When the opportunity presents itself and the UK starts getting warmer during the summer months, many of us can be found in the garden, crowded around the barbecue, cooking and entertaining friends. It's a pastime that is popular around the world, with barbecuing taking on its own form in different countries in terms of grilling techniques, BBQ design and preferred foods.
In the UK, barbecuing and outdoor eating is now the number one summer leisure activity enjoyed at home. The idea of cooking meat over a flame has been around for more than a million years. The precise origin of the word 'barbecue' is unknown but, it is believed to come from the spanish word 'barbacoa' which means a wooden frame used to cook meat, a form of fire-pit cooking (bbqbarbecues.co.uk 2012).
The word barbacoa first appeared in Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo's 1526 book, De La Historia General y Natural de Las Indias. In this he describes the technique of skewering meat on sticks and then roasting it over a pit dug in the ground. The writing of Bernardino de Sahaun uses the word 'barbacoa' in references to meats roasted under the ground (Encyclopedia of Food and Culture 2003).
It is now estimated that two out of every three households now own a barbecue, with an average number of 9 barbecues being hosted during the summer per family, this is a sharp rise from 2.5 a decade ago.
Britons now prefer posh rather than traditional barbecue food, many now choosing to grill more unusual meats like duck and exotic dishes rather than the usual bangers, burgers and chicken drumsticks (bbqbarbecues.co.ok 2012). Barbecue is cooked slowly at temperatures ranging from 175 too 300 degrees fahrenheit with more smoke than fire.
The meat involved varies from region to region. Traditional barbecue is most often pork, beef, lamb or goat, however, chicken is also popular. Unlike most home cooking, barbecue is generally cooked by men. Sociologists have several theories for this. Men may be attracted to the fact that barbecue is cooked outdoors and in public rather than in a closed kitchen. Also at the root of barbecue is a primitive technique, often involving chopping wood, taming a fire, and butchering large cuts of meat. These tasks are traditionally viewed as masculine, and the technique is passed down from father to son (Encyclopedia of Food and Culture 2003).
Firepits are becoming an increasingly common part of the British summer, taking their place alongside barbecues and chimneas. Here are a few facts about firepits. Firepits are designed to contain an open fire and prevent it from spreading. Firepits vary from just a hole dug in the ground to significant pre-made assemblies, typical of metal.
Archaeologists have used radiocarbon dating of charcoal found in old firepits to date past cultures and civilisations. The thermal shock proof ceramic body of the fire pit stores heat similar to hot rocks, providing warmth even after the fire has finally burnt out.
A well-designed firepit with closed ash container can be safely used on decking, without scorching. By contrast a fire ring is designed to contain a fire that is built directly upon the ground, such as a campfire. Fire rings have no bottom, and are simply circles made of forged metal, stones, concrete etc which surround and contain the fire. They definately cannot be used on decking (Grenadier.co.uk 2015).
An outdoor firepit gives you, a warming focal point where people can gather. Firepits wont leave your lawn scarred with blackened scorch marks. Firepits are easy to use and maintain, they are portable and they look great in any garden/patio or outside entertaining space. One downside to having a firepit is that, depending on the fuel you use, you will need to clean it out occasionally. The longer the wood has had to 'season' the less ash will be left behind after burning.
Chimneas can be very ornate with patterns carved into the clay. They make for great pieces of garden furniture in their own right, and are sure to compliment your garden and other pieces with their natural clay and terracota colouration. They are usually light enough in weight to be re-positioned anywhere in your garden. These exterior radiators with their tall chimneys pump out heat whilst removing any smoke and smells up and out the way of you and your guests.
There aren't really any cons to chimneas. They offer a great source of heat and look good. People may be disappointed if they buy a chimneas with the view to using it as a barbecue, they're not that great for cooking on as they're not big enough.