There’s something exciting about cooking and eating food outside. Perhaps it channels our inner caveman?
Nowadays there’s all sorts of ways to cook outside, but we still think you can’t beat cooking on wood.
No matter what your budget or the size of your outside space – be it a London roof terrace, a suburban back garden or an acre or two in the country side – we’ve checked out some of the best woodfired BBQs out there.
Weber from Hayes Garden World
When you think of barbeques, Weber is a name that instantly springs to mind. They date back to the fifties when George Stephen Sr. was working at Weber Brothers Metal Works in Chicago, Illinois, manufacturing marine buoys when he came up with an idea for creating a better grill.
His invention: a dome-shaped grill with a lid to protect food from the elements, while sealing in that only-from-the-grill barbecue flavour.
He cut a buoy in half, added some air vents and legs and, in the process, invented the grill that would spark a BBQ revolution.
Our favourite is the Compact Kettle BBQ from Hayes Garden World which, at 57cm is big enough to deal with a BBQ for 8, but also means it can fit in the back of a car if you want to cook at the beach or somewhere more rural. That said, Hayes Garden World also sells just about everything you need to create a haven in your garden, so why would you want to go anywhere else?
The Weber Compact BBQ 57cm costs £79.99, making it excellent value for families.
If you want a statement piece for your garden, then take a look at Firepits UK. British made by skilled craftsmen, the robustness and quality of their fire pits is hard to beat. They’ve also come up with a great range of accessories to use with their fire pits such as a BBQ half-rack, enabling people to have the benefit of the fire whilst using the other side for cooking. There’s also a wonderful marshmallow toasting fork that turns Smores into performance art.
Firepits UK also import a wide selection of amazing Indian Fire bowls, some that have been crafted from recycled materials and others that are made from new.
If you’re looking for something for the weekend, you need to bear in mind that these are craftsmen who make items to order so you’ll need to give them plenty of time. Their range is not the cheapest, but you can be certain they’ll last a lifetime and provide a focal point to your garden.
We love the look of the Fire Pit Pizza Pit 70, which, as the name suggests, also allows you to cook wood-fired pizzas as well as a sizeable BBQ on top. If you want to bake potatoes instead of making pizza, it works just as well for that.
Made from steel, the Pizza Pit comes with a pizza stone and cutter and a 28” diameter grill pan to cook your burgers, kebabs or whatever takes your fancy. It costs £480 plus delivery – take a look at the entire range at Firepits UK website.
The Garden Oven Company
If you’re somewhat of a garden gourmet who takes BBQing very seriously, then this is the grand-daddy of outdoor cooking. It looks like something from a bygone era and can even cope with the Sunday roast – pudding too!
Described as the ultimate in wood fired oven BBQs, the ovens are environmentally-friendly, British-made to impart that all important smokey BBQ taste.
The oven can be used for all year round to cook, bake, grill, roast and smoke a wide range of dishes from pizzas to fish and it bakes bread too!
Designed by entrepreneur Jay Larson, his aim was to create something that can be used in the unpredictable the British weather. It’s also very efficient thanks to its firebrick lining that stores the heat and insulates at the same time it so it stays warm for longer. Think BBQ and patio warmer!
You simply light the fire in the bottom section and cook on top.
Jay is an advocate of wood fired cooking saying:
‘Wood fired cooking is just better. It was the first fuel man used to cook with and a wood fire imparts great flavours. It is carbon neutral too so greener, cleaner, and tastier all round!’
The original oven costs £599, which includes the firebrick lined steel oven, damper, thermometer, wooden handles, flue with rain cap, baking stones, grill and a slide out oven rack. It takes minutes to assemble and get to temperature.
Take a look at the oven and the various accessories here.