Napoleon PRO Charcoal Grill- Review by Tim Donald, @silverbackgrill

Napoleon PRO Charcoal Kettle Barbecue (PRO22K-LEG-2)

First impression was “man this thing is a weighty bit of gear”. On unpacking, it is not difficult to understand why. Not only is there a heavy gauge porcelain lid and bowl, but also, a hugely impressive cast iron hinged cooking grid that weighs 8kg on its own! Assembly is fairly straight forward, just be sure to get the legs in the right place. During assembly I was struck by a couple of things:

1) There is a huge hole in the bottom of the porcelain bowl. Surely, there is no way you are going to be able to control air flow with that.
and
2) The steel band that fits to the bowl is a great aesthetic feature, but its thinner than the porcelain and probably more conductive so you are going to lose a load of heat and what does it really add apart from looking pretty.

Well I couldn’t really have been more wrong! The ash catcher slots in to the bottom of the bowl and ingeniously doubles up to regulate the air flow. This design has the advantage of doing away with more fragile moving parts and also making it incredibly easy to clean out the bowl after use.

The steel band is a really nice feature on the grill. It is also integral to being able to adjust the grill to three different heights, as the bowl is then the same width over a greater range, allowing a 14cm height differential. This gives you more control when cooking and also allows you to drop the grill right above the coals when searing. As for losing heat through the band, well I can find no evidence of that.

The grill is a real design thoroughbred. It seems very efficient on charcoal consumption and in fact you need to be very careful not to light too much coal if you want to keep temperatures low. On the contrary, it is very easy to get the cooking temp up above 250c. The cast iron grid itself I really like. It is hinged so you can easily place wood on the coals for smoking, or add more coals. The hinge itself is more of a hooked over part of the grill, which means you can easily remove the sides for cleaning and you don’t get grease stuck around the hinges. I really like the look of it with the Napoleon flames in the middle and the wave pattern. Like other parts of the design it is not just for looks, the wave design helps keep smaller things top side of the grill.

Napoleon is a Canadian company that began life as a steel fabrication business in 1976. My review mentions “design” and “easy” a few times, so it comes as no surprise to me that Napoleon has lead the way with new and innovative patented technology across its ranges. The jury is out on whether the steel diffuser plate adds anything or not, I would lose that and include charcoal baskets which currently do not come as standard.

    Char-Broil Kamander – Review by ArtustBBQ

    Kamado style barbecues are having a bit of a boom in the UK at the moment. In a market that has always been a choice between green or red (Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe), there now seems to be a new option wherever you look. Even the supermarkets are getting in on the action this year selling unbranded and unknown brand kamado style grills at seemingly very competitive prices. There must be over 15 different brands and models available now in the UK market, most of which seem to be coming from imported brands with no presence behind them. So whilst paying sometimes less than a quarter of the cost of the main two players for what looks like a similar grill may seem like a good deal, is it really? One thing we have learnt over the years about ceramic is that it is delicate, and heavy. Very very heavy. So you pretty much need to pick a spot for your ceramic grill and not consider moving it for a while, and of you do decide on a change of spot then proceed with caution as knocking that grill over is not an option.
    But what are your other options? Well, in the last few years an alternative to ceraminc kamado’s has also stepped forward in the form of the double walled steel versions with insulation in-between. So is this a good alternative? We were very kindly sent the Charbroil Kamander to test out and see if it stands up to the test.

    It’s always a good day when a new grill arrives and when this bright yellow Charbroil box arrived on a pallet it was smiles all round. There were two of us unpacking and building the Kamander and it took us around 45 minutes to put together and was pretty straightforward as we actually followed the instructions for once. I know the usual process is bin the instructions and see what happens and keep them for fire starters later, but we wanted to do this by the book. There is still a little weight to the unit so definitely worth having that second pair of hands available. The pay off was the first feast off the grill for helping out which was deemed to be more than a fair trade.

