“ Manufacturer: Tesco / Type: Barbecue lighting gel „
Like the previous couple of years, 2010 did not turn out to be a 'barbecue summer'. I am a big barbecue fan, however, so despite the often poor conditions, I 'fired up the barbie' quite a few times over the summer months.
The often less than ideal weather meant that I had the 'fun' of trying to light the charcoal in high winds, and occasionally light rain showers. Fortunately, as well as good quality charcoal, I had a trick up my sleeve to ensure that things went well: Tesco barbecue lighting gel.
The gel costs a very reasonable £1.50 for a one litre bottle. The gel is very easy to use: first the safety cap is removed, the bottle is upended, and the gel carefully squirted over the (unlit) charcoal.
The gel is thick and white and can be applied easily onto the barbecue without spraying everywhere; it goes where it is directed to go. I like to apply the gel in a wide spiral, starting from the centre of the charcoal pile. Once the gel is applied, I light it, with a good gas lighter, in several places (this ensures that all the charcoal burns at the same time, producing an even spread of hot coals). The process is fast, from applying the gel, to having well lit charcoal can take about two minutes. All that's needed then is to 'supervise' the fire, preferably, with beer in hand! The gel burns off cleanly, leaving no residue to taint the food.
Unlike flammables such as petrol and lighter fluid, the gel's thick consistency prevents it soaking into the charcoal and becoming more difficult to light. The white gel sits on top of the charcoal until it is ready to be lit. Also unlike petrol, the gel does not catch fire explosively. Rather, it takes a couple of seconds to light, then spreads slowly to the rest of the gel and the charcoal. This results in a safe, controlled lighting of the barbecue.
In less than ideal conditions, Tesco's lighting gel is a real asset to getting the barbecue 'going'. High winds can play havoc with lighting the fire and keeping it lit. This gel, once lit, is difficult to blow out. In windy conditions, I put more gel on than normal, lighting it in quite a few places in rapid succession. This allows the flames to get a hold, before the wind can do its worst.
According to RoSPA, there are around 1,800 admissions to A&E each year due to barbecue related incidents. Most are due to people burning themselves, often by trying to relight a barbecue which has been extinguished. Some people end up very badly burnt.
For me, however, safety is paramount when having a barbecue. After following all the necessary precautions such as correctly siting the barbecue, ensuring that it is level and stable, and away from trees and fences, I make sure the fire is carefully lit. Here, the Tesco gel helps, with a safe, controlled burning that gives the least chance of an accident occurring. I also ensure that the garden hose is to hand in case of escape of hot material from the coals.
As stated above, the gel resists being blown out by the wind. If, however, the flames are extinguished, it is recommended NOT to spray the gel onto the hot coals: in this case, the heat of the fire evaporates the gel, which then ignites. The resulting flames are not as explosive as petrol, but could still result in singed eyebrows or worse.
Tesco barbecue lighting gel is the best way I've found to light a barbecue easily and safely. Being in gel form means that it is easy and accurate to apply, lights quickly, without catching fire explosively, and once lit will stay lit. Thanks to Tesco, I've managed to have a safe, enjoyable 'barbecue summer' despite the vagaries of the British weather. The one litre container has lasted the whole season. A real bargain and highly recommended.