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Whether BBQ or Smoker...succulent hot food from the coolest of ‘barbies'!

We’ve come a long way from the “chuck another shrimp on the barbie” beginnings of cooking in the back yard – so far that your BBQ of choice is just as likely to be judged by its design credentials as much as the quality of its food output. Here’s a snapshot of some devices that will be delivering on great food AND good-looks this year…

Making headway in the ‘gastronomic delight’ category is a very individual range of electrically-heated charcoal grills from Australia’s Everdure by Heston Blumenthal. 

Currently starting at £134.99 for the diminutive Cube portable/table-top charcoal that’s no bigger than a microwave oven, it’s a range that recognises the need for speed when it comes to making the most of al fresco eating – but retains the smoky charcoal flavour that many regard as a ‘must’.

 
 
Top of the range is this new Bluetooth-controlled BBQ/oven/grill – the 4K (£1,599) – which uses a Kamado-style ceramic clay and multiple heat-sensor approach to bring the capabilities of a professional kitchen to your patio – push-button charcoal lighting, precise digital temperature control, recipe suggestion, advice on charcoal management, even telling you how to prepare and cook your food to perfection.

Another brand with up-to-the-minute appeal is Kamado Joe, with their distinctive range of grills which, again, opt for the heat-retaining properties of a thick ceramic outer shell to give all-round, controllable heat that keeps meat moist by sealing in charcoal smoke and flavour.

We’ve been really impressed by the top-of-the-range Big Joe Grill (£1,799), even demonstrating its versatility at in-house events by cooking Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings – including Yorkshire Pudding! There’s nothing that this top-notch outdoor grill can’t do and its design alone tends to be a talking point.
 
 
 

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BBQ or Smoker?

There’s increasing interest in using aromatic smoke to cook outdoors and more than enough options in terms of equipment. Slowly smoking food – rather than quickly blasting it with heat or flames – is taking outdoor cooking back to its roots, when food was cooked at a much slower pace over a period of time. With meat and fish in particular, this serves to seal-in moisture and create tasty and tender results. To lovers of al fresco eating, it’s a welcome change to the ‘fire up the furnace’ approach that has led to the speed and convenience of gas-fuelled barbeques taking over from charcoal-fuelled alternatives. Yes, smoking might mean that a little more time has to be set aside for equipment-preparation and cooking, but a slower, gentler cooking process – often controlled with digital accuracy – is likely to give you much more scope for preparing succulent dishes that your guests will remember for a long, long time – for all the right reasons.   (Look out for smokers from Traeger, Weber, Napoleon, Broil King and Landmann.)

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Looking very traditional, but as smart as they come, are the range of Traeger wood-fired grills that are fuelled by specially-formulated, moisture infused hardwood pellets that are burned separately from the food to produce digitally-controlled heat and flavoured smoke. This lends itself to the ‘low & slow’ US-style of outdoor cooking which gave us tender Pulled Pork and other mouth-watering favourites that you just can’t get by fast grilling at high temperatures. But the clever versatility is still there with the Traeger, letting you grill, bake, roast, braise or barbecue just as easily and there’s a variety of wood pellets – including Oak, Cherry, Pecan and Maple – to work out your favourite smoky flavour for each dish. The Traeger Bronson 20 Pellet Grill retails at £399.00.

If you’re a fan of the open-flamed fire-pit and cooking experience, you can’t do better than Kadai with their traditionally-styled firebowls, accessories and utensils. Ranging in price from £214 to £274, each charcoal or wood-fired firebowl is skilfully hand-made in India from recycled oil drums and other re-purposed materials, making each item truly unique. Strong and practical, the firebowls come complete with high and low stands (one for cooking, the lower for use as a casual firepit), plus cooking grill, tongs and wire brush for cleaning. There are also lots of equally individual-looking accessories, including a Tripod Skillet, Roasting Oven, Paella Pan - even a Chapati Pan, so you can end up with a complete system capable of cooking anything you like. Kadai’s firebowls can be left outside all year round as the weathering merely adds to their interesting ethnic style. Model shown is the Kadai Recycled Firebowl Kit – 70cm at £244.99.
 

Not for the purpose of cooking, but perfect for use with firepits or just impromptu camp fires for that matter – COFFEE LOGS! Yes, we seem to be perpetually surrounded by all forms of coffee nowadays, so why not add the aroma of freshly-ground coffee to the night air by burning logs made from re-cycled coffee grounds? Each compacted log contains grounds from 25 cups of fresh coffee, giving a 100% carbon-neutral bio-fuel that generates 80% less emissions than if the grounds went to landfill. Burning 20% hotter and longer than wood, Coffee Logs are UK-made by Bio-Bean and even come in recycled paper packaging – what’s not to like? A pack of 16 logs costs £6.99.

Whether you’re into traditional charcoal barbecuing, prefer the added convenience of cooking with gas, or fancy perfecting your culinary skills as a ‘smoker’, Norwich Camping & Leisure are stockists for barbecues, smokers and grills by Weber, Broil King, Cadac, Campingaz, Everdure by Heston Blumenthal, Kadai Firebowls, Kamado Joe, Landmann, Napoleon, Outback and Traeger. Come and see East Anglia’s biggest barbecue & outdoor furniture display - we will also Price-Match any UK in-store or online prices (Terms apply).

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Norwich Camping & Leisure Village, in Blofield, east of Norwich, Norfolk, has one of the UK’s largest outdoor displays of tents and awnings, plus indoor showroom displays of camping & caravanning equipment, outdoor clothing, garden furniture & buildings, barbecues and a fully-stocked garden centre. 

The Leisure Village also has a farm shop, coffee shop and a professional-standard car, camper & caravan hand-wash station. With nearly 50 years of experience and practical, friendly advice – plus FREE NEXT-WORKING-DAY DELIVERY on orders over £100 (Terms & Conditions apply) and our Best Price / Price Match Policy and low-rate finance terms why not come along and see us!  

www.norwichcamping.co.uk    Tel: 01603 717600    [email protected]    Follow us on Twitter!