We love a good BBQ in this family. I grew up in a house where our weekend tradition wasn’t the Sunday Roast. Instead, in the winter, we’d have a cosy family dinner in the lounge and in the summer… we barbecued. As we’ve gotten older, that tradition has continued, giving us an excuse to make the journey to my parents house on a Sunday afternoon. We fall into our stereotypical roles; the men fight it out over the grill and us girls prep the salad that no-one ever eats before we sit and share our week over half a butcher’s shop. In my mind, BBQ = family time. There’s no television on in the background, no running between the lounge and the kitchen, it’s just us, sat cooking and eating as a family.
So when Debenhams got in touch and asked if we fancied hosting a pre-father’s day BBQ with a little help from them and their barbecue range, it felt like a match made in heaven. The bank holiday was coming up, my sister was coming home and my parents had been away for a few days… it made sense to treat them all to a family meal on us given that we wouldn’t all be back together for Father’s Day. It even gave us an excuse to wrestle Dad away from the grill. There was only one minor issue; our garden is construction central right now.
Given that they rarely turn down the opportunity to get us all together AND the fact that their garden is serious garden goals, we asked if we could ‘borrow’ their garden. Of course we could. What’s not to love about that? We turned up, BBQ in hand, trailing a mix of meats, salad leaves and baby food, clutching our Jamie Oliver utensils and promised them a relaxing pre-Father’s Day treat. I think they were pretty excited by the prospect of being waited on. Even if Dad did have to cut the lawn first.
Within minutes, our new ice cold drinks tub and serving tray from Jamie Oliver’s range had been praised by Mum. Ever the Jamie fan (aren’t we all), she managed to drop an extraordinary amount of hints as to how useful they’d be for her party next week. Well, she has a point. They are more than a little fab and having a bucket of ice cold beers on hand definitely went down well with the chef who couldn’t pass up a chance to show off his grilling prowess. Despite my protestations that it was meant to be a BBQ for him as well now that he’s a dad, he donned his ‘BBQ open’ apron, picked up his tools (yet more Jamie Oliver favourites) and set to proving himself. Well, with a little help from his grilling apprentice…
Now, when it comes to barbecues, there’s always debate about charcoal vs. gas. Do you stick to traditionalist values and spend hours tending the coals in order to get the perfect smoky taste? Or do you admit to preferring the ease of gas; supposedly sacrificing taste in favour of speed and greater control over the cook?
We’re die hard gas fans these days. We don’t have the time or patience to start the barbecue hours before we want to cook only to find that they’re too hot/cold/smoky (delete as you will…) to do your food justice. Even with gas we tend to end up with plenty of flame ups, especially when cooking fatty things like sausages. So we were pretty intrigued to try out the Char-Broil range (the Patio 240 for anyone who likes their barbecue specs) as it uses an exclusive TRU-Infrared cooking system. What does that mean for us laymen? It means it uses less gas, cooks faster and keeps food moist and juicy. Oh and it promises not to provide those flame ups that chargrill your food on the outside.
We were all a little suspicious given that we didn’t see a single flame throughout the entire grilling process. But we needn’t have been, there was plenty of sizzle accompanied by that glorious scent of summer; a heady mix of bbq and sunshine. If sunshine has a smell. Which it does to me, although that could have been the sausages.
Meanwhile, we took to all having a little test of the new Jamie Oliver BBQ tongs and spatula before declaring them a ‘nice weight’ (and if there’s a man who knows his BBQ tools, it’s my father) and waving them around like weapons (note to self: do not allow a toddler to help with these tests in future). Pleased with our efforts to help we handed them back the chef. Within no time at all, he was happy that his work here was done and a quick peak told me he’d excelled himself. There was definite pride as we sat down to a pile of food fit for twenty, let alone the five of us!
As one of our first BBQs of the season, our chat turned to near silence as we tucked in. It was truly delicious. I’m all for complimenting the chef but I’d like to think even I could offer up meat as juicy given the Char-Broil’s technology. With empty plates and full stomachs, there was just one thing left to do… lie down on the grass and let the little one go wild in the garden. Because that’s what Father’s Day is all about; good food, great company and plenty of family time.
Thanks to Debenhams for providing us with all the essentials to up our BBQ game in time for Father’s Day. If you’re interested in doing the same, you can find all the goodies over in their BBQ section. For those wanting to be in the know, we used the Char-Broil Patio 240 BBQ and the following Jamie Oliver bits; the ice cold drinks tub, the serving tray, spatula and BBQ tongs. As my mum says; ‘he does make nice stuff’. Thanks Mum.