Playing with fire

I think it’s probably important to try and write topical posts. With that in mind, with it being early December, I thought I’d write about barbecues. Well maybe not, but that’s what came to mind so we’ll go with it. We recently had a demo from Richard Holden who works for Weber (a bbq company). A big part of what the company does is send people out on the road to demonstrate how barbecues can be used. So there is some very interesting stuff such as how to cook things like cakes that you wouldn’t normally try to cook on a barbecue. However, Weber’s aim to educate the British public about how ‘best’ to barbecue may be well intentioned, but seems to be somewhat misguided.

We heard how most people don’t use a barbecue properly and as such often end up with charred food that is still raw in the middle. Obviously not a good thing. The two main things that seemed to be talked about were that we should not be constantly turning our meat, and the fact that in most circumstances it is much better to use a barbecue with a lid, and to resist the temptation to keep taking it off. This way the meat (or whatever you’re cooking) is cooked by both direct heat from the grill and also by indirect heat that can build up, much like it would be in an oven, helping to make sure it is cooked all the way through.

Well that all sounded rather long and boring. And there’s the problem.

Now I don’t want to argue about whether these are actually the best methods to barbecue, as quite frankly I have no idea. Rather I want to point out the flaw in even bothering to argue this.

I think I can begin to make my point through the medium of family guy (apologies for the quality, clearly the uploader did not have my blog in mind whilst filming this video off the tv. Who does that anyway? And also, why is the most sinister breathing in the world going on in the background?)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2X01jtHTE8

This video is not that far off. Really.

As I see it, barbecuing is quite an inconvenience really, and so people do it for 3 main reasons:

  1. We want to be able to play with our food while it cooks (45%)
  2. We want to play with fire (the fact that it is cooking our food is secondary) (45%)
  3.  We truly appreciate the unique taste that a barbecue can offer (10%)

So trying to tell us not to turn our food, and even more radically, to put a lid on our barbecues, is taking away 90% of the enjoyment that we derive from them in the first place. A marginally ‘better’ cooked sausage is not going to be adequate compensation for that.

Barbecuing is a social activity first and foremost, and a way to cook our food second. We barbecue because it’s fun and for some reason everyone who is standing around the barbecue feels like they have helped cook, by informing the chief barbecuer that it is time to turn a burger over. Let’s not take that away from people. ‘It’s time to take the lid off the barbecue’ doesn’t have the same ring to it.

If we’re not going to get to play with our food over a big fire, and we can’t even look at it, we may as well just cook in the oven.

P.S – Yes, I have now graduated. More details on my life to come.