Sunny days and nights mean dinner al fresco as often as possible, which makes us very happy (have a look at our YouTube channel for some videos of our National BBQ Week grilling challenge).
However, the rise in people cooking outdoors also means a spike in the number of disposable barbecues being bought, brought to - and left - on the beach, in the woods, or in beautiful grassy parks. Like every outdoor-lover, we believe in the 'leave no trace' philosophy: don't damage the environment you're in, and don't do anything that could cause it harm. We feel strongly about protecting the planet we live on, and we know you do too.
As BBQ season is upon us, we decided to pit the disposable BBQ against our Horizon Stove, which was designed to be a safe, sustainable and eco-friendly option for quick cooking in areas where fuel was scarce. The Horizon is essentially an eco-friendly alternative to a BBQ, with a few bonuses thrown in (it's smokeless once lit, ready to cook on right away, and virtually indestructible).
If you need convincing about the joys - and ease - of cooking sustainably over wood, read on!
The downsides to disposable BBQs:
- They end up in landfill. Disposable barbecues can seem like an easy grab-and-go option, but you can't re-use them, which means all the plastic packaging, and the barbecue itself, end up in landfill. Asda sells over 600,000 of them per year!
- They're far from 'leave no trace': park offices in Scotland collected over 200 disposable barbecues in just one month. A spokeswoman for the council says: "Turf is being burnt and two rubbish wheelie bins have been destroyed by barbecues which were thrown away whilst they were still hot".
- They take a long time to cool down, which makes them difficult to dispose of. Too hot to be thrown in the bin, they often get abandoned on the beach creating more marine litter.
- They're dangerous. During the busy season here in Cornwall we've heard of people burying their disposable barbecues in the sand as they're too hot to throw away, which can be super dangerous for children digging in the sand, and dogs (dogs can smell the fat and will dig them up and try to eat them, which can be fatal).
- It takes a while to be ready to cook on, which is a pain when you've got hungry post-surf mouths waiting to be fed!
...and why we love the Horizon Stove!
- It's super sustainable and almost zero-waste (we're aiming for zero-waste once we've reached our plastic-free packaging goal).
- It's ready to cook on in seconds. Just light it, and get cooking!
- You only need a little fuel to cook your meal: a big handful of kindling, driftwood or twigs. You don't even need to bring fuel with you - send the kids off to forage for kindling while you get everything ready to cook.
- It's super sturdy: you can fit a huge frying pan or Dutch oven on the top, which means you can cook for a big group at once.
- You're not limited to grilling burgers: you can cook a stew, stir fry, pancakes, or even bread. We love using our Netherton griddle plate on top of the Horizon to cook anything from flatbreads to drop scones.
- You can pack it away almost as soon as you're finished cooking. As the Horizon perfoms almost complete combustion there's very little ash left over, so just empty out any that's left in the chamber (making sure any small embers are completely extinguished) and pack it away in its bag.
- You can pick it up while it's lit. You wouldn't believe the number of times this feature has come in handy when it's started pouring with rain halfway through cooking on the beach; being able to move the Horizon under cover has saved our bacon (literally) on numerous occasions.
- Most campsites are happy for the Horizon Stove be used, even when fires are forbidden. Because they're smokeless once lit, they won't bother your neighbours, and they're sturdy and much less likely to be kicked over. They won't burn the ground like a disposable BBQ (although we do recommend placing them on a fire-protective flat surface just to be on the safe side).
We may be biased, but we think the Horizon Stove is a clear winner. They're easy to use, quick to cook on and their environmental impact is super-low, which checks all the boxes for a good bit of camping kit in our book. Disposable barbecues are messy and they create lots of waste - and they can be dangerous and damage the beautiful places they're used it.
We keep our Horizon in the boot of the car, ready for a quick dinner on the beach whenever there's a sunny evening or a morning that needs an outside coffee to start the day off right. We've seen some lovely customer photos of all the adventurous places they've cooked on their Horizon Stove: feel free to send us yours, as well as your favourite Horizon Stove recipes!