I have always loved eating BBQ, but I never really liked cooking on the BBQ. We have always used charcoal barbecues and I never had the patience for it. I left all the barbecuing to Mike since he enjoyed it and seemed to have the patience to sit outside all day smoking a brisket or pork belly, or waiting for the charcoal to heat up to cook some burgers or chicken.
But then for Mother’s Day, Mike bought me a gas grill and everything changed. I was hesitant at first. I had so many questions: “Do I really want to use this thing?” “Will I actually use it?” I was not completely convinced that I wanted this BBQ. I love the taste of BBQ but I prefer baking over cooking. So would I use this BBQ? And would I have time to cook on a BBQ, with 5 kids doing at home learning, helping my daughter with her newborn son and keeping up with the house and the chores?
Well, the answer was (eventually): Yes!
I gave it a try and loved it. The gas grill heats up so fast and there is more even cooking. No hot spots like on a charcoal barbecue. No waiting for 30 minutes or more for coals to get hot enough. Just turn on the gas tank, open the lid, turn the burners on, close the lid and in no time the grill is heated up and ready to go.
I am now outside cooking supper almost every night. This summer has been a hot one, so I love cooking outside to avoid heating up the house. And with a side burner, I can cook rice or pasta without using the stove as well.
The gas grill came with a large cast iron griddle which is great for cooking breakfast. I have made eggs and pancakes and bacon and sausages on the grill, all without heating up the kitchen.
I find myself browsing through the BBQ aisles in the store now looking for accessories for my BBQ. I used to look for items I could buy for Mike to use, now I buy items I can use. I have invested in a rotisserie so I can make whole chickens and roasts. I bought small containers to fit on the shelf under the BBQ to store skewers, a few small cutting boards, a small chef’s knife and other items I use a lot while cooking. (I hate always having to go back in the house to carry things outside to use while cooking)
And this new grill is like an oven, which got me thinking: can I use it like an oven to bake? It keeps a constant temperature, It has a lid with a window like an oven. I hadn’t baked much this summer because of the heat, and I missed experimenting with different recipes. So could I use this BBQ to bake?
I decided to try something new to me. I whipped up a batch of S’mores cookies and heated up the barbecue to 350°F. The first batch turned out a little burnt on the bottom. So I tried indirect heat which I had used on the charcoal grill so many times. I turned off the middle burners and left only the two end burners on the sides lit. I waited for the temp to get back to 350 and put the pan in the centre of the rack. And after 15 minutes, I had a pan of perfectly baked S’mores cookies.
Since then I have baked brownies and cakes outside and then have turned out great. I have made homemade buns to serve with supper. Cooking times take a little longer sometimes than in a traditional oven, probably due to the indirect heat and the fact that the BBQ is not sealed to keep the heat in like an oven, but I enjoy my time outside and the kids enjoy the freshly baked treats. So we all win.
I never thought I would enjoy cooking outside, but now I love it. I throw on my headphones and listen to a podcast or audio book while cooking outside. Sometimes I read a magazine while waiting for supper to cook. I can read a book outside while waiting for cookies or brownies to bake. And since I am usually outside cooking by myself, it is quiet and peaceful.
So I confess, I like to barbecue and since I can bake on the barbecue, I am finding more recipes to experiment with. I am looking forward to trying new recipes and ideas as well.