The rise of the Outdoor Kitchen

There is a barbecuing craze sweeping across the UK this summer and strangely enough it seems to be happening in spite of the changeable weather we experience. Although we regularly see record highs and lows in temperature, the British climate has not suddenly changed to that similar of our Mediterranean friends. So, why the outdoor cooking boom?

The outdoor kitchen with braai!
The outdoor kitchen with braai!

It’s a shift in culture which has driven our rapid embrace of the outdoor lifestyle, and furthermore outdoor cooking. This is in part due to the recession when many of us looked to take our holidays at home rather than abroad. This has lead to the Great British public looking to make their garden, deck or patio areas into an extension of their kitchen and living spaces and hence be a more enjoyable place to be in.

Sales of barbecues have risen four-fold since 2013 but not only that, sales of large barbecues (by that I mean those costing over £500) are up 300% over the same timeframe. People are investing more money and effort than ever into making the complete ‘al fresco’ dining, cooking and entertaining area.

So, whether it’s a holiday cottage in the West Country or a family home in the centre of Edinburgh, what are the important features to consider when creating the perfect outdoor cooking area?

The Barbecue

(0.8 metres wide)

It is an adoption of another country’s culture which dominates these must have’s for your outdoor kitchen; South Africa. To South Africans, a Braai (Afrikaans word for barbecue) is a daily occurrence and a cause for celebration and socialising with family and friends. That being said, if something is a way of life then you had better make sure you have the best tools for the job. The Braai Man, based in the West Country, provides such a tool. His built-in Braai’s (pictured) encompass all the amateur cook’s needs in one unit, giving the user the ability to grill, broil, slow roast, smoke meats and fish and bake pizzas and breads. The Braai is also an elegant and stylish design feature when built into a chimney stack or wall.

The fuel – Hard wood

Mopane - South African hardwood
Mopane – South African hardwood

As anyone who takes their barbecuing seriously will tell you, barbecuing on gas is likened to cooking your Christmas turkey in the microwave. There is an art to cooking over wood-fired embers or charcoal and the flavours which are produced from different woods are a revelation. Braai Wood UK are one such company dedicated to providing unique wood types for barbecue and Braai enthusiasts alike.

The Shelter

traditional lapa structure
traditional lapa structure

As we are all too aware, the weather isn’t always on our side when it comes around to barbecue season here on our little island, so a shelter for your garden kitchen is pretty important. Sticking with the South African Braai theme, The Lapa Company create authentic thatched shelters whose origin comes from, you guessed it, South Africa. Beautifully designed and bespoke made Lapas are popping up all over Britain.So the UK has gone barbecue mad it seems and as if you needed anymore encouragement to get involved there is a reality cooking programme airing on ITV called ‘BBQ Champ’.

Barbecue with brawn!

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