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I love BBQ food. I currently own a gas BBQ, which I use a lot to cook chicken wings, sausages, lamb cutlets and beef skewers. It's a good BBQ but definitely not as tasty as when the meat is cooked over coals. I used to have this tiny coal BBQ which did great satay sticks with a beautiful smoky flavour, but the pain in trying to get the coals lit meant I only used it at most twice a year. I made a big fuss when I would use it as it would take all day and was just a pain that the benefits of the flavour was not enough to make me use it often. Hence I'm am over the moon with what Heat Beads have come up with. Their new Heat Beads BBQ Chimney is such a simple design but a massive game changer in my mind. As an engineer, I'm totally in love with the design and the funcationality that I'm surprised no one has done it sooner. Gone are the days where I'm lighting a newspaper and some twigs to put under the coals and then fanning it constantly to get the coals lit. Now, it's so easy to get the BBQ fuel lit. All you do is place four Heat Beads Firelighter onto the Heat Beads BBQ Chimney Booster, light the Firelighters, place the Heat Beads BBQ Chimney with BBQ Briquettes over the top, turn on the booster (it uses 4 x AA batteries) and voila, in 12 minutes, all the BBQ Briquettes are completely lit. You then just pour the Briquettes into your BBQ (a Weber Kettle BBQ in this case) and start cooking.
Just watching this short video and you will see how easy it is. You can see teh full range of Heat Beads products here.
Being the engineer that I am, I actually timed how long it took to lig the BBQ Briquettes and it was 12 minutes plus minus 10 seconds. Obviously if conditions are different (more wind for example) it may be faster or slower give or take a minute. You know when the top Briquettes turn grey, it's all ready to go. From that point, the fun starts. You now can cook a million different things on the BBQ. Depending on what the items are, you can cook over direct heat or indirect heat. I tried a mixture of both.
My first test was to start with my favourite thing, chicken wings. There is no better thin in the my mind than smoky chicken wings. All I did was take the raw chicken wings and put it into the BBQ over indirect heat. Closed the lid of the BBQ and 30 minutes later they were all done. I brushed the wings with some Louisianna Hot Sauce mixture and put them over the direct heat for a minute or so just to help the sauce become stickier. The chicken wings were simply amazing and so tender. My mum couldn't believe it as normally we cook the wings until they're a bit burnt and dry on the gas BBQ.
Next up, I tried some pork ribs. Again I cooked it over the indirect heat for about an hour before coating it in a layer of BBQ sauce and cooking over direct heat for a minute. A second layer of BBQ sauce and some more cooking resulted in really beautiful ribs. The ribs are more like a pork chop texture if you cook for an hour. If you want the meat falling off the bone, another hour to hour and a half would do the trick.
The next week, I was so enthused that I threw everything at the BBQ. Again I got the Heat Beads BBQ Chimney Booster out, loaded it with the Firelighters and lit them, loaded up the BBQ Chimney with BBQ Briquettes and turned on the chimney. Second attempt, again about 12 minutes. On this week's menu was more seafood orientated. So there was prawns (5-10 minutes on direct heat), blue swimmer crabs (I lost track of time on this one but around 30 minutes I feel on indirect heat), Chinese lup cheong (just a few minutes on direct heat), corn (forgot to time) and Vietnamese pork skewers (15-20 minutes on indirect heat and finished off for a minute or so on direct heat for a bit of charring).
The food was all so good. I'm not a big fan of prawns but these BBQ ones were smoky goodness and really juicy still. The crabs were excellent. Normally I boil the crabs and they're a bit waterlogged but these weren't at all. My favourite by far were the chicken wings, pork ribs and Vietnamese pork skewers. These really benefit from the indirect heat as they didn't dry out at all and stayed super juicy and tender. The smoky flavour also really shines through in these items and I love it so much.
Once all the cooking is well and truly done, I used the cleaning brush to scrub the BBQ metal plate while there is still heat. All the black bits come right off so easily. Then when the Briquettes have all burnt out, you can just pour them into the bin, making sure they're completely cold as you don't want to start a fire in your bin.