We all love barbecues. The second the sun shines we shoot to Tesco for charcoal, burgers and buns, race home and light one. Then we start necking Pimm’s and eye up the sky for clouds. Why we are the only country to act this way escapes me.
Other BBQ mysteries include why a man must take control of the fire. Without exception, all British men would rather lose their balls than their tongs. No one knows why, it’s just ingrained into British life, like stoically eating undercooked sausages in the rain.
But the UK has nothing on the US when it comes to BBQ. Man Fire Food (Food Network, May 16, 9pm) visited the Skylight Inn in North Carolina, where they barbecue whole pigs. They even make their own charcoal. Engaging presenter Roger Mooking slapped a dead pig’s ass and it was on. “Barbecue anything less than a whole animal and you’re cheatin’,” said the third generation pit master. “Cook ’em and flip ’em to crisp ’em up,” he added, before the master chopper took over, expertly blending the juicy light and dark meat with a pair of cleavers, adding the chopped crispy crackling, before judiciously adding salt, pepper, cider vinegar and hot sauce.
Then it was on to a festival called Bovinova, which is like Glastonbury for beef fans. Only rather than burgers, they barbecued an entire cow, injected with gallons of marinade and slow cooked for 19 hours, monitoring the temperature with a laser. In previous years, they actually barbecued a llama. Brits might love BBQ, but we are rank amateurs. Mouth-watering TV.