Outdoor Cooking And Social Networking

The first food that I ever wanted to barbecue was a chicken on the rotisserie and I haven’t ever stopped to wonder why. I guess it’s down to "the boy with a new toy" thinking in that the rotisserie spit came in the pack with the grill and a rotisserie makes to cooking process more animated. In hindsight not only is it visually appealing but it’s also not very time consuming so leaving plenty of time for a beer!

Maybe I did one too many on the aperitifs because it has to be said that my skills as an outdoor chef were certainly in need of a little refinement. I tried to light my grill with paper and wood which sent ash all over the chicken. I didn’t balance the chicken very well on the spit so one side cooked before the other. If there was a mistake to be made, I made it.

Getting that first taste of barbecue smoke was still fantastic and even after my first disastrous attempt with spit roasted BBQ chicken I was (and still am) hooked on outdoor cooking.

I gradually and tentatively progressed onto sausages and burgers learning as I went that fatty foods naturally create smoke but also can cause the flames. Even to this day I cannot understand why charcoal BBQ grill manufacturers don’t make the grill height sufficient to stop flames lapping up at the first spit of the fat. On my own barbecue that was the best I could find I’ve had to make some modifications.

For more menu ideas I then invested in a copy of Ainsley’s Barbecue Bible and this took me to higher levels even to the point where people were starting to look at what I was cooking and wondering how I’d done it. If they were lucky they even got to taste it!

Anyway, barbecuing has become a way of life for me, with more books and now the advent of the internet there are so many more free barbecue recipes and easy smoker recipes readily available. Social networking though is still my favourite way to learn and by that I’m referring to talking with fellow enthusiasts and not necessarily over the web.

I tried barbecue competition events and whilst there was a great sense of occasion and lot’s of fun, it was a little too competitive and recipes kept as closely guarded secrets. So where can you go to meet like minded people? Where can you find more barbecues, smokers and outdoor grills in one place and people sharing and having fun?

At the sports stadium!

Being a motor racing enthusiast my chosen event was Les 24 Heures Du Mans (that’s the Le Mans 24 Hour Endurance race to you and me) in France. Not only is there a mix of barbecue enthusiasts and pyromaniacs they come from all over the world so where else is there such a wealth of knowledge, experience and above all a sense of fun?

Camping by a race track with cars flying past at 150+mph, there isn’t anywhere that I’d rather be. OK so it might not appeal to everyone but the sentiment is still clear. It doesn’t have to be as exotic as Le Mans, I found a similar atmosphere with a completely different crowd down at Twickenham for the rugby cup final, everyone seriously focused on having a good time, enjoying the food, the event and the other people there. The event isn’t important, it’s the occasion and the people that make it what it is.

So in my book social networking is the answer for new ways to BBQ. For free barbecue recipes, get down to you local sports stadium and have a wander around before the ball game and the inspiration for your next barbecue menu ideas will be right in front of your eyes. This is my idea of social networking!

Bon Appetite!

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