Cooking on a barbecue is something most of us do, with varying degrees of success. I know someone who cooks a family-sized turkey in a small kettle barbecue every Christmas, a habit brought home from a stay in Australia. But there are those of us who struggle with "grilling" as our American friends refer to our efforts at barbecue, which doesn't at all resemble their "low 'n' slow".
Grill Academy at Cooks Academy in Dublin, in association with Weber, is running classes throughout the summer (next one on June 24th, noon-4pm), at which you get to barbecue on the cookery school's rooftop terrace. Instruction, recipes, and a post-grilling session feast are included in the €130 fee. Direct and indirect heat source cooking are covered, so as well as rib-eye steaks and beer-can chicken, you'll also be knocking out chocolate molten puddings from the barbie. See cooksacademy.com
Feed the fire
Former music industry consultant Joe Carroll is one of the foremost authorities on barbecue and grilling in the US, with restaurants in Philadelphia and Brooklyn and a Manhattan steakhouse on the way. He's just published Feeding The Fire (Artisan, £20), which claims to break down his approach to grilling and smoking into 20 lessons.
Carroll is not an equipment junkie, believing that amazing grilled food can be cooked on almost any heat source, even indoors. But he is picky about ingredients. And guess what? “Wood is an ingredient.” Rubs, smokers, sauces (“if you must”), brining and salting are all covered. Enthusiasts will love this book and even the occasional summer griller will find lots of inspiration.
Father's Day gift
Father's Day is coming up and, as lots of dads enjoy taking charge of the barbecue, this Typhoon Viners 19-piece barbecue tools set might be a useful gift. A bad cook blames his tools, but with the extensive collection of tongs, forks, gizmos and gadgets, there's nowhere to hide. It costs €60 from Brown Thomas Dublin, Cork and Limerick and online at brownthomas.com
Perfect summer chicken
There's nothing like a proper rotisserie chicken and you can get that sticky, juicy treat in a picnic bag to go from Poulet Bonne Femme this summer.
Gavin McCarthy and Sara Mitchell's business has grown from a market truck in 2009 to four permanent locations at Avoca Monkstown, Rathcoole, Suffolk Street and Kilmacanogue. The picnic bags, containing a marinated Irish free-range chicken hot from the spit, coleslaw, Bretzel French stick and a punnet of Irish strawberries can be ordered from all four outlets. There will also be chocolate sauce and lemonade by Dine, a new catering and deli company in Dalkey, in the bag (€40), which needs to be ordered before 11am for same day collection. See pouletbonnefemme.com