Written on: 26/09/2012 by CarlRose (1 review written)
We managed for several years with a portable gas barbeque that still does sterling service for days out in the car. We decided three summers ago however, that we needed to invest in a 'proper' charcoal barbeque, and went to the Grosvenor Garden Centre near Chester, as although generally a bit expensive, they could be relied upon to have a good choice in stock. The cynic in me thought I might have a poke and prod at the display models and then come away to find a better deal online.
A couple of things became very clear - there are some very shoddily assembled barbeques available for big money, and only one or two products show any evidence that they have been designed carefully to do the job, rather than just follow the established crowd. The Barbeskew was huge, blue, solidly built and un-priced, which is typical of anything in any shop that catches my eye - I always end up having to ask the price!
In the event, the price asked was enough to make me reach for my wallet on the spot, and we then had to pile the kids back into the car, drive home and set out again to collect it in my wife's car, which had enough room in the back to load the new purchase. (If it matters, it wouldn't fit in a BMW 5 series saloon, but did fit in the back of a Saab 9000).
Once it was home and assembled, I filled some time reverse-researching my purchase online, and hoping that I had made a good one! What I found (among many positive reviews) was that the product had made an appearance on Dragons' Den - apparently no-one invested, but one of the Dragons bought one :) Secondly, I spotted that 'my' Barbeskew should have come with an additional conventional bbq grill fitting so that it could be used conventionally as well as by using the rotiseries. When I rang the product helpline, I spoke directly to the chap off Dragons' Den, who was charm itself and took my details to send a bbq grill to me. Fab service, and if the price I paid for my Barbeskew reflected the fact it was 'old stock' from before the bbq grill was included...well - I did ok to get the old price in combination with the new specification.
In fact, the bbq grill has been a huge benefit, because as much as I love the barbeskew features, the Barbeskew is a terrific conventional bbq too. The ability to wind the charcoals up and down relative to the food gives a chef ;) so much control - even compared to the more conventional approach where you might raise or lower the grill with the food on. Using the Barbeskew, you don't have to burn yourself or have the sausages roll off the grill onto the lawn.
I line the charcoal tray with kitchen foil before using an 'instant light' bag of charcoal and supplementing this with a handful or two of conventional briquettes once it's all flaming nicely - this is a really big charcoal tray! The foil allows a really easy clean-up once the coals have cooled - just wrap the remaining dust up in the foil and drop it into the bin.
What has become very apparent about the Barbeskew is just how robustly it is made: ours has been outdoors all year for three years now (under it's tailored cover, and in a sheltered corner of the garden, but still open to the elements) and once cleared of cobwebs, looks every bit as good as new. The blue enamel finish on the hood is really something unusual in terms of quality - I remember the owner / designer talking about how hard he had worked to ensure the very best quality enamelling was used, and as far as I can see, his efforts were justified.
Quite apart from anything else, the Barbeskew is the only way to make souvlaki that has you pining for those cheap Greek holidays so sadly now gone forever: Corfu, Kalymnos, Cyprus, Parga, Cephalonia.
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