“ Brand: Fire Mountain / Type: Grill / Fuel Type: Coal „
Last year, we spent the summer visiting various friends and having some lovely barbecues with them. This summer, we decided that it was about time to invest in a barbecue for ourselves so that we could return the invites.
We looked at a fairly wide range of barbecues before we settled on this one, and our price range was up to £100 so we had a fairly good choice. We knew we wanted something that wasn't tiny, but that we weren't likely to have huge numbers of people here at the same time, and that we wanted a charcoal one rather than a gas one (I just don't see the point of a gas barbecue tbh, you might as well cook the stuff in the oven or under the grill!).
We chose the Fire Mountain Pedestal Barbecue for a combination of reasons, firstly it's very similar design to one some friends of ours have which cooks really well, so we figured this would be quite similar for that. Secondly, it was pretty sturdy unlike some we looked at which just seemed rather flimsy and as if they'd be quite easily damaged or knocked. Thirdly we found one at the excellent price of just £40 delivered!
It arrived flat packed, and we had to put it together ourselves. The instructions are fairly minimal - actually word wise, they're virtually non existent. Instead they give you a couple of diagram sheets to follow instead. This didn't matter too much as it's a fairly straight forward process putting the thing together, although if you do get one, I'd say don't tighten the screws fully till you've got the thing properly together, otherwise you'll find yourself slackening everything off again at certain points like we did!
The barbecue is quite stylish looking, and stands fairly firmly on any flat surface. I wouldn't recommend standing it on decking however which is what we'd at first thought of doing because although there is a draw to catch the ashes, it has straight sides, and there are two curved gaps either side of it down the centre pedestal where the ashes can fall if they miss the draw, which means they'd fall onto the surface beneath the barbecue and of course they can be pretty hot and contain the odd very small smouldering coal still.
The grilling space is oval, and is quite a good size for cooking for four people if you want to have a number of different items on for everyone at the same time, or you could cook for quite a few more people if you were going to do just burgers and sausages say. We normally cook either just for the two of us, or for maybe 4 or 5 people and find it quite suitable for that number. The wind plate at the back is quite useful and does seem to help a bit with keeping the flame stable even if it doesn't stop the smoke getting in your eyes when you're cooking and something drips on the coals.
There are no utensils packaged with this barbecue which is a shame, but we found they weren't too expensive, and we easily added a few bits for a fiver. I'd highly recommend some skewers if you are thinking of doing smaller items like prawns or mushrooms etc. as on their own these would be too small and would be likely to go through the grilling surface. And you're almost certain to need a pair of tongs and a spatula for turning things.
The grill tray (griddle - what do you call it?), can be set at a number of different levels, by simply hooking it in at the sides and back into the slots set at different heights it has nice wooden handles to make this really simple to do. There are 5 options here, but we normally cook it on the lowest unless the flames start getting a bit vicious at which point we lift it slightly. One of the advantages with this barbecue is that you have a second shelf that's quite narrow and sits at the back higher up. This is ideal either as a warming plate for putting things while you finish off other bits, or as somewhere to just pop a bun or two to warm/finish defrosting before you pop a sausage or burger into it.
We've had a fair bit of success so far already with this barbecue, and I hope we'll keep doing so. Our favourite way to cook things on it is on skewers, and we do that with savoury things like chunks of pepper, onion, mushroom, meat, prawns, and so on, and also sweet things like pieces of apple, banana, apricot or pineapple. (Apple chunks dipped in brown sugar or sugar syrup and skewered and then cooked at the end as the coals are dying down till they go brown and crispy are lovely!). I can't really find fault with it in any way other than that being a pedestal style the ash tray does fill up pretty fast, so you kind of do need to empty it reasonably regularly or else it just kind of overfills and when that happens you end up with big piles of ash on the ground inside the pedestal. Other than this it's a great design, very stable, sturdy and user friendly.
Overall, I'd say I'm very pleased with this purchase, and I can see us getting a lot of use from it. I'd certainly recommend it over some that are out there if nothing else for its stability and flat bottom to the surface where the charcoal sits because you need less coals than you do on a curved dish or barrel style barbecue making it cheaper to use as well.