      So let’s start with the weight. The Kamander comes in at around 52kg which is about a two thirds of the weight of its equivalent in a ceramic kamado grill. So a fairly hefty chunk lighter but don’t forget the Kamander also comes set into it’s own wheeled cart with folding side shelf. Figure that into the equation and you start to see this is a fair whack lighter than similarly sized ceramics. But does lighter mean a drop off in performance? We have put the Kamader through a whole host of different cooks to see. The cart the Kamander is set in is pretty sturdy, if you clip the lid shut then then large handle acts as a grip to lift and roll the whole unit around with on its back wheels. The Kamader grill has been stored a few meters away from the cooking area and moving it across the patio and grass was easy thanks to the large rubberized wheels. The side table on the cart pulls out and drops to the side whilst remaining attached so that the storage space needed for the grill set in its table is less when stored and covered. This handy side table is helpful for many things including preparation, holding ingredients or fuel or even your BBQ cookbook of choice. There are also a number of tool hooks off to the side of the table making it handy to hang your tongs and grate tool etc. These are a little fiddly as they sit underneath the lip but a few attempts has your tools safely stored and out of the way. But the side table in this instance serves a bigger purpose, as a quick glance shows a daisy wheel vent housed to the back right of the grill itself inset into the table. This is part of the very clever vent system that Charbroil has used on the Kamander making it easy to make temperature vent adjustments without having to lean under the grill. Whilst not an issue for most to lean under a grill, anyone suffering with back issues could find this really useful when combined with the lighter weight of the unit itself. All the usual features are there such as a temperature dial that reads up to 425c. Yes that’s Celsius not Fahrenheit. A giveaway about how hot this unit can get with its insulation. The gasket between the lid and the main bowl is not of the felt variety that has been seen on most kamado units until now, but is the new style and harder wearing braided unit that compresses when the lid is clipped shut to form a tight seal and also acts as a cushion should you drop the lid. There is a latch to clip the lid shut to form an airtight seal and a large lifting handle. As the grill is steel construction and not ceramic the lid does not weight a ton making them hard to lift one handed as with some grills. The cooking grates are porcelain coated cast iron so hold heat in really well for those classic grill marks on steaks but also remain easy to clean too. The grate comes with another neat feature as it is in 2 parts. There is a very small section at the front that is removable with a handy tool CharBroil include that means you can easily top up on fuel or smoking wood mid cook. This doesn’t fit 100% tight for the first few cooks and feels like it could slip, but get a few cooks through the grill and it holds much tighter in place. There is also a very handy removable step up grill included with the kit there are 2 slots (left back and right back) that this can be slotted into, and then there are also 2 heights that the step grill can be set too. Very handy for those cooks where you need some extra space or it can also be used to separate food types if needed or also as a warming rack. But another neat feature of this is that is can swing out to the side of the grill giving you total access to the food on the main grill or act as a super cool zone away from the grill surface if needed. Underneath the grill there is a hanger in which you can place the drip pan which also acts as a diffuser for smoking creating an indirect cooking set up, but also can be used as a water pan if you so wish. The pan isn’t very deep so would probably require fairly regular top up’s during those really long low n slow cooks. We have been foiling it during cooks to keep it clean. Working your way down you have the charcoal grate, then at the very bottom of the grill sits the ash pan which has the air flow holes drilled into the sides at the top. Thankfully this pan is very deep meaning you can crack though a fair few cooks before it needs emptying. But they have thought the design of this through well and it has a lifting handle across the middle for easy removal.

      So having had the Charbroil Kamander unit in the line up for 3 months now and having cooked upwards of 20 cooks on it, I have to say I am very taken with it. Having yearned for a ceramic kamado grill for a number of years getting the opportunity to try the Charbroil Kamander was one I grabbed with both hands. I have cooked everything from a 14hr low and slow pork shoulder, chilli brisket, spatchcock chicken and lamb ribs right up to high heat steaks, seafood and even some brownies and it has coped well with everything I have thrown at it so far. The side table really plays a big part here with having somewhere to rest plates, rubs, glazes and tools which is something none of my other barbecues have. The built in tool hanger is very handy in keeping the table surface clear or tongs and lighter. It has taken some adjustments in my cooking technique to learn just how much heat these type of grills retain but learning is what makes BBQ fun. You definitely need to light less charcoal or briquettes on start up with these types of grill as once the insulation kicks in the temperature will climb rapidly and given the chance it will shoot over your desired cooking range. So some minor adjustments where needed in my cooks to ensure the temps stays level as the grill does want to cook hot. Briquettes are definitely recommended for low n slow cooks to keep in that 107c/225f-135c-275 sweet spot. The pork shoulder was cooked using heat beads briquettes and it sat in this range for the whole 14hrs with minimal vent changes during the cook. The one thing you will find is that the vents need to be shut down a lot lower than on some grills due to the nature of the insulation, again too much air going in will make the temperature rise above you desired cooking range as with any grill. For higher heat cooks this grill comes into it’s own. The charcoal grill is a little lower from the cooking grates than on some grills but this doesn’t seem to affect it. A good covering of some good quality lump charcoal on the grate can be lit and have you up to those 425c-797f high heats for the perfect sear in no time at all. One simple cook of some Sherwood foods Tomapork with a simple salt and pepper rub and some oak wood chunks had one guest asking how it was possible to get so much flavour into pork. That was a good moment and cemented the fact that the Kamander has it’s place in the barbecue line up.

