Steak tastes better cooked over hot coals

It has been some time since I was able to even contemplate taking the covers off my grilling gear and sparking up the Barbie. However, with a break in the clouds and the suns rays falling onto the grounds of Chateau Ghastanbury for the fist time in what seems like Eons, I headed outdoors with fire lighters in one hand and utensils in the other. For ecological reasons I have not used a charcoal barbeque for years but in a moment of weakness I purchased a new Webber Kettle drum in the January sales along with a new “Billy Oh”, four-burner stainless steel grill.

The Billy Oh is a fantastic piece of kit, all shiny stainless steel, with wipe clean surfaces, easy to light and best of all the easiest Barbie I have ever had to clean. By the way it cooks brilliantly as well. Half of the cooking surface is hot plate with the other half comprising of a grill. Temperature control is fantastic and the storage cupboard underneath the burners is great for stowing away all the bits and pieces that clutter up any work surface.

The Webber is also a fantastic piece of kit with controls for air intake and up draught heat regulators. The cooking surface is huge and easy to clean and the ashtray is simplicity itself to empty. After the usual 30 minutes or so wait for the charcoals to come to life and turn the nice shade of grey required for cooking, slabs of steak weighing in at average of 24 ounces or approximately 700 grams were placed onto the grill. By contrast the Billy Oh was ready for use in less than 5 minutes.

The steaks had been marinated the night before in a concoction of Stubbs beef marinade and Bourbon and were as tender and flavoursome as I could make them.  Throwing them onto the Webber produced a satisfying sizzle and they were cooked in less than 10 minutes each for the well done ones and under 7 minutes for the very rare ones.  As they were cooking so fast I kept them warm on the Billy Oh because it was easier to regulate the temperature. Charcoal grills require damping down and for this purpose I use an old spray bottle filled with beer. As the beer evaporates really quickly the temperature of the charcoal is rapidly brought up again.

Within around 30 minutes I had become used to cooking on charcoal again and remembered how much charcoal they take and also how hot they become. My hands were blistered within the first 20 minutes of cooking over the coals and after smothering them in hand cream I donned gardening gloves to protect them as best I could for the remainder of the day. I hope this heralds the start of the English summer and I will be able to make the most of the two excellent items I have bought.  It was fun breaking the two barbies in and by the way, Steak tastes better cooked over hot coals.

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