Why winter is the perfect time to barbecue

Just Recruitment’s resident grill king tells us why the cooler months are perfect for firing up the barbecue, and shares his tips about how to do it

If you’re a regular visitor to our website, you’ll know that we regularly post recipe ideas from our resident barbecue supremo, project manager Tom Knowles. But you may be wondering why we continue to do so as the temperature drops towards zero. Surely winter is the time to put your grill into hibernation and move your culinary activity indoors?

Not at all, says Tom. In fact, he reckons the cooler weather is perfect for getting outside and enjoying your barbecue.

“I love all cooking,” he says, “but barbecuing is a particular passion for me. So why would I let the weather stop me doing something I love?”

The logic is straightforward enough. Walking enthusiasts don’t stop hiking just because the days are shorter, and bird watchers still head out to the hide with their binoculars in-hand. So why should it be any different for a barbecue enthusiast?

Tom has another, more practical, reason for keeping his barbecue in service during the winter. Remember the Beast from the East that struck in March 2018? Over in East Anglia where Tom lives, the storm didn’t only bring freezing conditions and inches of snow. It also led to power outages, meaning many homes were left with no lights or heating, and no means of cooking supper.

Not so the Knowles residence. “You can fire up a barbecue whenever,” he explains. “While everyone else is worrying about going hungry in the snow, you can look forward to some nice wholesome food, made all the more delicious by virtue of being cooked in the great outdoors. Honestly, it’s magical to cook a steak while you’re surrounded by crisp white snow.”

If that’s you well and truly convinced of the merits of a winter barbecue, you’ll need some help to get started. So here are Tom’s top tips for cooking in the cooler months.

Be prepared

“Preparation is a crucial part of barbecuing all year round,” Tom explains. “But cooking in cold weather makes it even more important. Make sure you have everything you need right by the barbecue so that you don’t have to traipse in and out of the house. And ensure your meat is ready to drop on the grill immediately it’s up to temperature. That way, you’ll be inside in the warm enjoying supper as quickly as possible.”

Line up enough fuel 

“You’ll burn a lot more fuel to maintain the same temperature in winter than in summer,” Tom explains. “It’s always worth having extra fuel to hand. This will ensure you don’t run out with your meal half cooked. And if you don’t end up using it, store it somewhere cool and dry in readiness for your next barbecuing adventure. After your first winter barbecue, you’ll be itching to get outside and repeat the experience.”

Keep a lid on it

“Closed-lid barbecuing is sensible throughout the year,” Tom says, “because it helps lock in flavour and gives you greater control over temperature. But it’s crucial when the temperature is cooler. Only lift the lid for very short periods, to prevent cold air getting in and slowing the cooking process. You’ll find that your barbecue loses heat very quickly, especially if the temperature is near to freezing.”

Location, location, location

“Everyone has their favourite place to barbecue, but you may need to rethink it during the winter,” Tom reflects. “I try to get as close to the house as possible, without filling the inside with smoke and taking care to avoid confined spaces where the fumes can’t circulate. This means I can carry utensils and raw food to the barbecue easily. And, when everything’s ready, it minimises heat loss while you carry it to the house. There’s nothing worse than sitting down to a lukewarm steak that was perfect when it left the grill.”

Choose your weapon

“Equipment is a big passion of mine,” says Tom. “I get as much pleasure from buying barbecue gear as I do from cooking. But while you don’t need as much stuff as I have, some items are particularly useful during the winter months”.

“I wouldn’t be without my heavy-based pan. I rest this on the cooler part of the grill to keep cooked food warm, and use it to finish off food that’s just slightly undercooked. Cast iron cookware conducts heat brilliantly, and can be used inside the kitchen as well – making it a sound investment for any cooking enthusiast.”

Eat for the season

“While you can cook pretty much anything on the grill, it’s worth thinking about the best dishes for the weather,” Tom suggests. “Slow cooking takes longer in cold temperatures, and may be more of a mission than you’re willing to accept. Focus on thinner cuts of meat, which are usually nice and tender. They’ll take less time to cook, meaning you won’t spend so long out in the cold, and can get busy eating sooner rather than later.”

