We had a chat with Caroline Harkin, co-owner and marketing manager of Hark Enterprises, about some of the outdoor cooking products that are gaining popularity in Australia.
One is a very high-end Kamado-style ceramic unit used by an increasing number of chefs, and the other is a handy invention for that very slow Texan style of cooking meat with a wood fire box that provides heat for many hours at a time.
The Big Green Egg.
“That’s a premium niche product in the US” says Caroline.
It’s a specific type of ceramic barbeque that’s made in Mexico
Actually, Carilone noted that it’s made “in a factory that also makes NASA’s heat shields for their shuttles, so that gives you an idea of the quality of the ceramic.”
The effect of that is when you cook with it the heat goes into the middle of the Egg. You could almost touch the outside (but don’t).
“It’s an incredibly thermodynamic little vessel that does everything. It does very high temperatures so you can grill on it. It does low and slow smoking.” You can also roast with it.
“The other thing to note is it’s a really successful brand in Europe.
“What has led to that is that it has been taken up by chefs all across England and Europe.
“In Europe they’ve really taken off. I think roughly three in five Michelin Star restaurants in Europe have an Egg.
“They have a special smaller version that sits on top of a bench, and they’ll either grill the food or smoke-finish it.”
Caroline explained that the efficiency of the pure lump charcoal used gives chefs the result they want.
“It’s a very much a foodie kind of cooking unit.”
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Green Mountain Grills
This is another US brand, and it’s more the Texan style of cooking. It’s offset smoking where you have a fire to one side rather than cooking directly.
That means “you have to tend that fire. All those wonderful barbeque competition teams, they stay up all night tending that fire. Someone gets shot [metaphorically] the next day because they fell asleep and let the fire drop and that affects the flavour of the food.”
With pellet grilling, it’s delivery is electrified, so you can preset how often fresh compressed-wood pellets are dropped into the fire to keep it going, or chose a specific temperature range to automatically feed it.
They’re all WiFi enabled, so you can even use an app on your phone to control and monitor it. You put a probe in the ribs and then aim for a target temperature inside the food rather than in the firebox.