Eating at home hots up

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 June, 2011, 12:00am

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In many homes, barbecues are now regarded as an extension of the kitchen. So, instead of relying purely on your indoor cooking space, consider adding a barbecue spot, particularly if you have a balcony or outdoor area.

Jervisbay Barbecue World founder Rhonda Gretton says barbecuing has undergone a revolution. 'The old stereotype of a fat bloke with a can of beer serving up blackened sausages and burgers has been replaced by an altogether more wholesome approach,' she says.

When buying a barbecue, Gretton suggests going for something that is easy to maintain. 'Enamel is easy maintenance as it has a coat on it and it's easier for cleaning. Stainless steel is harder work to keep clean,' she says.

There are various types of barbecue, such as coal, electric or gas. Gas barbecues use either traditional LPG as their flame source to directly heat the grill, or infrared grills which uniformly distribute the heat across the cooking surface, allowing users to sear items quickly, sealing the juices in.

Also look for versatility with extras such as rotisseries. When considering size, Gretton says this depends on the amount of space available. 'You could have a small two-burner and still cook for 20 people by sealing and stacking steaks,' she says. 'Three-burners suit most people. But there are also four burners too for people with more room.'

Barbecues in Hong Kong are popular with people who want to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle and who also like to cook gourmet meals, Gretton says.

'For those who love cooking, they will bring out the chef in you as nothing is impossible and it's only limited to your imagination,' she says. 'We often have people saying they want to roast a small pig on a spit or smoke their meat. And if you have a barbecue roasting hood, you can use the barbecue like a convection oven and even cook things like cakes.'

A barbecue is an outdoor product, but you need to remember that it still needs some tender loving care, Gretton says. 'People panic if they see oxidisation, but you just need to clean it with soapy water,' she says. 'In the past, much of the cookware used to be cast iron and you needed to make sure it was well-oiled or it would rust. Most cookware now comes with an enamel coating, so you just need to wipe it down and never scrape them. And if you are going to put your barbecue away in storage, you should oil it first.'