Enjoy the experience

If it’s not clear already, Tom thoroughly enjoys winter barbecuing. And his final tip bears that out: “Don’t forget to relish the experience of cooking outdoors in cooler temperatures,” he says. “Take time to look around you, feel the coolness on your skin, and luxuriate in the warmth of the fire. It’s a way of connecting to your inner cave man or woman. I don’t think there’s anything I like more about the winter than getting outside and cooking over a live flame.”

© Copyright Just Recruitment 2018

Has this article got you uncovering the barbecue? Check out - Smokin' Tom's BBQ tips

You can also see our other articles in - Lifestyle

Jobs currently available

Featured job
Management Accountant
Sector: Accountancy, Banking and Finance
Salary: £30,000 - £38,000
Location: Haverhill
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 906965
About the role

The Just Recruitment Group have a superb opportunity for an experienced Management Accountant to join our client on a fulltime, permanent basis working near to Haverhill.

Reporting directly to the CEO of this fast growing successful company. The business is currently growing at 20% per annum and is at a pivotal moment in its development. New premises have been purchased and new sales and accounting systems are due to be installed in the coming 6 months. This role will be part of the senior management team and involved in key decision making for the business going forward.

Responsibilities include:

  • Responsible for the whole of the accounts department and production of the monthly management report and KPIs.
  • Managing the accounts assistant who has primary responsibility for the purchase ledger.
  • Managing UK and overseas payments, controlling deposits and advance payments.
  • Cash management including weekly forecasting of cash and credit control.
  • Running all aspects of payroll.
  • Management of Royal London pension scheme.
  • Responsibility of all company insurances and utility suppliers.
  • Working with the Operations Manager, analysing profit and cost variances to budget.
  • Implementation of new accounting system, which will free up purchase ledger clerk to take some of the more administrative elements of this role.
  • Job and departmental profit analysis.
  • Monthly VAT returns and Bank reconciliations.
  • Ad-hoc tasks necessary for the for Senior Managers and Directors.
  • Management of personnel files.
  • Administration and other duties relevant to the role.

The ideal candidate will possess the following skills:

  • Experience working in a fast moving busy office environment.
  • Ability to work to deadlines, quickly and accurately under pressure.
  • Ability to prioritise.
  • Discretion required due to nature of the role.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Confident in using Microsoft Excel.
  • Flexible and adaptable.
  • ACA/ACCA/CIMA Qualifications are desirable but not essential.

 

Read more
Featured job
Service Engineer
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £30,000 to £35,000 Per Annum
Location: National
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 906655
About the role

This position is based nationally and reports to the Field Service Manager.

Responsibilities

  • Attending customer sites across the UK and Ireland as required by the business.
  • Delivering routine preventative maintenance and repair work as scheduled by the service coordinator.
  • Attending product breakdown calls, providing technical assistance to customers and supporting service refurbishment activities.
  • Working efficiently and safely, always within the companies Health & Safety guidelines.
  • Delivering high standards of customer service and maintaining a commercial outlook towards the business.
  • Occasional visits to our parent company in Denmark or attending other manufacturing sites for the purpose of training or support.
  • Active input into the strategic activities of the business when required.

Qualification 

  • Full clean driving licence
  • Knowledge of ventilation systems
  • Knowledge of refrigeration systems
  • Knowledge of control systems
  • Health and Safety, including but not limited to, a strong understanding of making and working within risk assessments and method statements.

Skills

  • Electrical
  • Braising
  • Fault finding

Experience

  • Service and preventative maintenance on HVAC products at a national level

Personal attributes

  • Honest
  • Diligent
  • Flexible
  • Supportive Team player
  • Work effectively and safely alone.

Hours

Monday to Friday 08:30 – 17:00 with a 60-minute unpaid lunch break. However, will be expected to work such additional hours as are necessary for the proper performance of your duties.

