Embrace the great outdoors – even in the rain!

Limp sandwiches and warm lemonade? No thanks!

The Brits have always loved eating in the great outdoors. What could be more evocative than a picnic hamper bursting with, um… soggy sandwiches, very hard-boiled eggs and flasks of stewed tea? We haven’t traditionally fared much better with the barbecue. It’s not quite the same in the rain, is it? Well, gone are the days of singed sausages and half-raw chicken – barbecue is a culinary art nowadays and we’re all for it.

British chefs and cooks alike are embracing outdoor cookery. What’s fuelled this change in attitude? Kit, of course! Even luxury restaurants are finding new ways to bring the great outdoors inside, using the latest technology. Outdoors, beautifully designed ovens and grills are popping up in the courtyards of urban restaurants.

The right kit makes all the difference…

We love the classic ceramic Big Green Egg. It’s truly beyond versatile; try it low and slow, for grilling, roasting – you name it. Three types of heat keep moisture in, and precision controls take the stress out of barbecuing. Each one is handmade, so no two are the same, and it’s guaranteed for a lifetime. It’s truly a thing of beauty, and a joy to cook in.

The XL version of the Egg is now a permanent feature at most Soho House locations for their Sunday barbecues. It’s a ‘once you’ve tried it you want to buy it’ thing, and the company claim to have never had a return. Yep, that’s how good it is. For the obsessive among you though (and we include ourselves in this category…), the world of Big Green Egg is awash with a thousand gorgeously designed and extremely desirable accessories. We warned you. Just don’t blame us if you end up on Ebay at midnight bidding on a Big Green Egg cast iron wall-mounted bottle opener… (ahem…).

OK, so what’s REALLY floating our BBQ boat?

Much as we love it, Big Green Egg has been around a while and looks and feels pretty American. We’re big advocates (and suckers for) European design, as you know. So, when we saw the new OFYR from the Netherlands we got just a little bit excited.

The OFYR is a cone shaped fire bowl with a wide flat rim – you can cook either on the rim or on a grill over the flames. Heat radiates from the centre in a perfectly fluent gradient, giving you great versatility and precision. You can leave it outdoors uncovered in any conditions, and it will weather (rust!) artistically. Take a look – it’s the perfect balance of functionality and beauty, and has a synergy with the natural environment that’s just a joy. OFYR is a newish company already winning design awards, and appearing in the chicest homes and restaurants. In our opinion, they’re where it’s at in the outdoor cooking world.

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Mat, KitchenLab UK