I recently headed to the leafty land of Harthill in Cheshire to a Weber® Grill Academy class hosted by Harthill Cookery School. It was a (long awaited) Christmas gift for my Dad but I have to say, I was looking forward to it just as much as he was. (Which reminds me, if you’re still looking for things to do for Father’s Day in Liverpool, bookmark my handy little blog post!)
As you’ll know by now, I do a lot of eating but not so much cooking so it was about time I got my hands durrrrrty with a bit of BBQ back to basics…
Lead by the wonderful Chef Brian Mellor, the BBQ Grill Academy wasn’t at all what I was anticipating. I was expecting a high intensity afternoon, sweltering away in a classroom kitchen flipping racks of ribs over a smoking grill, Hickory sauce all over the gaff and about 10 burns in the first 10 minutes.
Don’t get me wrong, I was totally up for bit of cavewoman cookery but what we were actually treated to on the day was something quite the opposite and bloomin’ lovely at that.
Harthill is an absolutely stunning little nook in the Cheshire countryside and the perfect backdrop for an introduction to Weber® – a leading manufacturer of coal, gas and electric outdoor grills in case you’re none the wiser.
I have to admit, I was the youngest pupil (and definitely one of the most novice) but Chef Mellor had all corners covered. From outdoor demonstrations on various Weber® models, to indoor kitchen prep and basic knife skills, this is a course for all manor of beast. Not cheap but 200% worth splashing out on if you’re looking to expand your culinary skill set.
Perfect Sauages, Texas rubbed Beer Can Chicken, garlic & oyster sauce marinated chicken thighs and Chuck Steak Cheeseburgers were on our agenda and stuck in did I get. The team butchered our own chickens, we mixed our own marinade, we pressed our own burgers and we gave it all a good season before surrendering it to the smoking alter.
We learnt about direct and indirect cooking, how to control the temperate of your grill with a Kettle BBQ lid, the variation between gas and coal cooking, and how smoke adds a natural flavour and colour that you just can’t get inside the kitchen.
We stole many a pearl of wisdom from Chef Mellor. He is a fountain of food-based knowledge after all. I mean, who knew your Weber® Genesis II could double up as a pretty nifty little oven in which you could bake the most beautiful, sesame sprinkled brioche buns?
Nope, me neither but that’s what we did and I only wish the photographs below were scratch and sniff because, mmmmm….
In true Hungry Harriet style, I fully enjoyed ploughing my way through the fruits of our labour under the heat of the evening sun, surrounding by a smokey BBQ breeze.
I came away with more knowledge about outdoor grilling than I thought my brain could ever hold, a handy little recipe booklet full of barbecue classics and a burning desire to move a whole lot closer to the equator where the reports promise Weber® weather every day.
Check out the full list of Harthill Cookery School events but don’t bag all the Thai Street Food tickets ’cause that’s the one I want to do next.