The barbecuing experience is a long-standing fond joke in our family. When my brother and I were kids, nothing would stop our Dad from wheeling out the barbecue; not snow, not rain, nothing.
I remember one particular Saturday when the family was all huddled around the picnic table, shivering and soaking, while the rain poured down and our Dad flipped burgers with one hand and held an umbrella with the other.
This week we see the celebration of National Barbecue Week, which was first launched in 1997. Back then, there were 9 million barbecue occasions, and this grew to over 135 million in 2018. All hail the British barbie!
As with most things, people are divided on what kind of barbecue provides the best tasting food; gas, wood or charcoal.
While gas is cleaner and faster, the majority of barbecue aficionados will tell you that cooking over gas fails to bring out the smoky flavours that cooking with wood or charcoal provides.
The reason for this is due to a chemical called lignin which is present in wood. When heat is applied, this chemical breaks down into something called guaiacol which provides the smoky flavor. Guaiacol is also present in charcoal.
Barbecues seem to have become more sophisticated since I was a kid; the days when a barbie consisted of hamburgers, hot dogs, and the height of refinement was foil-wrapped corn-on-the cob.
These days, a typical barbecue is likely to present spicy chicken skewers, beer-braised short ribs and lamb and rosemary koftas. Nor is the barbecue as limited to meats as it used to be. With the increase in popularity of vegetarianism, you are just as likely to see black bean burgers, jerk grilled eggplant and cauliflower steaks.
And now I’m starving, and these barbecue photoshoots we have done for our clients are making the cravings worse… I’m off for a chicken skewer!
For more information about National Barbecue Week, please visit https://nationalbbqweek.co.uk
Food Photographer: Tom Davies, Lead Photographer, Full Steam Pictures.
Written by: Kate Davies, Media Manager, Full Steam Pictures.