Griller warfare: are British barbecues truly the worst in the world?

Name: British BBQs.

Age: The season is just starting, God forgive us.

Appearance: Damp, dark, devoid of sustenance.

What are you talking about? Have another beer! Relax! I can’t drink any more. I’m so cold and hungry.

Don’t worry, the chicken will be done any minute. You said that an hour ago.

You don’t want me to poison you, do you? At this point, it would be a mercy.

Don’t you like barbecues? Not the way they’re done in Britain. And I’m not alone.

Oh yeah? Who’s with you? Gregg Wallace and John Torode.

Of MasterChef fame? The very same. They’re highly critical of British men and their infrequent and amateurish attempts at outdoor cooking.

You can’t blame someone for trying. Yes you can. “Every barbecue I have ever been to was rubbish,” Wallace told the Radio Times. “I turn up and find the same lump of uncooked meat on a paper plate and I have to try to cut it with a plastic fork in one hand and a drink in the other.”

Actually that does sound familiar. That’s because barbecuing is harder than it looks. “Suddenly, the sun comes out and men try to undertake possibly the most difficult culinary process ever,” said Torode. “Namely cooking over an open flame to produce something delicious.”

It’s a barbecue. It’s not about the food. If you had put that on the invitation, I wouldn’t have come.

You might get lucky – maybe this whole coronavirus thing will put a stop to barbecues. It’s going to make it much worse: under the new restrictions, people are only allowed to socialise outdoors, so we’re going to have even more barbecues, starting right now.

But it’s not even Easter yet. No matter: sales of barbecue equipment are up 1,337%, according to Asda (although last year’s lockdown may have had something to do with that). At this rate, it will be late June before we can all give up and eat together indoors.

Cheer up! Lockdown is finally easing – what’s wrong with sitting outside and enjoying Britain’s lovely early April weather? Listen to yourself.

Do Wallace and Torode have any actual tips, or do they just like to complain? “Don’t cook one dish and never try it again,” said Wallace. “Do it over and over again and perfect it.”

That’s good advice. Fire up the barbie! Oh no.

Do say: “I hope you like it well done! Or raw – I also have raw.”

Don’t say: “This new wood-fired pizza oven will keep us warm until the Domino’s guy gets here.”

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