      Conclusion

      The big players in the market make amazing units and have great reputations for quality and after care, but the cost makes them prohibitive for most people. The Charbroil Kamander comes in with a recommended retail price of £699 in the UK making it very very competitive against most other brands out there. But there is one small sticking point in that this grill sells at a lower price in the US. But that said, taking into account that mark up applies to every other grill and product imported into the UK, you can see that it’s something you have to swallow and that it’s still a very good deal. Also, if you keep your eyes peeled there have been some deals around for as low as £499 saving you a massive £200 and making the Kamander a no brainer in its market.

      Once again the Kamander grill was supplied to us for review but we are free to add our own thoughts and have been honest and fair in our review.

      http://www.charbroil.eu/

      http://www.charbroil.eu/kamander-140-870

      Smokerigbbq Plancha- Review by Mark Cole

      I first saw the Beefy boys doing burgers on a plancha, early this year I started to see a few people cooking on the smokerig plancha I thought to myself that looks like a cool bit of kit and promptly bought one.

      When it arrived I was impressed with how heavy it was, 11kg and 6mm carbon steel which is supposed to conduct the heat very effectively. Before cooking on the plancha you need to wash and season the surface to create that natural non-stick coating. This is the same process as seasoning a steel wok or cast iron cookware. The seasoning process is the baking of a thin layer of oil into the surface of the metal. Repeating the process helps build up the layers of baked oil and gives the steel a dark tanned shiny appearance.

      Once seasoned I couldn’t wait to do my first cook, I have always had a guilty pleasure of McDonalds McMuffin for breakfast and I thought the plancha would be perfect for recreating them. My Recipe is on the website if you want to give it a go. http://ukbbqweek.com/recipes/mcmuffin/

      I lit ¾ of a chimney of charcoal and when it was ready to go I tipped it into the bbq leaving an area with no charcoal, this would mean that one side of the plancha where the coals where, would be very hot and the other side with no coals under would be cooler. I put the plancha on and the lid of the bbq and waited about 10 mins. I then tested the temperature with an IR Thermometer.  The plancha definitely conducts heat effectively.The hot side was about 250c and the cooler side was 180c. If you want, you can put an even layer of charcoal under the plancha and obviously less charcoal means less heat if you need to cook something more slowly.

      As well as the McMuffin, I have cooked steaks and fajitas and smash burgers , the size of the plancha means you have so much more cooking space than you would on a griddle pan and the solid surface helps create a great crust on your steak or burger. You can see some pictures of my cooks below.  I know some of the rest of the team have cooked, pancakes, drop crumpets, a full English breakfast and philly cheese steak. So all in all the plancha is a well-made bit of kit which has quickly become an essential and I can see myself using for many years to come.

      When it comes to cleaning the plancha this is very easy, while it’s still hot I scrape the surface with a metal scraper or spatula and wipe down with a paper kitchen towel. If there are any burnt bits stuck to the surface I spray water and scrape again. Before storage and to help build the non-stick surface I add a film of oil before storing away.

      My Plancha is for the 57cm Weber kettle but Smokerig BBQ are currently developing a range of planchas for a variety of bbq’s. I also believe there is a pizza steel currently in the testing stage and I am looking forward to seeing peoples thoughts

      Plancha available from https://www.smokerig.co.uk/

      Heat Beads- Review by Christine Dale

      Heat Beads are the number one best seller in Australia. One of our supporters Heat Beads UK offered the team a bag of briquettes to try out and review, as I had never used them before I said I would do it. I have seen a lot of people saying that Heat Beads are their favourite briquette. I live in Northern Ireland and haven’t seen anywhere that stocks them locally, this could well be an opportunity for someone.

      The bag is 4kg in weight and the briquettes when I opened them were smaller than the Weber ones I usually use (see picture below), they did however seem much denser and were heavier. Briquettes are my fuel of choice if doing low and slow as they provide a more consistent heat than lump wood. The exception to this is in a Ceramic BBQ where I always use lump wood.

