Noodlies, Sydney food blog contributor, Evie Chataway, finds out whether creating an authentic BBQ in 12 minutes is really possible.
Last weekend I had the chance to try out Heat Beads® which claimed to create an authentic BBQ in just 12 minutes. Sounded like a tall order to me so I was keen to see whether the product would live up to the hype. And would I be able to tell the difference between cooking over coals as opposed to a gas BBQ?
Originally from London, my husband and I have been here in Australia for three years now, and as Poms, one of the first things we bought when we arrived was a BBQ for the garden. However, being Poms we had opted for a gas powered model.
Childhood memories of burned charred sausages which were raw in the middle had scarred me, so going for a kettle BBQ seemed too daunting.
The other memory I had was waiting forever for BBQ briquettes to heat up. Bear in mind that back in Blighty, waiting an hour for your BBQ to heat up can guarantee that it will tip down with rain after thirty minutes. In short, cooking over coals seemed to be too much hassle.
The first test was to see if using the Heat Beads® system would heat the briquettes to be BBQ ready in just 12 minutes. My long suffering husband was bullied early on a Sunday morning to put together our newly acquired kettle BBQ. Just as he was finished, and our beautiful BBQ was wheeled in all its glory onto the patio, the rain began. We wheeled it back inside and waited.
We knew there was due to be a lull in the rain, and on the basis that Heat Beads® could heat up in just 12 minutes we wanted to go ahead with the barbie feast we had planned. And thanks to the Heat Beads® BBQ Chimney Booster we weren’t let down.
To get your Heat Beads® BBQ briquettes to a hot temperature in 12 minutes, you need firelighters and then two special pieces of kit:
• the Heat Beads® BBQ chimney and;
• the Heat Beads® Chimney Booster.
The Heat Beads® BBQ Chimney Booster is a simple but clever piece of design. You insert batteries into the base, then put four firelighters on the firelighter plate and light them. Once that is done you place the BBQ Chimney filled with Heat Beads® briquettes on top of the Chimney Booster. Hit the ‘on’ switch and away you go. You just have to wait 12 minutes now.
The manual suggests throwing together a salad in that time or perhaps having a glass of wine. But if like me you don’t get out much you’re going to be pretty entranced watching the thing get hot. It was amazing just how effective it was.
The Chimney Booster basically acts as a fan and helps the fuel in the BBQ Chimney to heat really quickly. The BBQ Chimney started to flame in a rather impressive way (you may think I’m easily pleased but try it for yourself before you mock, it is pretty cool), and after 12 minutes, as promised, ash was coming off the Heat Beads® Briquettes and they were ready to go.
Using oven gloves, you can simply lift the BBQ Chimney full of the heated briquettes off the Chimney Booster and add the briquettes into the bottom of the kettle BBQ.
There’s one really important thing I should probably highlight here. For the love of God make sure you have some good oven gloves. You can’t use a couple of tea towels, you need some good quality oven gloves to move that BBQ Chimney as it will reach temperatures of up to 200 degrees!
Just from the images we took you can see how clever this piece of kit is, and how hot the briquettes got in just 12 minutes. If you want to see it demonstrated check out the video below, this is exactly how it worked for us when we tried it out.
So the first part of the product trial was complete and passed with flying colours.
We had hot coals in our BBQ, ready for us to cook our lush looking meat. The next big test was whether we would get that true Aussie BBQ taste and whether it would beat our usual gas BBQ cooking method.
First up to help us decide this were some truly amazing rib eye steaks. These steaks were huge, 4.5 cm thick to be precise, and with the bone left in there was a definite Fred Flintstone feel to our BBQ.
I knew they were impressive when our Aussie guests made a big deal out of them, and I was therefore keen to not heavily flavour the meat as it was such high quality.
I wanted to taste the authentic BBQ taste of a great quality steak cooked over coals. So to cook them we rubbed the steak with olive oil and sprinkled some salt and pepper on them before cooking with direct heat on the grill.
I knew that once done we might want some sauce with the steak but there was no way a bottle of ketchup would be acceptable with such a beautiful cut of meat. So, as a side flavouring, we decided to go Argentinian with some delicious homemade chimichurri.
Recipe for chimichurri
1 cup of flat leaf parsley
¼ cup of oregano leaves
2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 small shallot chopped (or ½ small onion)
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon Black pepper to taste
If you have a blender then this couldn’t be simpler. Simply add all the ingredients to the blender and blitz until chopped but not pureed. Alternatively, if you don’t have a blender, crush the garlic, dice the onion, and add to a bowl, then chop the herbs finely with a knife. Add those to the bowl along with all the other ingredients except the oil. Finally dribble in the oil and mix together with a fork.
It will be coarser if using the manual method, but my husband prefers the end result as he feels you can taste the flavours better. I, on the other hand, prefer the convenience of using my mini blender, and that’s the method I used to produce the chimichurri pictured above.
So how did the steaks fair on the BBQ and was it better than using the gas BBQ? The answer was a resounding yes. The steak was undeniably a great piece of meat, but it was greatly enhanced by being cooked using the Heat Beads® method.
Using our kettle BBQ gave it an authentic smoky BBQ taste. From the colouring on the outside of the meat, to the flavour, and even the aroma, it all enhanced the dining experience.
It is certainly something we have never experienced with our gas BBQ. The steaks we’d cooked on the gas barbie simply paled in comparison.
The same verdict was drawn when we cooked our BBQ chicken wings and corn on the cob. The chicken wings and corn on the cob had that authentic and smoky BBQ taste, just like food should taste when cooked outside.
To be honest it was a revelation. A proper Aussie BBQ seemed like something which was too much of a hassle to do most of the time, especially on a weekday evening for a quick BBQ supper.
Having tried the Heat Beads Chimney and Chimney Booster, I can put my hand on my heart and say that you can create an authentic BBQ in just 12 minutes, and the taste is superior compared to the gas BBQ .
I would happily use this method to make a quick BBQ supper on a week night. I must admit that one weekend I’m looking forward to some slow cooking using the Heat Beads®. Pork belly or shoulder of lamb done low and slow on the BBQ is definitely something which will be on the menu in the near future.
The Heat Beads® Chimney Booster and BBQ Chimney has busted the belief I had that lighting a proper BBQ is labourious and time consuming. While I concede it isn’t as straight forward as hitting the on switch of a gas BBQ, the difference in taste means that it really is worth it.
If I want instant cooking power I might as well use the oven, but if I want a proper BBQ taste this is the method I’ll be using from now on.
Another thing about using the Heat Beads® system is that it’s pretty fun to do, connecting you to your inner cave man. The Heat Beads® briquettes help you get a consistent cooking result as they don’t burn fiercely when fat falls on them and they burn much longer than commercial coals.
For a kettle BBQ novice cooking for two Aussie guests, my experience with Heat Beads was a resounding success.
The Aussies raved about the food which must be a result for a Pom with no aptitude or confidence of cooking over coals. It was quick, it was straightforward and the taste was outstanding. It was so good, my husband and I are converts – if anyone wants to make us an offer on our gas BBQ just give us a call!
Want to create a delicious BBQ in 12 minutes?
This post is sponsored by Heat Beads, Noodlies received payment and complimentary food, BBQ and Heat Beads products. All opinions contained in this post are Noodlies own and consistent with Noodlies’ published editorial guidelines as outlined in the code of ethics.