Firestarters! From luxury grills to petrol station charcoal burners – the best of the barbecue world...

1/ The one that your dad would turn his nose up at

Memphis Retro 2 Burner

The macho edge has been taken off by it being gas-powered, but this looks the part and has built-in speakers for your MP3 player – so no more extension cables draped around the lawn like tripwires. The Memphis theme is fitting too, as you’ll look like white-trash when buying the required gas cylinders.

Gimme: £182;


2/ The one for students


Woolworths Party Disposable Grill

Pretty much the same as every other disposable BBQ out there, but a bit cheaper and includes the word “party”. Let the good times roll. The coal lasts for around 2 hours, plus you can leave it in the garden as a birdbath during winter. And you undoubtedly will.

Gimme: £1.99;


3/ The one Ross Kemp probably uses


Rumo 16-inch Smokin’ Joe’s Chuckwagon

A bit like Stephenson’s Rocket but with added sausage-space, the Rumo boasts five cooking racks in the vertical chamber… and huge steel wheels for that post-prandial rally round the garden.

Gimme: £2,350;


4/ The one that just looks cool


Notebook Grill

Precious few extras, but at this price, there’s no room for complaints. It folds up flat, so it’s easy to carry to the beach/park/prison exercise yard, and looks-wise beats anyone else’s BBQ. Which should counteract the “muscle body” apron.

Gimme: £20;


The Burger Alternatives. Don’t like beef? Weirdo. But Tom Pemberton has other options...


“One of my favourites. The grill transforms the fish’s skin into a layer of smokey, crisp and slightly fatty deliciousness. Better still? It’s healthy, cheap and, unlike a lot of fish today, abundant.”



“Nothing more impressively unusual than this tiny chicken thing. You need to ‘spatchcock’ the bird by cutting down either side of the backbone and flattening out with the palm of the hand. Marinate overnight with oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme and lemon peel, then grill. Tasty as hell.”



“Buy a leg and cut the flesh where it’s closest to the bone from bottom to top. Work closely round the bone, ending up with a flat piece of meat. Marinate overnight in yoghurt, powdered cumin, coriander seed and crushed garlic. Then cook until it’s slightly pink in the middle.”


How to tap a beer keg

Rubber tubing and a sturdy valve – your ticket to summer madness

Step 1

An 88-pint keg starts at around £98 (see You’ll need to stand it on a stable, even surface for up to two hours to “settle” before tapping. Otherwise: whoosh.


Step 2

Remove the dust cover from the keg and make sure the tap is in the “off” position. Insert the tap into the keg opening, align the notches and push the tap in – but do not lower the lever.


Step 3

Turn the tap clockwise until it locks. Now rotate the on/off valve hand a quarter- turn clockwise to open the beer and CO2 ports in the keg. The keg is now tapped – so go insane… now.


‘Mmmm. Tastes like… your skin’. Dealing with the inevitable burns of barbecuing

1) All third-degree burns need to be seen by a professional. But while waiting for someone to drive you to A&E, put the burnt area under cold running water.

2) Keep it under water for at least an hour – or longer if the pain hasn’t stopped. Get a tetanus jab if you haven’t had one in the last ten years.

3) Do not lance blisters – or apply any ointment. Keep the burn clean, but leave any clothing alone if it has stuck to the wound.

‘My rat needs a few more minutes’. The strangest beef alternatives barbecued by our idiot foreign cousins

Squirrel (USA)

Beth Ditto is clearly a girl who knows her food, so how could she be wrong about munching furry squirrels? You cook the entire body after cleaning and skinning, then crack the skull open and dig out the brain.


Hedgehog (Europe)

Eaten in Africa and parts of Europe – including by East Anglian gypsies, legend has it – the hedgehog is rolled in clay and baked in a fire. The hardened clay is then removed, which pulls the spines out along with it.


Coypu (South America)

These semi-aquatic rodents from South America are cooked after their fur is removed for clothing. It’s lean, although probably not that tasty – all previous attempts to sell the meat commercially have failed.


Bat (Indonesia)

Cooked over BBQs in markets, they have a smoky flavour and chewy texture like jerky. Be warned, though: they may also have carried the SARS virus. Still: a conversational hors d’oeuvre, no?


Moths (Australia)

Aborigines cook them in hot ashes to burn off the wings and legs. They’re then sieved to get rid of the ash and the heads, and ground into a paste to eat on bread. Mmmm... fluttery.