Taste Scene

Michael Devlin

Quare bardecoo weather

A Landmann Avalon 6.1 this ain’t. Aren’t disposable barbecues deadly.

Who likes barbecue food?

Hands up. If I said this to our two off-spring at home they’d both go, “ME! ME! ME I LIKE BARBECUE!” And they’d dance around in circles like little pony-tailed puppies who’ve just been told they’re going for a walk to the sweetie shop.

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Actually, Anna being only three can’t say barbecue properly. She says, “Bardecoo.” But no matter how many times I correct her, she won’t shift. So we’ve done the obvious thing: Now we’re all calling it bardecoo.

On Sunday evening, despite it being too hot outside to think, never mind cook, I pulled out a disposable bardecoo and fired it up.

With the cunning use of beer, I somehow managed to survive the ordeal of cooking eight burgers, a dozen sausages, four chicken kebab-type skewer-y things (I don’t really know what these were called, I was making them up as I went along) and four corn-on-the-cobs.

I had purposely cooked too much stuff so that there’d be lots left over and I could then have it for lunch and dinner the next day. And such left-overs they were. I ate one burger in a red onion and chive New York bagel on Monday with a cheese slice: I nearly passed out at the pleasure.

I know my appetites can be as changeable as the weather, but I think barbecue (sorry, bardecoo) might be my favourite way of cooking. It’s the whole al fresco element, isn’t it and the fact that it’s against the law to bardecoo without beer.

Anyway, we devoured Sunday’s meat feast at length with a few crisp salad leaves and a cherry tomato or two but still there was a load left for my gut’s aggrandisement the next day.

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Not for the first time this year, Sunday evening made me wonder if it might finally be time to purchase a real barbecue, maybe one that doubles up as a smoker and has a temperature gauge and an adjustable grill rack, all chrome and handles.

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How well would I look with the shorts on cooking over one of those bad boys? Like a cooking version of Magnum PI, just.

I even went so far as to Google barbecue to see what’s out there. Gas or charcoal? Portable or permanent? Silver or black?

Honestly, I didn’t think there’d be such a vast array of options, nor did I think they’d be quite as expensive. You know you could pay almost £1,500 for a Landmann Avalon 6.1 PTS Plus Gas? You could aye, if you weren’t wise and you’d more money than Scrooge McDuck. I would say the Landmann Avalon 6.1 PTS Plus Gas is a great gadget right enough, but for that kind of money you’d be cheaper hiring caterers – expensive caterers who’d bring a bouncy castle and put on a Punch and Judy show for the weans after.

At the other end of the cost spectrum are those kettle-type thingies (the technical term, obviously) at about £20. I’d say a burger off one of these wouldn’t be much different to a Landmann Avalon 6.1 burger. I actually used one of the kettles in the past but then I turned my back for five minutes (in truth I forgot to clean it out for a couple of months) and a whole colony of fungal entities had moved in and set up camp. It could have been cleansed and reclaimed of course but Herself was looking over my shoulder when I lifted the lid so of course nothing else would do but the whole shebang had to go in the bin – us being millionaires and all.

My extensive research has even demonstrated that it’s possible to order a kind of tripod thing that hangs over a camp fire or better still, a gadget that works as a spit roaster. This is a whole world of cooking that has been denied me thus far. I blame the weather.

But then I had an epiphany. When Sunday’s bardecoo had finished and the little humans has been packed off to Nod and I’d packed away the plastic garden chairs, I held my hand over the coals to find them still warm if not hot. “It’ll do to the morning,” my internal wastrel chimed. “Aren’t disposable barbecues deadly.”

The wastrel had a point. For all the summer cooking I’ll do, as much as a I love it, it’s hard to beat throwing the whole shebang into the bin when you’re finished.

Who likes cleaning the barbecue? Hands up.

No-one.

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