BARBEQUE TIPS FROM BRITAIN’S TOP BARBEQUERS
SUMMER finally seems to be on its way, and before long we
will be eating “al fresco” again. Last year’s barbeques will
be dug out of the shed and cleaned up, or we’ll make a special trip
to the nearest DIY superstore or garden centre for a replacement and
then the neighbourhood will be scented with the aroma of delicious
barbequed food………or will it?
Unfortunately, more often than not, barbeques in the UK are
associated with burnt, charred food which is still slightly raw on
As the only non-Americans ever to win the World Barbeque
Championship Jackie and Rick Weight from Kent are well qualified to
provide advice on how to barbeque food properly. We’ve got
together with the Weights, who now run the American BBQ Co in the
UK, to offer you some sound advice before you venture outside this
To BBQ or not to BBQ? That is the question!
Believe it or not, the weather shouldn’t be crucial to barbequing.
If you plan to invite friends over for a barbeque, try to choose a
spot to position the actual barbeque where it is slightly sheltered.
Our trans-Atlantic cousins tend to barbeque all year long – if the
worst comes to the worst, just cook outside and then bring the food
in to eat. Remember, barbequing is not about weather, it’s about
Joint or portions?
For some strange reason, we seem to think that a barbeque should be
a massive “meat-fest” resulting in our eating far more meat at one
sitting than we would normally do.
For a change, try cooking one large piece of meat, or a joint, on
the barbeque instead of lots of different meats. Ask the butcher to
bone a leg or shoulder of pork, beef or lamb, which you can marinate
and cook slower than you would normally barbeque it.
Ring the changes with vegetables
Then, when it is nearly ready, add a selection of fresh vegetables
to the grill – onions, mushrooms, courgettes, aubergine, and of
course peppers are all far tastier cooked this way. For speed, try
putting smaller pieces onto skewers.
Experiment by cooking sweet potatoes in their jackets on the
barbeque – once cooked, split open and pop a knob of garlic or
chilli butter inside…… yummy!
The feast doesn’t stop after the main course –different fruits can
be cooked on the barbeque – bananas for example, split along the top
and cooked in their skins, topped with a slug of rum and cream just
before serving. Better still slice a pineapple and pop this onto the
grill – sprinkle with a hint of mixed spice or nutmeg and then serve
with vanilla ice cream for a really unusual dessert – better still
add a slug of maple syrup before the ice cream!
A question of Fuel
Many of us now have gas barbeques to save having to wait for the
charcoal to reach the optimum heat for cooking. Some people even
light their charcoal with fire lighters and other chemicals to
hasten things…..have you stopped to think what all this could be
doing to our health? Gas tends to taint our food, and the mind
boggles when you think about the way some people put chemicals on
the coals and then cook their food over the fumes.
The latest big trend in the States is for wood pellet smokers –
unlike conventional barbeques they cook with indirect heat, so there
is no chance of a flare up. Another bonus is that you can ring the
changes with flavour by cooking on different types of wood – apple
for pork, cherry for duck or good old mesquite for that really
delicate smoky flavour. Add to this the fact that the wood is
natural and there are no nasty chemicals and you can see why it is
becoming popular. This type of barbeque is becoming more popular in
the UK now as people discover them in the States – look out for them
at county shows or via the internet.
Are barbeques bad for us?
Burnt food is known to be bad for one’s health. Cooking meat at high
temperatures for long periods produces chemicals called heterocyclic
amines (HCAs). These can damage DNA and cause changes, which in turn
increase your risk of cancer. The general advice is that when
cooking meat, take the following advice:
* Always cook using indirect heat (the food should never be placed
directly above the heat source) thereby preventing flare-ups and
resultant ‘blackened’ food
* Marinade meat wherever
possible as this tends to reduce the formation of HCA’s
* Where possible cook ‘low and slow’
i.e. low temperature for longer periods of time
In the USA, the National Cancer Institute recommends indirect
cooking systems, because they produce less benzopyrene.
I can’t afford a new barbeque – can I adapt my existing one?
Yes, most barbeques can be made safer by changing the way you cook
on it and using indirect heat. For example, if your bbq has a lid,
push the fire to the sides of the cooker and place the meat over a
foil drip tray. Closing the lid will now create a ‘convection’
cooker, where the fat cannot fall onto the heat source and catch
fire. Many people believe that the lid is just there to cover the
barbeque when not in use – far from it, by closing the lid you can
use the fuel far more efficiently and the heat surrounds the food
rather than just charring it underneath. Some barbeques now have a
flat plate – sometimes with small holes or a trough to let the fat
run away – as long as the fat doesn’t fall onto the hot coals, this
is far healthier.
If you want to experiment with cooking larger, cheaper joints of
meat such as brisket or shoulder of pork on the barbeque, they will
benefit tremendously from longer, slower cooking over indirect heat.
In America, in the Deep South where barbeques are the preferred way
of cooking, it isn’t unusual to cook the food for hours on end to
ensure the most tender and tasty results.
So, to sum up, enjoy cooking outside this summer. Consider your
barbeque as an extra oven rather than something that is just used to
flash cook (or char) the odd chicken piece or sausage. Well-cooked
barbequed food is one of life’s true pleasures – just treat your
barbeque with respect and don’t try to rush things.
