The sun is out, we've had some beautiful weather for the first time this year and being typically British, this means it must be time for the first BBQ of the year!!
Every year I can't wait to get the BBQ out and every year I have to deal with spending more time than I imagined cleaning the grill after every use and all of the areas where grease has somehow seeped through little cracks and crevices around the edges, underneath, round the back and on the underside of the lid. Although I know I like things super clean compared to others, but I think when you're dealing with cooking food then it needs to be.
Last year though we discovered a new way to BBQ that not only saves time on the cleaning up, but has revolutionised the way we BBQ! When on holiday in France last May, we discovered the outdoor BBQ called a 'Plancha'. Very popular in countries like Australia and South Africa now. The best way to describe it is a very large hot plate and griddle heated by gas flames underneath. You can cook literally anything on it that you would want for a BBQ and the best bit is that it only takes 5 mins to clean after every use!
The reason being that it is one large hot plate that just needs to be wiped over once you've finished using it. The plate is slightly angled downwards so that all of the grease travels down into a hole through the hot plate as you're cooking and collects into a small drawer underneath. After cooking you just take out the drawer, empty out the grease and give it a quick clean or pop it in the dishwasher. Job done.
With such a quick cleaning process, it means I feel it takes minimal effort to use and maintain, therefore we tend to have BBQ's throughout the summer much more often. Before, we perhaps just used to have BBQ's at the weekend when I had more time (and patience!) for cleaning it all up after usage. Now when the weather is consistently good, we might have a BBQ most nights and enjoy eating out in the garden enjoying the best that British weather has to offer us.
If you're a fan of charcoal BBQ's over the gas ones because you prefer the charred flavour, then I agree that something like the plancha isn't going to give you that. However, one other advantage of the plancha is that we find it retains the moisture a lot better than charcoal BBQ's and both meat and veg can be a lot more succulent.
If you're thinking about getting a new BBQ this year and want to BBQ more often and save time with the cleaning process afterwards, then I highly recommend looking at outdoor hot plates like the plancha. You can buy them easily over here now, some at very reasonable prices and no setting up or putting together like a normal BBQ. Just pop the hot plate on top of the main unit, attach the gas and away you go!
Whatever you decide to do this year, there's one thing you must not do....don't forget the marshmallows!!