      I decided to use our baby Bristol Drum Smoker and the minion method to see how long they would last. I set up the fire basket and only used half a bag. I had heard that they were hard to light so I put a bit of lump wood in the mini chimney and a few heat beads on top. I used a wood wool starter to light. In about 15 mins they were well lit and I tipped them into the drum. I put in the deflector plate and set up the IGrill to monitor the temperature (Our kitchen is on the first floor so this saves a lot of running up and down to check the temperature) After about 15 mins the bbq was coming up to temp, this is slightly quicker than the weber ones, that can take 20-30 mins, I closed the two side bottom vents and left the middle one fully open, and the top vents to half closed and on went the pork shoulder. The bbq sat quite happily between 220°F and 250°F  with a few tweaks now and then on the vents, this is very similar to the Weber briquettes but the Weber ones need a bit more babysitting. You can see this on the graph in the picture below, the top line is the drum temperature.  At around the 7 hr mark the temp started to drop and as the pork was ready to wrap, I wrapped the pork and added a few more briquettes as the fire basket was down to a handful of unburned briquettes, this brought the temp back to the desired range and after another 2 hours the pork was ready. The Weber briquettes would last a similar length of time in the Baby drum although in the slightly bigger fire-basket in the Weber Smoky Mountain I have got 13 ½ hours but obviously this was using more briquettes. I have no doubt the Heat Beads would do the same.  I need to try Heat Beads in the Weber Smoky Mountain.

      I still have some left and I plan to do a Rotisserie cook with them, I am sure they will work equally well at the hotter end of the temperature spectrum and their density will make them long lasting too.

      The briquettes give off much less ash than others I have used and this is great as this means there is less chance of them snuffing out. I will try and source these briquettes although delivery charges may be a killer. That’s one of the joys of living in Northern Ireland some people think we are in Outer Mongolia.

      In summary, 7 hours on half a bag in our baby drum is an excellent result, much longer than the 4 hours they claim to last and I can certainly recommend these briquettes. Good consistency and heat throughout the cook.

      Heat Beads are distributed in the UK by

      http://www.hiltonbanks.com/5_heatbeads.htm

      Jumbuck Rondo – Review by Ady

      For this years UKBBQWEEK I decided yet again to try out another affordable BBQ.

      I had a look in several stores and online and decided to purchase a Jumbuck Rondo Rotisserie from Homebase. They are usually on sale at £65.00 but I fell lucky and picked one up for the bargain price of £50.00 !!! I swiftly returned home and opened the box, nice easy to understand instructions, really easy to build.

      So the hardware.

      • Easy to build.
      • Nice and solid when built.
      • Very workable grilling area.
      • Rotisserie motor is really quiet and powerful, with the added bonus of a balance weight.
      • Could easily be popped in the boot of a car and taken on a picnic or camping trip, all you would require is a battery rotisserie motor.
      • Superb value for money.

      Right, all looking good,so how does it perform?

      The first cook,

      I marinaded overnight some boneless, skinless chicken thighs using the Tandoori Chicken recipe by Dan Toomes (@thecurryguy)

      Amelia lit two Heat Beads firelighters and a chimney starter was placed on top filled with half a chimney of Heat Beads. Whilst the Heat Beads charcoal briquettes was coming up to temperature I threaded the chicken on to the rotisserie. I then placed the rotisserie on the Rondo without the motor and span it so it ran freely and let it settle, then place the weight on the opposite side and spin until balanced. I then dumped the coals on to the heat deflector and I used a foil tray to creat a two zone set up.

      The skewer was placed on to the rotisserie and engaged into the motor, switched on the rotisserie and let it do its thing.

      After 30 mins I realised that I didnt need the two zone set wasnt necessary, because it doesn’t have a lid the direct method works a treat. I tested the temperature using a thermapen until it read 74c in several locations, switched off the rotisserie and removed the chicken. I removed the skewer and the holding forks and placed on a plate and covered loosely and let rest.

      Popped a flatbread on the Jumbucks grill and warmed through, popped on some of the chicken and voila.

       

      Conclusion

      The Jumbuck Rondo is and amazing priced piece of BBQ equipment, and the price point is a bargain I’d happily give it 8 out of 10, but if Jumbuck gave this little grill a lid it would be a 10 out of 10.

      Just for clarity I purchased all of the equipment and the views are my own.

      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…

      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.