Best BBQ equipment and ideas

British people getting out the barbecue at the first sign of blue sky has spawned many hashtags on social media, demonstrating just how much we love to grill in the garden – whatever the weather throws at us!

June’s mini heatwave may be behind us, and the rain of the last few weeks isn’t helping, but brighter days are on the horizon and so it could be time to up your barbecue game and invest in some new kit whilst not contributing to your carbon footprint.

Environmental considerations
Barbecuing, much as we enjoy it, is not very environmentally friendly, so why not improve your carbon footprint and generate energy at the same time?  A Biolite firepit or camping stove does just that. Using an internal thermoelectric generator, the stove converts heat into usable electricity and uses it to power an internal fan for hyper-efficient combustion. Surplus energy is stored in an internal battery so you can access energy when you need it. 

Is it possible to barbecue and reduce your carbon footprint? Thinking about how you light your barbecue means moving away from pretoleum-based fluids as well as self lighting charcoal. There are several electric charcoal starters on the market, as well as charcoal chimneys. Making a choice to use natural charcoals made from waste wood means you'll do away with burning fuel full of additives, making it a green choice and reducing your pollution. Obviously, you can switch to a gas powered barbecue as this is the cleanest fuel to use, especially if you choose natural gas. 

You can make a dent in your carbon footprint simply by reducing the time you preheat your barbecue and by planning your cooking times, and cleaning your grill regularly reduces the chance of bits of last week's barbecue emitting smoke.

And for the main course
Time was, having a barbecue was pretty much all you needed, but today there are a million and one accessories to make your barbecuing skills even better! Here are some of the most innovative that you might want to try:

Grillbot Automatic Grill Cleaning Robot
The real downside of barbecuing is cleaning it afterwards. Especially as the longer you leave it the worse it gets and you also know that if not done properly everything is far more likely to stick next time. The Grillbot makes this a thing of the past – pop the robot directly on the grill, even if hot, and it will set about getting it clean as a whistle again. Set the times to let you know when its done, pop the brushes in the dishwasher – job done!

Proud Grill Company Connect It Magnetic BBQ Tool Set
This stylish and clever set has multiple uses, thanks to an integrated magnetic docking system which lets the components morph from a pair of tongs to a single spatula and fork in an instant. From serving salad to dishing out cuts of meat, their stainless steel construction has you covered. The built-in magnets come in very handy for storage too, since most barbecues are metal so stowing is easy!

Rolling vegetable baskets
These stainless-steel rolling veggie baskets are the perfect example of a great gadget done simply. They grill your veggies evenly and save time and effort by eliminating the need to turn food by hand.

The Barbecook® Kebab Rack
Constructed from stainless-steel, this simple yet ingenious support for your kebabs mean they don’t roll, bits don’t fall into the charcoal and they cook evenly, as well as making it easy to prepare in advance. 

These are just a few of the many gadgets on the market this summer. Other ideas include heatproof gloves, pork shredders, meat probes, smoking kits and chimney starters - the list is endless! 

Find out a little more about the array of accessories you might need: and there’s a great Good Housekeeping article on the tools for the job.

The pièce de resistance!
Once you’ve bought your barbecue and equipment, you’ll need to decide what to cook! Whilst the old favourites will always have a place on the BBQ why not try some new ways to feed the hoards?

South African Beer Can Chicken 
This method of cooking adds wonderful flavours to a barbecued chicken. You can buy special devices to keep your chicken upright, but these are not required – just open a can of beer and pop it inside the cavity of the whole chicken, placing it in an upright, or almost upright position in a kettle barbecue. Try different ales for different flavours!

Japanese Grilled Cabbage
Banish thoughts of mushy cabbage – barbecuing preserves all its texture whilst adding smoky depth. Adding miso butter and sesame to this cabbage is sure to impress next time you have hungry mouths to feed.

French BBQ fruit
The French love to barbecue their fruit, especially peaches, which they serve as both starters and desserts. The benefit of grilling fruit is that it softens and caramelises, so always use slightly less ripe specimens. When grilling citrus, spread with sugar first to aid cooking and sweeten. Always cut large slices of such things as melons and pineapples as they soften quickly on the grill and can collapse.  

Lastly, the other essential of a good barbecue is what you quaff! Given that barbecues tend to happen in the sun, long drinks both rehydrate, cool and refresh and here are a selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic ones that you may not have tried:

Strawberry Lemonade – a great use for the glut of strawberries that tends to get thrown out when they look less than pristine!

Easy Iced Tea – with a subtle tea flavour with oranges, lemons and mint, it’s a super refreshing alcohol-free party drink.

Apple and Cucumber G&T - move beyond ordinary gin and tonics with this cocktail that tastes like summer in a bottle.

Pineapple Rosé Sangria - even if you don’t love traditional sangria, you are going to love this! For more fizz, you can also add some sparkling wine or champagne.