A tradition mainly associated with America and Australia, the outdoor
barbecue is growing increasingly popular here, as Thailand provides a year
round perfect climate for outdoor cooking and entertaining. Whether it’s a
quick no fuss meal or the full social event, barbecuing is simply a great
way to enjoy food with family and friends.
And it’s not only expats who are rushing out to buy these high-tech portable
cooking machines - many Thais are also developing a taste for food cooked at
Barbecues are becoming one of the latest “must-have” accessories. Houses and
many of the new condominiums dotting the local skyline feature new gas
barbeques on balconies or beside swimming pools. Most of these barbecues are
family size but others are smaller and can fold up against a wall if space
is tight. Prices for smaller gas barbecues start from 4,500 baht for a unit
which folds up and is portable.
Up market villas in Pattaya with pools and salas focusing on an outdoor
lifestyle have substantial barbecues of stainless and granite resembling
outdoor kitchens. These owners are out to seriously impress. They demand the
best in quality and presentation. Although charcoal traditionalists may
disagree, a charcoal filled smoking clay pot covered with wire grate may
look a little out of place at the poolside of a sprawling modern villa!
“When we couldn’t find a decent barbecue in Thailand, I started importing
them,” says Brad McElroy, who opened the Barbecue Store in Thailand twelve
years ago. “I grew up cooking over a charcoal barbecue. But I tired of the
smoke following me around so I switched to the convenience of a gas fired
barbecue where the food is cooked over hot lava or ceramic rocks. The rocks
quickly heat up, temperature is controllable and the food cooked to
So who is buying these barbecues?
“Expatriate customers, particularly families who have moved to Thailand miss
their evening and weekend barbecues.
“Interestingly a lot of our Thai customers who were educated overseas
discovered barbecuing while they were abroad. Or they’ve heard about the
tradition and are keen to try it,” he observed. “My wife who is Thai
questioned why our Thai style grill was suddenly redundant. But guess who
now uses the barbecue almost every day? All sorts of interesting morsels
seem to find their way under the barbecue hood.”
Hotels, restaurants, sports bars and catering companies also offer barbecues
as a special feature dining experience.
Barbecue owners are proud to show off their new lifestyle acquisition. It
doesn’t take long to learn a few basic skills to impress your friends or
family. He (or she!) who controls the “tongs” rules supreme at a barbecue!
Today’s barbecues are state-of-the-art and the latest models feature both
stainless and cast grills and Teppanyaki hotplates, hoods that turn them
into ovens, and a wide range of accessories to make cooking easy and
hassle-free. McElroy advises that with a bit of care, a decent barbecue
should last many, many years. Importantly your supplier should be able to
provide international quality and safety accreditations and back up their
product with decent warranties, service and spares.
Throughout the US, Europe and Australia, gas barbecues are dominating the
scene and Thailand is quickly following. The one thing barbecue lovers agree
on is that there is nothing like a social gathering outdoors based around
freshly cooked food!
The Barbecue Store’s business is expanding in Thailand and surrounding
countries. Although they advertise, most business comes from referrals.
Their top line units are supplied by Barbecues Galore, Australia’s largest
specialist barbecue retailer. They have been in the business many years and
have over 100 outlets.
For more information on where to buy your barbecue in Pattaya, check out the
Barbecue Store website at www.bbqthai.com. The Barbecue Store has outlets in
Phuket, Samui and Hua Hin as well as Bangkok. They also deliver country
Houses and many of the new condominiums dotting
the local skyline feature new gas barbeques on balconies or beside swimming