The intro photo was taken on Christmas day by my eldest daughter, Pip, she thought it worth capturing the moment! I have cooked the Christmas turkey on a Weber BBQ since the late 80’s. The BBQ in the image is the fifth I have owned, and with the ash collection system beneath the kettle, is, I can testify, the best yet! Behind and almost obscured is an earlier model, which had just completed cooking a duck to accompany the turkey.
The ability to free up the oven for accompaniments, is the great advantage of cooking on a BBQ, also as can be seen just in shot, is a warming glass of port, an obligatory addition to keep out the chill! For anyone unaccustomed with cooking on a bbq, the secret is to use an indirect method of heating the bird, the coals, and this only works with briquettes, should be constrained to either side of the fire bed, avoiding any direct heat beneath the bird. Also it is sensible to cover the top of the bird with foil until the last forty minutes or so, to allow the browning effect of the hot gases passing over the meat, to be golden coloured. I always prep the bird with garlic butter, between the skin and the flesh, this infuses with the meat to give a tasty flavour with a moist texture, important, as it is so easy to create a very dry roast with a turkey.
I first took up barbecuing when I lived in the Middle East in the early 1980’s, at that time I had a small Weber kettle BBQ, called a “Smokie Joe”, I recall returning to the UK in the summer of ’81 and attempting to find another Weber, which proved to be a real problem, I eventually discovered one at a garden centre in the Cotswolds, not far from my then in-laws home near Broadway. The small kettle bbq served well during the early years, but on leaving the Middle East in 1984 and returning to the UK, as the owner of two small bbq’s I elected to retire them and purchased a large version. From then on cooking over charcoal became something of a mission.
This picture of daily life at Parlington is published simply to record how things are today, perhaps if anyone is interested in the future they will get an understanding of what we do, or did, in the early twenty first century. I would love to know how the Gascoigne family enjoyed Christmas all those years ago, we can only surmise!