Grillo is an outdoor kitchen company, based over in Cambridge, which has some stunning outdoor kitchens. They share my passion for cooking outdoors and kindly offered to write this article about women cooking BBQ.
Women Cooking on the BBQ
Nothing beats the alluring smell of a lit BBQ hitting you before you’ve even reached a venue. It’s hypnotic. The best part is the social aspect. It makes it all the more pleasurable to have your loved ones together, over the finest grill and some great food. Not to mention the sense of accomplishment you get from feeding the 5000 without a hitch.
Unfortunately, it would appear that not many women have the opportunity to revel in this feeling. Think about it. When was the last time you saw a woman cooking on a BBQ?
Here at Grillo, we are big fans of Love2BBQ. Phil’s goals and ours are a perfect match when it comes to grilling, and the one objective that really stood firm is his attempt to change the perception that the BBQ, is strictly a man’s domain. We wanted to show our support for this goal, and proclaim that not only is that perception untrue, but we wanted to use the opportunity to encourage more people to BBQ confidently.
But Women Already BBQ, Don’t They?
Yes, they do! We are pleased to say that over the past 6 years, women taking the lead at the BBQ has risen. In 2015 a Statista report claimed that 18% of women take the lead, with National BBQ Week stating that in 2021 this number has risen to 47%. This rise could be due to the pandemic of 2020, where many adopted and mastered new hobbies. Definitely, a positive trend and one which needs to be encouraged.
Why Don’t More Women BBQ?
After speaking to various women, some admitted that they simply didn’t feel confident operating large BBQs with open flames and unknown grilling times, with a fear of undercooking. The ironic thing here is, these are the same concerns many men have when cooking. Accessories such as an instant-read thermometer, can really address this concern and provide a cook, male or female, with added confidence when cooking on the BBQ.
Others were unsure and confessed to an unexplainable ‘default setting’, to let men do what tradition dictated.
A few even mentioned that they can BBQ, but chose not to in order to let the man of the house, ‘feel like a man’. As though taking over would somehow be emasculating and fracture a man’s ego. But perhaps the ego is a caveman within, with a primal urge to be the provider. Luckily, this duty can now be shared.
Why Should More Women BBQ?
Because women can! Women have proved over the decades that they are equally as capable of doing anything a man can do. Women are playing football, in addition to refereeing and commentating. Women are plumbing, building, becoming electricians. Thankfully, the list is now endless. There is no plausible reason why women can’t take on the responsibility to BBQ from time to time.
Are There Any Female BBQ Masters?
Of course! Samantha Evans is a BBQ chef in Wales and has previously headlined at Meatopia Festival in London. Shauna Guinn is also a lover of BBQ and the concept of outdoor cooking. Both women have embraced inspiration from American tradition and have a fantastic TV series promoting how good cooking outdoors can be. And why wouldn’t they? With other famous female grillers like Deborah and Mary Jones from Kansas City, Laura Loomis from San Antonio and Helen Turner from Tennessee. There are many, all over the world. But not enough are well-known.
Back to our own shores, we have amazing outdoor cooks like Genevieve Taylor, who has written numerous fantastic books and runs BBQ classes. Another of our favourites is Sue Stoneman, who cooks everything outdoors and again runs classes at the UK BBQ School.
How Can Men Help with Building a Woman’s Confidence At the BBQ?
If for any reason, a woman, or anyone you know, lacks confidence taking control of the BBQ, be patient. Let the ego take a walk and resist the urge to take control. Understand that they are just as capable. They may even be better. But first, they must have the opportunity to try. As long as the safety guidance is prioritised with any beginner, this will help build the confidence needed to persist time and time again, with impressive results. And who knows, you may find that taking on the BBQ as a team could make you unstoppable. A great example of a husband-wife team is Jim and Rom Moore (@onlyslaggin and @only.rom) who both produce some unbelievable cooks.
Grilling Tips to Build Confidence
There are some great options out there to assist in learning how to BBQ if you don’t know-how. YouTube always provides helpful video tips catering to all levels of experience.
The top tip is safety first. If you can master how to use a BBQ safely, it’s only a matter of time before you’re tempted to do it more frequently. Definitely purchase a digital meat thermometer. These are inexpensive, easy to purchase, are a breeze to use and will build confidence. Safety is also in your cooking method, so hygiene is very important. With that in mind, don’t forget to clean your grill after each use. Not only is it hygienic, but it keeps your BBQ in top shape for longer.
While you are welcome to start with traditional burgers and sausages to practice, exercise your imagination and flex some muscle with unique ideas that you may not have seen before. When it comes to the BBQ, there aren’t many limitations. Try truffle macaroni cheese in a suitable pot. Or even grill some oysters, served in a shell, with a pinch of sea salt and light drizzle of lemon. Just think of what you love and put a BBQ spin on it.
Your recipes don’t always have to be calorific and sinful. Vegetables are delicious on the BBQ – just take a looked at the Charred cookbook by Genevieve Taylor. The smoky flavour and charred texture are worth the enthusiasm. It can be healthy too, and a great option for children and vegetarians.
The Pleasure Is All Yours
Time at the BBQ is intended to be relaxing. It is not a chore. It’s a time for family and is a satisfying and enjoyable experience. The BBQ doesn’t judge. It doesn’t demand anything. It has no hidden agenda. And once women become masters at it, it will become the norm. So, make a little space guys, and hand women the tongs every once in a while.
We are an outdoor kitchen company that is passionate about bringing people together around food and flames. We have designed beautiful outdoor kitchens that are suitable for the unpredictable British weather, and help people to create stylish social spaces in the comfort of their own gardens.
Where are we?
We are based in Cambridgeshire and you are welcome to book an appointment to visit us. Or, you can take a look at our website, where we have a range of outdoor kitchens and cooking stations available. Our website also has multiple “How To” videos. From how to operate one of our Gas BBQs, to useful cleaning tips. We’re here to help.
The Chef’s Anvil BBQ. Ordinarily, the person in charge of the BBQ would be isolated to their station at the rear of the garden and miss out on family time while they grill. With the Anvil, its circular shape allows for a more inviting atmosphere, for guests to get involved and take on some cooking themselves too.