There are some things every man must do. Put up shelves, drive without a map, setup up complictaed electronics without consulting the manual. All of which are doomed to failure but that is not the point. To that list you can add barbeques. Harking back to simpler times (women can insert their own punchlines here) every man needs to smell the intoxicating scent of meat cooking on a roaring fire. And I am no different.
As usual, I opted not to go for a simple little unit, instead opting for what is essentially a World War 2 American Battleship, the Landmann 11543 Oil Drum. The clue is in the title really, it is essentially an metal drum cut in half and shelves mounted on top, with four flimsy legs underneath and some wheels. Simple really!
It measures a length of 107cm with a height of 94cm while the charcoal compartment has a depth of 56cm. On top of it rest two shelves coated in chrome measuring 42cm x 47cm each. They are adjustable and can be raised or lowered on three grooves for cooking options. Underneath the drum, attached to all four supporting legs is a shelf which is constructed from metal wire and gives stability to the unit whilst offering storage for cooked foods or utensils. The wheels attached to the left hand legs allow you to manouever the unit once cooled with little effort.
And that is it really. Usage is simple, you just fill the drum with charcoal, light it. Once you have your roaring flame, you can start cooking. Because of the size of the barrel you can use more charcoal and cook more food, so it is very handy for garden parties at any time of the year. Bonfire Night last year was a great success as we were able to use this first of all for cooking, then as a source of heat for watching the displays later on.
Despite my inital comments regarding the flimsy looking legs, it really can hold quite a weight and after two years use, is still as sturdy as ever. I can really applaud Landmann for a well constructed unit which so far shows no signs of wear and tear. Cleaning is easy enough, you just get the ashes out and hose down and you can store it til next time. Even if that is next year.
In conclusion for those of you with big gardens and a desire to cook a lot, this is the barbeque for you. You can pick them up for around £85 at the moment from various garden stores. This may seem a lot, but for a unit which could be with you for quite some time, and it does come with a 1 year warranty, i'd say that is a fair price to pay.
The summer has passed us by once more and, yet again, it went with a bit of a whimper, the months of June, July and August being as warm and dry as a health dogs nose, good news for hay sufferers but bad news for sun worshippers.
Luckily, the month of September has shown a little late summer spirit and has remained dry enough for those late night barbeques, even if it in the darkness of the approaching winter.
Anyway, I am one of the many people who like to fire up the old barbeque when ever I can, which, for the passed few years, has been in short supply, so on the first of the promised dry nights I was dragging my faithful barbi out of the shed, preparing for a night of meat eating and a bit of beer drinking in my garden. Don't worry, I invited the neighbours so there wouldn't be any complaints.
So, charcoal at the ready, I fired up my rather splendid, although slightly strange looking, Oil Drum barbeque, hoping that the weather man hadn't messed up yet another prediction of dry weather all night.
The Barbeque unit I have been using for a while now, well when I say using I mean owned and used as often as the good old British weather permits me too, is the strange and slightly dull looking Landmann Oil Drum unit...
** SOME SPECS. FIRST...
* 2 adjustable chrome plated cooking grills, which are approx. 420 by 470mm each.
* A large metal wire storage shelf near the base.
* Two wheels for easy manoeuvrability.
* Size is 1070mm high by 560mm wide by 940mm deep.
* It is a charcoal fuelled barbeque with two separate sections for cooking
* Unfortunately it doesn't have a lid to close the unit off
** IN CONCLUSION...
I love barbequed food as I find it has a taste all of its own, as long as it is cooked properly that is and not the cause of a massive non alcoholic queue at the local A&E, so when I get the chance to fire up my rather strange looking, but frankly brilliant little great basic drum barbeque, I jump at the chance, especially in this wet and dreary country that is called Britain.
When I say it is a little strange looking I do mean it. When you first see it you may think that it is some form of recycling bin on 'Tonka toy' plastic wheels, but you'd be wrong.
The main grey metal half cylinder drum shaped unit with its 'wind breaker' looking metal surround, sits on top of four metal legs, two of which have little black wheels attached at the base for easy manoeuvrability. There is a strip of metal on the right hand side acting as a handle for the unit, although this handle does get hot when the 'barbi' is in use, so do let it all cool down before moving.
There are two cooking racks, both with handles, which sit nicely in there cut out slots, all positioned above the charcoals pit, the racks capable of being lowered or lifted, depending on the amount of heat you need for that particular dish you are cooking.
The big grey belly can hold a lot of charcoal and creates the heat required to cook those slabs of meat for that garden party you have decided to have.
I found with this unit that there is plenty of storage racks on the lower section, just above the wheels, for things like plates and the like, with the metal rods crossing the legs very helpful for hanging my utensils from.
It may look as basic as a students tent at Glastonbury, with the colour scheme of a battleship on a war footing and about as attractive as an elephants behind, but it is those dodgy looks which probably enable this to it be able to fit into anybodies garden.
But the main thing is it does exactly what it is meant to do, it cooks your food the good old fashioned charcoal way, giving you some tasty food for those rare barbeque nights with friends and family, and the neighbours if you want to keep them sweet.
Once the night of 'barbi' fun is over it is down to the usually dreaded cleaning of all the burnt bits, fortunately, the cleaning is as easy as the cooking. It is a matter of scraping out the burnt charcoal from the cylinder body, making sure they are cold before hand, and taking the racks into the house to clean as you would your normal oven trays, the racks are a great size for this.
What more can I say about this barbeque..? Well, it does exactly what it is meant to do, nothing more, nothing less. It is not one of those new fangled gas 'barbis' which make your food taste like you've just cooked it in the cooker in your kitchen, which defeats the purpose of that outdoor cooking taste.
For me, the charcoal types are far superior than the other fuel types, more for the tastier results which the charcoal creates, and this great bulky looking barbeque really does manage to create some tasty dishes.
The price for this rather strange looking drum barbeque floats around the £80 region but if you shop around, like I did, you can definitely grab yourself a bargain now that the summer is officially over. So if you want to get yourself ready for next summers scorching barbeque weather, (hopefully) then I do recommend this one.
Short name: Landmann 11543