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The Secrets of Summer

The Secrets of Summer

It looks like it’s going to be a great weekend and so here are some of the secrets to successful summer cooking…

The word barbecue comes from the language of a Caribbean Indian tribe called the Taino. Their word for grilling on a raised wooden grate is barbacoa.

It has a long list of historical and important fans. When Abraham Lincoln's parents were married, their wedding feast was a barbecue. The first commercial charcoal briquet factory was designed by Thomas Edison and built by Henry Ford in 1921. Gordon Ramsey, that most demanding of chefs, even has a whole website dedicated to the wonders of BBQ recipes.


It’s easy to understand the appeal of a BBQ with gatherings of family and friends gathering round a fire cooking meat – and how that must have been how all cooking was done originally – a communal open-air affair.

Like all good cooking – making sure your ingredients are first class is one of the most important things – but there is an added ingredient when cooking with a BBQ and that is the fuel., which you should think of as another ingredient in whatever recipe you are cooking. When you think about the simplicity of a steak or burger, a lot of the flavour comes from the smoky wood of the charcoal itself. The best thing you can do is keep things as natural as possible – avoid ‘instant’ charcoal, as this can contains chemicals and fuels to help it light and burn longer, which can add unwanted flavours to the food.  We stock charcoal from The Dorset Charcoal Company which makes traditional high quality sustainable charcoal, which is the best type of fuel you can use. Likewise, choose natural firelighters, are best rather than chemical ones.

To manage the temperature for different pieces of meat, you can either raise or lower the grill, or have lit the fire to one side, to give an area which will have more indirect heat for slower cooking. As you add the meat, you should hear it sizzle and start to caramelise. If there are flames, it may be that the coals are still too hot, so wait a few minutes longer. To make sure you have cooked everything perfectly, I’d suggest a meat thermometer – which is why we sell this very popular one here.


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