Back to the future: charcoal barbecues

Written by

03 December 2017


3 min read

Charcoal is where barbecues are headed – back to where they originated from. No longer is gas the most sought-after barbecue solution. We chat to Outdoor Concepts about going back to the future.Charcoal is where barbecues are headed – back to where they originated from. No longer is gas the most sought-after barbecue solution. We chat to Outdoor Concepts about going back to the future.

Charcoal barbecues have been a thing of the past for some time now. For many of us, the classic charcoal barbecue is something resigned only to memory – the smokey flavour of dinners cooked on a charcoal barbecue is something many will remember their fathers cooking in times gone by; in the days when time seemed to linger and lives weren’t so busy.

Create That Real Outdoor Cooking Experience

It’s perhaps the lack of leisure time that led to the all-popular contemporary gas barbecue – a revolution that effectively took over the outdoor cooking market. “But cooking on gas isn’t as much fun as cooking on charcoal. Effectively, a gas barbecue is akin to simply cooking inside, and the food lacks the distinct smokey flavour,” Outdoor Concepts’ James Higgins says.

Classic II Stand Alone by Kamado Joe

Times are changing though, and as James says, it’s back to the future with the classic charcoal barbecue now the most sought after option for outdoor cooking.

While gas offers the advantage of speed with its ability to heat and cook quickly and easily, nothing compares to the flavour of a meal cooked on a charcoal barbecue. It’s the Americans who generally drive the outdoor cooking market and its innovations, and it’s one of their designs that has captured the world’s attention and is guiding our preference away from gas and back to charcoal.

Kamado Joe - The Contemporary Charcoal Barbecue 

Known as the Kamado Joe, the contemporary charcoal barbecue was designed and developed by American company Kamado Joe. In New Zealand, Outdoor Concepts are a specialist in Kamado cooking products, including the Kamado Joe.

“It’s not your regular barbecue. This is a premium product that has decades of research and development behind it,” James says.

Urn-shaped in appearance, the ceramic Kamado Joe barbecue is completely insulated allowing for cooking at high temperatures, or consistently and lower temperatures over longer periods of time.

Based on a traditional Asian-style grill, it imparts a rich, smokey flavour. “Air flows through the grill’s ceramic body and out its vented dome, chunk charcoal coming to life as smoke and heat. Kamado Joe is proud to draw on that Asian-style grill tradition, creating a modernised version of the Asian grill’s classic style,” James says.

Kamado Joe barbecues incorporate the world-renowned Divide and Conquer flexible cooking system, which is a multi-level half-rack design allowing for flexibility and versatility when cooking.

Classic II Free Standing Charcoal BBQ by Kamado Joe

“People are turning back to charcoal, and in particular, this style of barbecue because they’re realising that a gas barbecue lacks the ability to create that real outdoor cooking experience. There are a lot of misconceptions about charcoal barbecues too, which people are now realising are not the case. One of those is that charcoal is messy, but in fact the opposite is true. While there is a bit of ash that needs to be cleaned up, you don’t get a barbecue covered in grease like you do with a gas one. That’s because with charcoal the temperatures are so high that the grease gets burnt off so it’s only the ash that needs to be removed after use.”

Visit Outdoor Concepts here for some outdoor cooking inspiration this summer.

Big Joe II Free Standing by Kamado Joe