When the weather’s fine there’s no better place to spend the afternoon or evening than in the garden with friends, family and some freshly-barbecued food.
The weather might look bleak right now but spring will come around in no time.
Get ready to enjoy the pleasures of alfresco cooking by filling up that empty patio space with some furniture and an inexpensive barbecue.
Choose your dining furniture
There’s a wide range of outdoor furniture available covering a variety of styles to suit both your taste and budget.
Some comfortable but waterproofed seating is best and wicker armchairs with padded seats are a traditional option.
Metal chairs, including cast aluminium, are robust and lightweight enough to be moved around, plus virtually no maintenance is needed.
Most garden furniture sets will come with a matching table and it’s a good idea to include a large parasol with a tilt function to ensure enough shade is provide when sitting outdoors .
Charcoal and gas barbecues
The choice of fuel required to cook with is largely a matter of personal taste although many experts claim that grilling on charcoal yields the best results.
Charcoal bbqs provide high temperatures, as much as 300°C, and will therefore cook meat fairly quickly; some practice will be needed for first timers.
If you’re also looking for that smoked flavour when cooking meat or pork then charcoal is the right option.
Gas versions are easy to clean, have better temperature control and can also heat far quicker than charcoal.
Additional points to remember
Always check out how much free space you have on the patio or garden before heading out to buy furniture and barbecue equipment.
There are plenty of differently-sized bbqs including the space-saving kettle designs and the larger portable wagons, permanent brick or half-barrel versions.
Also think of investing in some additional items such as lighting; this can include dual heater/lamps for attaching to a parasol interior or brass table top lanterns.
Some hanging plants for the patio area make a nice touch or even a free standing water feature if you really want to splash out.
There’s no need spend a huge amount of money to create an outdoors seating area and most of the equipment is generally inexpensive.
Maintenance Tips for Your Barbeque During Winter
During the summer months, you may find yourself outside most nights cooking dinner on the barbecue. But unless you live in the tropics, barbecuing in winter is not so common.
Whether it’s a single grill barbecue you’ve had for 10 years or a big double griller from a speciality retailer such as Barbeques Galore, your barbeque needs love all year round – including during winter.
Below are five tips to get you started.
1. Spick and Span
The first step to grill maintenance in winter is to give your whole barbeque a good clean before tucking it in.
Start with the grill plates, which should be given a thorough scrub down to remove all grease and food scraps.
This is best done with a stainless steel wool scrub or brush. Don’t stop at the grill though; get a cloth and wipe down the rest of the barbeque, including the inside and outside of the lid.
2. Inspect the Goods
Once your barbeque is looking shiny, give your grill the once over for any damage or parts that aren’t working, as the dormant winter season is the perfect time to get these fixed.
Inspecting your barbeque shouldn’t just be performed before you store your grill away for the winter though; you should do several check-ups throughout winter too.
By doing this, you can make sure no insects or animals have decided to take up residence.
3. Focus on Longevity
Barbeques should not be something you’re buying a new version of every couple of years just because your old one is serving up odd tasting dishes.
This can often happen when grills aren’t cleaned or maintained properly, so it is important to combat this issue now before your barbeque goes into hibernation.
The best way to stop moisture and rust build-up is to give your grill a rub with some oil.
This technique can also be done to increase longevity even if you’re using your barbeque more frequently.
4. Cover Up
Once the above steps have been followed, you are now ready to get your barbeque covered up for the cold snap.
If your barbeque didn’t come with a cover, or the one you have is simply looking too worn out, get yourself to a speciality store or outlet to find one with the specifications for your barbeque.
Make sure it’s made of a tough, durable material in order to withstand the drop in temperature – and to protect it from too many creepy crawlies getting inside.
5. Keep It Cosy
Even though you might have invested in a good-quality cover to protect your barbeque, this doesn’t guarantee complete protection from the elements.
The best way to maintain your barbeque over the winter months, particularly if you live somewhere that gets a lot of rain or snow, is to store your covered grill in a garage or shed.
If you’re one of those people that tend to let the barbeque gather cobwebs and debris during the chilly season, the above maintenance tips are just for you.
Such advice will go a long way in helping to make sure your barbeque stays in working condition throughout winter and is ready for summer.
High quality products are usually the cost-effective option as minimal maintenance will be required throughout the year and the items will provide long-term use.
Image by LorE Denizen, used under the Creative Commons license.