Get set for barbecue season
Summer is the time when the barbecue comes out, friends arrive and food and entertainment take over.
There is nothing so lovely as an impromptu get-together with friends or family at an al fresco summer barbecue.
But which type of barbecue is bestsuited to your needs?
It depends on how keen an outdoor chef you are and how many people you cater for.
Gas barbecues deliver instant heat at the touch of a button and are cleaner, as they produce no ash.
Flavorizer bars, which sit above the burners, vaporise juices as they drip down from the meat, thereby helping to flavour the food.
They run on bottled propane gas and the more burners the barbecue has, the quicker the gas gets used. These are ideal for people who regularly dine outside and don’t want to wait for their supper or who love to entertain large groups of guests.
However, they do cost more than charcoal barbecues.
The charcoal option means waiting up to 45 minutes to ensure the briquettes are white hot before cooking can begin.
Food tends to taste smokier but, as these barbecues come in different sizes, they are often greater value so are worth considering.
Here are our top tips to enjoying a safe barbecue.
Never leave a lit barbecue unattended – it’s common sense but it’s easy to get distracted when you are socialising.
Make sure that your barbecue is on level ground and is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste;
Keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby so that you can quickly deal with any emergencies;
Keep children, garden games and pets well away from the cooking area;
Make sure your barbecue is in good working order and follow the safety instructions provided when you use it;
If you are using charcoal, use only enough to cover the base of the barbecue to a depth of about 5cm (two inches);
Only use fire lighters or starter fuel to light it, never use petrol:
If you are using gas, make sure the tap is turned off before changing the gas cylinder:
When you have finished cooking, turn the gas cylinder off before turning off at the controls to ensure any gas in the pipe work is used up:
Make sure the barbecue is cool before trying to move it.
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