Reward Package

  • Competitive Salary (based on experience/qualifications)
  • Bonus scheme (Profit related)
  • 25 days holiday per annum (up to 5 days used for Christmas shutdown) increasing with length of service, up to a maximum of 30 days per year
  • Company sick pay (after 13 weeks service and increases with length of service)
  • Pension Scheme
  • Auto-enrolment 3% employee contribution and 2% employer
  • Group Personal Pension Scheme (once qualified) 3% employee contribution and 3% employer increasing with length of service
  • Life Assurance (2 x basic salary)
  • Private Medical Insurance (once qualified)
  • Childcare Voucher Scheme
  • Employee Assistance Programme

Other benefits

  • Monthly flexi-Fridays (staff can leave at 2pm, having made the time up that week)
  • Medical appointments paid up to one hour (excluding opticians)
Read more
New job
Project Manager - Architectural
Sector: Property and Construction
Salary: TBA
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 907666
About the role

The Just Recruitment Group are currently recruiting for a Project Manager for their client based in Colchester, Essex. 

Please note that although this role is based in Colchester, there will usually be requirements to work off-site. 

Job Purpose

The Project Manager will oversee the planning, implementation, and tracking of multiple projects for multiple projects. 

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

The Project Manager will perform a wide range of duties including some or all the following: 

  • Define the scope of the project in collaboration with senior management 
  • Create a detailed work plan which identifies and sequences the activities needed to successfully complete the project
  • Determine the resources (time, money, equipment, etc) required to complete the project 
  • Develop a schedule for project completion that effectively allocates the resources to the activities 
  • Review the project schedule with senior management and all other staff that will be affected by the project activities; revise the schedule as required 
  • Determine the objectives and measures needed to evaluated project milestone/applications and completion Personal characteristics and skills

The Project Manager should demonstrate competence in some or all the following: 

  • Hold a good understanding of JCT contracts 
  • Develop new and unique ways to improve operations of the company and to create new opportunities
  • Interface with client to deliver project and retain client for the future 
  • Set priorities, develop a work schedule, monitor progress towards goals, and track details/data/information/activities 
  • Determine strategies to move the company forward, set goals, create and implement actions plans• Understand H & S procedures and documentation for large construction projects 
  • Ability to use Microsoft Office and a knowledge of Microsoft Project would be an advantage 
  • Hold a Driving Licence 
Read more
New job
Accidental Damage Claims Handler
Sector: Insurance
Salary: £17,000 - £19,000
Location: Ipswich
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 907663
About the role

The Just Recruitment Group is currently recruiting for an Accidental Damage Claims Handler to join a leading Business Process Management company based in Ipswich.

The ideal candidate will have experience in: 

  • Motor FNOL
  • Repair Management Experience
  • Total Loss Experience
  • TP Capture experience
  • Excellent Customer Service Skills 

Hours of Work:

37.5 hours per week

Monday – Friday 09:00 – 17:30

Benefits:

  • 20 days annual leave increasing by 1 day per year up to a max of 30 days
  • Auto Enrolment pension
  • Perk Box
  • Social Fund
  • Subsidised Gym Membership
  • Death in Service Benefit

If this sounds like a role that could suit your experience, please call today.

Read more
New job
Technical Property Claims Handler
Sector: Insurance
Salary: TBA
Location: Ipswich
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 907664
About the role

The Just Recruitment Group are currently recruiting for a Technical Property Claims Handler to join a leading Business Process Management company.

Monday – Friday 09:00 – 5:30 (37.5 hours per week)

Salary - Negotiable Depending on experience.

Benefits:

  • 20 days annual leave increasing by 1 day per year up to a max of 30 days.
  • Auto Enrolment pension
  • Perk Box
  • Social Fund
  • Subsidised Gym Membership
  • Death In Service Benefit

Candidate to have experience in:

  • Subsidence
  • Large Loss
  • Liabilities

If this sounds like a role that suits your experience, please contact us.

Read more