In UK the barbecues come out with the sun, the warmest Easter weekend on record saw folks setting up their grills and looking forward to some dining al fresco. BBQ’s have a reputation for being American as since Thomas Jefferson they have become a famous Presidential tradition, but then again who hasn’t heard of the Aussie Barbie. It’s a fact every land has its own tradition of cooking on an outdoor grill over an open fire and the UK is Europe’s No. 1 barbecue nation. Property developers and new home builders are beginning to add a built-in outdoor dining feature to patios and gardens as a purchasing incentive.
Do-it-yourself stores do a thriving business on a sunny spring Bank Holiday Monday, folks are out buying gardening, cooking and sitting equipment to prepare for the summer. Entertaining by barbecue is more casual and cheaper than going out to eat, it has become an English summer norm; according to last year’s barbecue facts three out of four households own some sort barbecue, charcoal and gas fired compete for popularity and ease. The best-selling hooded styles of appliance are useful for slow cooking and windier situations, but flat beds are still a favourite, wood pellet smokers and rotisserie grills are gaining traction with BBQ aficionados.
The typical sausage hotdog and burger in a bun is still enjoyed but as outdoor chefs get more ambitious and sophisticated recipe suggestions multiply. Cuts of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey and seafood are all spiced up or marinated before being laid over the flames, the cooking fashion of “lo n slo” seems to be the new way to go. Vegetarians find that roasted asparagus, vegetable kebabs, sweet corn on the cob and grilled haloumi cheese or tofu are equally delicious. Celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Nathan Outlaw offer ideas for salsa and salad accompaniments.
Then there is the Mongolian Barbeque, actually nothing to do with Mongolia but more of outdoor stir fry where shredded vegetables and meat of each individual’s choice are cooked together in a large flat pan. Invented by Wu Zhaonan, a refugee from Beijing who opened a street food stall in Taipei, that he was not able to call the Beijing Barbeque due to political correctness around the 20 year war between the KMT and the CPC. Wu became a successful comedian, but his Mongolian Barbeque took on a popular life of its own, and is now being prepared in homes and gardens in the UK.