Jackie and Rick Weight can be contacted by visiting
www.americanbbq.co.uk where there is also a Barbeque
Forum where you can chat with other barbeque fans.
Southport & Ormskirk Hospital Financial recovery plan update
ON THURSDAY the 11 May 2006, Managers at the Trust started a
series of briefing sessions with all staff to explain that the Trust
is inviting expressions of interest from staff who may wish to
consider Voluntary Early Retirement or Voluntary Redundancy.
The Trust is facing a very challenging year in which it must make
savings of £10million. A Recovery Plan has been agreed which will
deliver at least £4million and this has already started. It includes
a range of actions including a vacancy freeze, marketing of the
Trust's services to generate additional income and purchasing
savings. We anticipate the vacancy freeze will realise a saving of
approximately 100 posts.
However, in order to help to achieve the remaining £6million the
Trust is reviewing its staffing structures and roles, and the first
part of this exercise is to offer Voluntary Early Retirements and
Voluntary Redundancies. Ward based nursing staff however are
excluded from the invitation to express interest.
Jonathan Parry, Chief Executive said:- "Staff have been given
a deadline by which they must register their interest, after that
they will receive additional information to help them make a
decision. Expressing an interest does not commit anyone to
proceeding any further and any decision to proceed would be entirely
voluntary. Whilst we clearly will have to wait and see what
level of interest there is in these voluntary arrangements which
will add to the posts already frozen, we do not believe that there
will be sufficient numbers to achieve the required reduction of a
minimum 200 posts. We have therefore met with Trade Union Officials
to start a process of consultation to try and avoid compulsory
redundancies and whilst all action will be taken to avoid them they
cannot be ruled out. I want to stress that if compulsory
redundancies are necessary, ward based nursing staff would be
excluded. Our staff will be kept fully informed of
developments over the coming weeks."
you our readers think about this? Email us TODAY!
PEOPLE from Liverpool are being urged to foster local
children. An advertising and marketing campaign is underway
during Foster Care Fortnight to find homes for scores of youngsters
who are waiting to be placed.
Fostering involves looking after someone else's child because their
parents or carers can no longer care for them. They range in age
from babies to teenagers.
Executive member for Children's Services, Paul Clein, said:-
"For many years, Liverpool had a policy of placing youngsters in
children's homes - some of them a considerable distance from the
city. Thankfully, those days are gone, and we are now
committed to finding placements for children locally, where they can
retain contact with family and friends. But that presents a real
challenge because we need to find scores of placements every year."
Some placements are permanent, others temporary and some very short
term - perhaps just a matter of days. There's a particular
need for permanent carers for boys aged 5-12, teenagers, brothers
and sisters and ethnic minority youngsters.
Interim Executive Director of Children's Services, Stuart Smith,
said:- "Good foster carers are special people. Their age and
marital status is not important. What does matter is that they are
able to provide a loving environment for a child. It can give
a tremendous sense of achievement and of doing something that has a
real benefit for future generations. Children thrive and develop in
families and we know people in Liverpool have a lot to offer.
We are committed to offering as much support and help for foster
carers as we possibly can. That includes round the clock access to
support and advice, training, financial allowances and the equipment
needed to look after children."
People interested in finding out more about fostering can call the
recruitment team on 0151 233 3700 or visit
* You don't have to be married to become a foster carer
* Single people are eligible
* There is no upper age limit - but you do have to be over 21 and in
* Every foster home is given access to a PC
* People carriers may be available for foster carers with several
* Realistic financial allowance that meets the additional cost of
the child to your home
* Dedicated support from a trained family support worker with full
advice and guidance
day at a top workplace
TEENAGERS in Merseyside could win a day at the Houses of
Parliament, at a major UK film studio or in the ITN studios by
entering a national competition.
‘Speak Up’ asks young people aged 14 to 19 to devise a
communications campaign to inform their peers about what they should
do when they first start work. Young people can win the latest
hi-tech gadgets, as well as a day’s work experience at one of the
UK’s most sought after workplaces. The competition aims to get
young workers to speak out about health and safety concerns they
have, ask questions and get the right training before using heavy
machinery or equipment.
In devising the campaign, entrants can use an A6 postcard, an
outdoor poster, a full page newspaper advert or a website banner ad.
Young people can enter as an individual, or in groups of up to 4.
The competition is being organised by the Institution of
Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). Chairman of the IOSH
Merseyside Branch, Lisa Fowlie, said:- “I hope that young
people in Merseyside will take part in this competition – it’s their
chance to win some great prizes and help warn other youngsters in
our area of the risks that can exist at work.”
IOSH President, Neil Budworth, added:- “Young workers are 50
per cent more likely to have an accident than more experienced
colleagues. That’s why they need extra attention and care.
Young people are our future – and too many of them are not getting
the opportunity to fulfil their potential. I hope our Speak Up
competition helps to keep the workers of today and tomorrow safe.”
More information about Speak Up is available on
www.wiseup2work.co.uk. This site contains a
number of activities, including games and a resource zone for
teachers, youth workers and employers to use. The site is also
sponsored by the Learning and Skills Council.
All Speak Up entries must be received by Friday 22 September and be
sent to IOSH, The Grange, Highfield Drive, Wigston, Leicestershire
LE18 1NN. Remember to include your name(s), address, contact
numbers, the name of your campaign and the medium you have chosen to