“ Brand: Fair Trade / Type: Single use babecue / Type: Barbecue „
~Fairly traded portable BBQs you say!~
Having used a good number of portable BBQ packs that can often be picked up for just a few £s and then taken out and about to cook on once BBQ season kicks in, I was quite surprised when I came across these 'Fair Trade' portable BBQ packs as I wasn't expecting this type of product to have been produced as a fair trade item. Although there are many similar products you can buy that all produce equally average results when in use, I felt at the time with these being fair trade packs it was worth buying them instead of a few stores own branded versions. These portable BBQs were available to buy both online and from stores such as the Co op last year (although under slightly different packing etc) making them easy to source. With warmer weather and the BBQ season soon on the way I feel now is as good a time as any to review these portable BBQs as they are worth picking up if you see them on sale.
~Who makes the fairly traded charcoal?~
The fair trade nature of these items means that the producers of the product are given a fair price for the goods they produce which in this case is the charcoal used to cook on. I liked the idea of that as soon as I saw these BBQs as I felt that I was helping to make a difference to someones life by purchasing the product. I have bought these fair trade BBQs knowing that not only would they provide me with a tasty BBQ meal, but that they would help the small number of charcoal makers and producers that have helped to create the product. The information given about these BBQs was that a collective of roughly 2000 Namibian charcoal producers, source the product from locally grown unwanted trees and bushes to help clear weed strewn land that can then be returned to farming. This collection of the wood and weeds helps to make the production of the charcoal viable and and the produces are paid a fair price for the end product they help to make.
~Presentation and ease of use~
As with all these simply made portable BBQs the presentation of the product allows for a neat foil packed mini BBQ that has the charcoal loaded into it ready for lighting. Each mini BBQ has a slim yet useable cooking surface set onto the top that is made from thin silver metal grids that can be used to place your food items directly on in order to cook them. The packs have protective covers on the top before use to stop any small bits of charcoal from coming out before you want to use each BBQ and the simple design displays some text to show who produced the product along with the headline 'I'm giving unfair trade a grilling'. The catchy text used certainly stands out and tells you that this a fairly traded and sourced product making it easy for you to make your choice if trying to find it amongst other BBQ packs.
In use these BBQs work as well as most other small portable BBQs with them being no better or worse and as such you do need to think about what you intend to cook on one of these as the charcoal only has a certain life once lit. I have found that you can light one of these and begin to use it within 10/ 12 minutes or so as long as the coals are white hot with no flames still burning. Once the coals are nice and hot its up to you what you want to cook, however I tend not to use this type of BBQ to cook large cuts of meat that have large bones in them as the cooking times required would be more than the life of the hot coals.
~What can I cook on these?~
Food stuffs such as salmon steaks, tuna steaks or even thin cut swordfish can be cooked on one of these are their required cooking times are shorter than when cooking many meats that have bones in them. Steaks will cook with ease on one of these as long as the coals are super hot, which will give them a nicely cross hatched BBQd effect once taken off the grill. To make sure your steak is cooked how you like it ensure the coals are at their hottest and don't leave the meat there for longer than needed. If you like your steaks rare then they will need just a few minutes each side to ensure they come out well. Mushrooms, peppers, halloumi and pitta bread all work well when used on these as they take little time to cook and give tasty results when eaten with dips or greek yoghurt etc.
Other items that can be cooked on these grills are of course smaller sausages and burgers if you like that kind of BBQ food and if wanting to take one of these out when on a summer picnic it is easy enough to light up the BBQ and fling on some burgers for the kids that will cook well as long as you ensure the charcoal is nice and hot. Burger rolls can be lightly toasted to serve them with a freshly cooked burger which should keep the kids happy and I would estimate that a total cooking time of up to 40 minutes can be available when using one of these to enable you to cook whatever takes your fancy. On windier days the coals may die down more quickly although even then there should be at least 30 minutes cooking time once the coals are hot to be had with one of these packs.
~Price and rating~
When I bought these portable BBQs they were on sale for £7.99 for a set of 3 packs, making the price per pack roughly £2.67 which I feel is good value. Last year the same company was also working hand in hand with the Co op to produce BBQ packs that came out slightly cheaper and had a useful BBQ stand sold with them. I am hoping that these packs will be available again this year as I feel they work well and not only provide you with hot tasty BBQ food, they can help those who do all the hard work sourcing the materials used to make up the charcoal and ensuring that the finished charcoal is of a good quality. As I feel this is a very good little set of portable BBQs which are ethically produced I want to give them a 4 star rating.