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Autumn 22 Fireside Chat

Autumn Fireside Chat with Rupert Bates

 Rupert Bates   Autumn 2022

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As the days get shorter, let the meat cook longer. While summer always has a frenetic air about it, with sun out, school out and holidays booked – or missed – autumn, by contrast, said the poet Keats, is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.

At this time of the year, we prepare to witness the bounty of the harvest, the turning of the leaves, the cooling of the temperatures and the darkening of the nights.  In other words: BBQ season.

BBQ season? ‘That’s spring and summer,’ I hear you cry, the seasons just past. Well, yes. In fact, throw in winter while we’re at it. To paraphrase James Taylor – winter, spring, summer or fall, all you’ve got to do is grill.

#BBQ365 is this magazine’s hashtag. We humans are not hibernators, although after some of the fire feasts I’ve devoured this summer, with drinks to match, I could do with a lie down.

There is an assumption you must be a devout pitmaster, damned, or rather blessed, for eternity to cook outside and sacrifice meat to the BBQ gods. With beards so luxuriant, live-fire obsessives absorb the wind and rain, making them oblivious to the conditions.

Our mission in the coming months is to get you all out there – whether you have facial hair or not. You own a coat don’t you? Your fire can double as a heat source and there are all sorts of shelters, heaters and outdoor products to help you tame the weather.

Ok, pouring rain isn’t necessarily conducive to having a load of mates round the fire and the garden. But autumn is a good time for ‘anti-social’ cooking, the time for trial and error without the pressure of delivering fodder for friends.

Don’t just wheel the barbecue into the shed so Mr and Mrs Arachnid can live rent-free in your grill for six months. Wheel out the recipes we regularly publish and have a go, without the pressure of guests’ mouths to feed and the judgement of others.

Talk to your equipment, tell the grill, the smoker, the oven, the firepit that you love them just the same all year-round and you’ll continue to bring fuel and food to their door, come rain or shine.

 

 

One of the most striking companies exhibiting at the world’s largest BBQ fair, spoga+gafa in Cologne, Germany, was the Carelia range of products – grills and firepits from North Karelia, a land of forests and cliffs. It is one of the coldest regions in Finland and gets snow – a lot of snow.

Ville Hämäläinen of Carelia Grill doesn’t wait for the sun to pin his salmon to a plank above his stylish and ingenuously designed barbecue. His bugle is the howl of the wolf and one of Carelia’s striking films shows Ville cooking in the snow-covered mountains, before feeding meat to a wolf, lured by the scent.

That might be a bit too melodramatic for an English garden and spook the labrador, however much rewilding goes on, but you get the picture; fire food is meant to be elemental, cooking in all elements.

So whatever time of year, just call out my name and, you know, wherever you’re outdoor cooking, I’ll come running.

Yours in live-fire cooking

Rupert Bates

Editor


 


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