Weber Kettle Barbecue
Weber and others
Weber Original Kettle Barbecue (57cm)
The original and still the best
I feel that I have put the cart before the horse. Some time ago I wrote about a really useful tool for lighting a barbecue, the Weber Chimney Starter. I realise that whilst I told you how to light the barbecue, I omitted to tell you about the barbecue itself - the Weber Kettle Barbecue. And I know that I usually try and feature things that are new or unusual, when this was launched back in 1952, but it has led the way for charcoal barbecues and deserves to be featured in its own right. In this case the somewhat over-used word, iconic, is truly deserving.
Its success lies in the design. By covering the food while grilling, the food is cooked at an even temperature reducing the cause of flare-ups and the burnt outside - raw inside that too often occurs. It also allows you to cook in bad weather and reduces any fire risks. Additionally, it allows you to cook over direct heat for burgers, steaks, chops, sausages, and kebabs and also indirect heat for larger cuts of meat like chicken, ribs and roasts. This indirect method is when the charcoal is set on either side of the food, the heat then rises and is reflected off the lid and inside surfaces of the grill and slowly cooks the food on all sides – in much the same way as a convection oven. But with all the charcoal flavour.
Weber barbecues have evolved from the simplest kettle barbecue to the most sophisticated gas barbecue grilling stations and their array of products is somewhat bewildering. I still prefer the original Kettle charcoal barbecue and that is what I recommend. It is tough, being made of premium grade steel with a porcelain coating, which means it will last for years. It has a brilliant ash catcher underneath which is easy to empty and now comes with a lid thermometer so you can check the temperature without opening the lid. Although classified as a beginner barbecue I have not felt the need to progress any further! And I am truly in the camp of charcoal barbecues.
There are other more expensive charcoal barbecues from Weber: the Premium has an enclosed ash catcher underneath which probably does help if it is windy. The Master Touch version has a central grill which can be taken out and replaced with 5 interchangeable accessories: a wok; a sear grate; a griddle; a pizza stone or a poultry roaster. But for just plain barbecuing stick to the Original and go for the 57cm version if you want to cook for a crowd.
Weber also do a great range of accessories like the chimney starter; a waterproof cover if you are leaving it outside; the briquettes obviously; lighter cubes; a cleaning set; a cleaning brush, gloves (essential), and lots of tools for gripping and turning. Browse through these before you order.
And before the summer is over look at the M&S Grill range for dishes like Best Ever Burgers with a topping, Thai Style Pork Kebabs, Korean Flatiron Steak, and lots of vegetarian cheese options like Halloumi Burgers and Halloumi Kebabs with chilli or pesto. But stick to the true barbecue dishes – for some reason M&S has included in this range dishes more suitable for the oven like Indian Spiced Lamb Shoulder and Smoked Pork Belly.
I think the barbecue works best with simple charcoal grilled food but do use some of Delia’s salsa recipes to bring out their flavour – avocado with barbecued salmon, or Mexican tomato again with grilled fish, or toasted sweetcorn, or salsa verde.
Keep summer alive
Weber Original Kettle Barbecue
57cm (some self-assembly required)
£150 - £179 depending on current offers
M&S Grill Range
Check stock is available before visiting your local store, to avoid a wasted journey.
Availability and price as at 31st July 2019