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It’s that time of year when we see the real difference between a dedicated outdoor cook and, well, everyone else…

It’s this time of year that I get most frowns and looks of confusion about why I’m cooking outdoors on a cold Autumn day. For fun I’ve created my own checklist to see you are a true outdoor cook…..

Is your BBQ or woodfired oven or hot smoker still open for business in your garden?

So many people still put their BBQs away or cover them up as soon as the summer season is over. The British are educated that barbecuing is a summer activity only but that couldn’t be further from the truth. All year round outdoor cooking is what it is all about!

Have you stocked up on charcoal or wood for autumn?

The dedicated outdoor cooks go against the retailers’ calendar. In most garden centres and outdoor retailers charcoal supplies disappear, so we need to make sure we are well stocked up for the season or have alternative suppliers. Still remember running around retailers in December trying to find some lump charcoal and not succeeding!

Do you check the weather for rain but don't care how cold it is?

Yes, it rains in UK and I’m lucky enough to live on the south coast so I’m protected from the real harsh weather but it doesn’t rain all the time. I really don’t care how cold it is, I love firing up in all weather and only refrain when it’s raining cats and dogs!

Are you planning your cold smoking recipes and dusting off your cold smoking equipment?

The start of Autumn is the start of your cold smoking season and time to start planning cold smoked recipes. All outdoor cooks look forward to this time of year as the weather cools down. Time to start cold smoking!

Do you have a Firework's Night recipe sorted?
There are quite a few outdoor events to celebrate during Autumn in the UK – Halloween, Guy Fawkes Night, St Andrews Day, Christmas, New Years Eve. All brilliant reasons (if you need one) to plan your meals for your outdoor kitchen.
Are you planning your Christmas menus around your Outdoor Kitchen?

Am I the only one who spends my Autumn thinking and planning my Christmas recipes for my Outdoor Kitchen? Every year is something different and new and includes my cold smoking. If you cook as much as you can outdoors, not only do you create amazingly flavoured food, it also frees up so much space in your indoor kitchen and washing up is drastically reduced. I simply can’t remember the last Christmas I wasn’t cooking outside, it hasn’t rained for years on Christmas Day and I make myself a very large special Christmas cocktail(s) and light up the fires.

Do you notice garden centres and shops replacing BBQs with Christmas decorations? Do you find this annoying?

I can’t be the only one that gets frustrated by the retailers end of BBQ season (which seems to be getting earlier and earlier) – goodbye to all the kit and accessories and say hello to Christmas decoration. I think a BBQ or woodfired oven or cold smoker would make an incredible Christmas present.

Do you own an outdoor cooking jacket or jumper?

This one might just be me! I have my outdoor cooking jumper and jacket – not suitable for being seen publicly but perfect for fire cooking. I suppose you could call it a ‘smoking jacket’, very worn but perfect for Autumn outdoor cooking.

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Are you a 100% Outdoor Cook?

So how did you do? Certainly not expecting everyone to get 100%, but hopefully close enough. It is my mission to get people to understand the amazing world of Wood, Fire and Smoke cooking and that means having an outdoor kitchen and using it all year round.  Cornelius 

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