setup I used an old IPAD approx. 2m away from the BBQ. My shack is more than 10m from my house, so I knew it would be outside of the Bluetooth range and may have problems if I tried without it. In the future, the mini block should certainly act as the bridge.

Setting up the cooks was very good and simple, though the presets were aimed towards the US market based on USDA guidelines. There were a great deal of support videos on their youtube channel that helped you get started with examples of how to use the product. Being from the UK, I did find these quite Americanised. Also as a BBQ fanatic, I tend to avoid using the oven at all costs so some of these videos did not appeal to me.

Monitoring the cook was very good, I tried a combination of Apple and Android devices and found them to be consistent. Randomly the connection would drop, I could not explain this though it was not frequent enough to affect my cook.

The bit that let me down was the battery, I cooked a whole chicken with some serious smoke and after washing the probe it did not charge too well. You have to give it a serious scrub between cooks to get enough contact for it to charge. There is a little LED battery indicator though I think this was just for the batteries in the block and not relevant to the probe. Also the app does not currently give an indication of how much life is left so if you like your low and slow it can be quite worrying. This in fact did happen to me and I was surprised after a quick 30 min charge I could not resume where I left off.

There has been some concerns in the UK BBQ community regarding the range, and temperature accuracy. I did not see these problems during my cooks though knowing the people who had these problems I believe them to be genuine and I have discussed these with the Meater team.

Overall, would I buy the probe? The short answer is yes. Is it the finished product for the general BBQ market? I will let the community decide as Its possible there are some factors that may affect your experience of using the product. Will there be some improvements? Certainly, speaking with Matt at length about the team, their vision and their approach to improvement, I see this being very good in the future as more people start using it for BBQ and provide their feedback.

If you would like to know more, you can find more information about the probe from the official website https://meater.com

What’s Good

What could be improved

  • Estimated cook time feature – A game changer

  • Temperature accuracy is good

  • Meater Cloud option for syncing devices and viewing temps on the move works well

  • Support for Apple/Android devices

  • Presentation of the app looks great and is simple to use.

  • Combination of Bluetooth and WIFI setup is simple to do.

  • Setting up the cook, naming them and changing temps during was easy to do

  • Customising your preferred settings such as C/F was easy to do.

  • The email, asking for your feedback after each cook is very innovative and great service.

  • Need for an intermediate device for this to be great for BBQ. – This should be the small block.

  • Connections to the device can drop intermittently.

  • If smoke is not scrubbed of the end it does not change too well.

  • The LED Charge light not relevant to the probe, so your not sure if it is charged well enough

  • With no battery life indicator in the app, long cooks are also a bit worrying.

  • When the battery runs out it does not preserve progress especially when the cook was on the cloud.

  • App use quite a lot of battery

  • Although I really like it, the estimated cook time takes a while to show. So you cant really leave a short cook.

  • Alerts can be annoying and re-appear after acknowledging them.

  • Temperate presets are US based

  • Product support videos are US based

Looftlighter – Review by @ArtustBBQ

Without doubt one of the best BBQ gadgets I have ever added to my collection is the Looftlighter. Admittedly it’s an odd name but it’s one that will stick with you until you also own one. I was lucky enough to pick mine up at a festival around 4 years ago now and it’s still going strong to this day.

So what is a Looftlighter? Imagine a hairdryer that has been to the gym twice a day for it’s whole life. It’s essentially a very strong heating element with fan behind it in a handheld unit that wouldn’t look out of place as a weapon in a Sci-Fi movie. So if you have ever struggled with getting your BBQ lit quickly when you are under a little pressure then this could be the tool for you. I know the #UKBBQ week team have some articles on reasons against using quick lighting charcoal and especially avoiding using any kind of lighter fluid, and the Looflighter will banish those items to the bin forever.

Plug the Looftlighter in, touch the metal gauze on the end against your fuel of choice which can be charcoal, briquettes or even wood and push down the button. The heating element heats up within seconds and that heat is blown by the fan directly onto your chosen fuel. In under 60 seconds the fuel will be starting to smoulder at which point you can pull back the Looftlighter around 10cm and let the fan blow the flames until your barbecue is lit and ready to go. It really is that simple.

Briquettes will take a little longer to catch light so my top tip is add some charcoal in with them so it catches easier. Used in combination with a chimney starter you can really get the fuel for your BBQ raging hot in just a few minutes which makes it a seriously handy piece of kit. Being able to get cooking in under 10 minutes really takes out any excuses about how long setting up a BBQ takes. Just another tool to help you get outside and cooking more because your life has been made a lot easier.

The Looftlighter does have it’s limitations. It runs from the mains electricity so you need to have a plug socket available or at least be able to run an extension lead out to your BBQ or where you light your chimney starter. I have also seen some units suffering some melting on the metal guard around the heating element, but simply making sure the unit is only in direct contact with the fuel until it starts to smoulder will eliminate this.

