BOTB: Chef Kevin Ashton

In part one I talked about the different methods of cooking on a barbecue, now I’m going to give you an overview of the components and their importance for a successful barbecue.


The two main types of charcoal are briquette or hardwood lump, some purists prefer the more natural hardwood lump. Myself I like a mix because the hardwood lump lights quicker and burns faster, whereas the briquette is harder to light but burns for longer. If your barbecue runs for a long time you may need to top up the charcoal and for this I would use the hardwood lump if possible. Remember the new coals will need to temper to get well alight before you resume cooking, or you will get a lot of soot on your food.

Barbecue Placement

Find a flat area of ground, think about wind direction because you don’t want it either blowing smoke in the direction of your guests or your neighbor’s clean washing. Don’t place the barbecue close to the ornamental pond or you will attract too many bugs. I find that Citronella offers excellent protection against mosquitoes whether in the form of candles or torches filled with oil. Use these in smaller areas, such as on the patio while dining or entertaining.

Work Table

Is always a good idea to have a work table close by. A 6-foot table (1.8288 meters) is ideal and make sure you set it up on a stable (flat) part of the garden, so it does not tip up. I usually set up the table so as to create an L shape with grill, but not too close. If you are planning a large barbecue you might consider a second table to act as the buffet table, just make sure it is not too close to the barbecue or your work table. It is also useful to have a cutting board and a couple knives handy but remember, never cut cooked meat on a board you have been using for raw meats.

From Chef Kevin Ashton.
For more from Kevin tune into this week’s Biology of the Blog!