The Looftlighter is on sale via various outlets in the UK and has an RRP or around £69.99, however the unit has been seen on sale via Amazon as low as £30.00. The cheapest we can see currently is around £48.00 which is still a good price for such a hand piece of kit. I know I will always have one in my BBQ tool kit.

The Shed BBQ Rubs – Review by Christine Dale

The UKBBQweek team was very kindly given these rubs by Richard Orme of BBQGourmet (www.bbqgourmet.co.uk) to review and I got the luck of the draw in being picked to review them, my thoughts in this review are my own.

BBQ Gourmet have been around for a few years now importing the very best in BBQ products from overseas, they have an amazing selection of American Rubs and Sauces, I never know where to start but have picked some cracking rubs and sauces over the last few years. I always bring hold luggage when I hear Richard is going to be at an event just so I can stock up.

My first cook was with cluckin awesome by The Shed BBQ. If you don’t know who the Shed BBQ are then a quick trip to Google will tell you all you need to know. They are now 2 times Whole Hog World Champions after winning Memphis in My BBQ competition in the US twice! That’s a real achievement. They’ve had a lot of success on American TV over the years and have a restaurant in Ocean Springs Mississippi. In recent years they have produced a whole line of award winning rubs and sauces that are now stocked in the UK by BBQGourmet.

We decided to try The Shed’s Cluckin Awesome on a rotisserie chicken, first thoughts when reading the label was that brown sugar seemed a little strange for a chicken rub, however when I thought about it I realised that this would have the effect of a rub and a sauce, we rubbed the chicken with a little olive oil and sprinkled with the rub, then allowed it to sit in the fridge for an hour. To help keep the chicken moist we always put some butter in the cavity to help self-baste the chicken. We set up the Kettle BBQ for indirect cooking and put the chicken on. The great thing about a Rotisserie is you just leave it to do its thing. After about an hour the internal temp when checked was 165°F or 74°C. As it was ready we took the chicken off and the rub had really given it a lovely colour and a gloss as you will see in the pictures. We left the chicken to rest and so sat it tented with foil for 30 mins then came the taste test. The Cluckin Awesome rub was really nice, the rub had flavoured the chicken and not just the skin. A subtle garlic and onion flavour and just a touch of sweetness made it one of the nicest chickens we have had recently, will definitely use that again. I guess these guys know their chickens as well as their whole hogs.

Next up was rack attack by The Shed BBQ. You could see that this was a different colour than cluckin awesome and this is most likely due to the paprika, the chilli in the rub is just enough to give it a kick and I reckon this would work just as well on any pork dish. We rubbed up our ribs with some mustard and sprinkled on the Rack Attack rub. The rubs are more granular than some other rubs we have used which are more powdery but this means that you get a more even covering in my opinion. The mustard helps the rubs stick well to the meat but does not leave an aftertaste when finished. These ribs were cooked on the Traeger pellet BBQ on smoke setting for an hour followed by 2h 45m at 107°C or 225°F. Then wrapped them in tinfoil with some cider (Mr D had drunk my apple juice) some butter and a little brown sugar cooked these meat side down for an hour then glazed them with some sweet baby rays honey sauce. You would think that all this sugar and honey would result in a very sweet rib, however the kick from the chillis and the flavour from the paprika and garlic gave a nice balance. They weren’t competition style ribs more fall of the bone but that’s how we eat them in Chillin N Grillin HQ. My workmates next day thought they were the best ribs they have ever eaten and that we should open a restaurant lol.

Overall I think both these rubs did a great job both presentation wise and also with the flavours they gave to the finished product. Luckily I have a little leftover to try again on some other dishes but I can see I may be buying these from BBQGourmet in the future. If you would like to do the same, please visit their website at www.bbqgourmet.co.uk to see the whole range of the The Shed BBQ products.

Curry Weekend! An Amazing Weekend of Cooks

Curry Weekend Montage

UK BBQ Week kicked off on last Saturday, with a focus on BBQ curry, and the response has been unbelievable. We have seen a tremendous response from around the UK, with hundreds of posts across  the various social media platforms, both promoting the week and also many photos to enter the various competitions. The food has looked amazing across the board and shows how strong the BBQ scene is within the UK.

The main prize theme for the weekend was to cook a curry on your BBQ. We received some fantastic competition entries and the whole UK BBQ team has a really hard time picking the winner.

It really was a fantastic way to start the UK BBQ week.

After much debate, Ray Barber was our winner with his cook of Tandoori Chicken and Aloo Sag.

We have created a montage of some our favourite curry cooks from the weekend.

Thank you to everyone that entered and keep those submissions coming in through the week as there are still some great prizes to be won.