Learning to BBQ at Hillmount – even in winter!!


Hillmount Garden Centre in the Castlereagh Hills regularly host BBQ academy nights where they teach customers how to get the most out of their Weber BBQ.

In late summer we headed to the Hillmount Garden Centre in Bangor for their first ever Weber BBQ taster session in the town.

And what a night!

In just two hours, we learnt how to properly clean and prepare our BBQ, we learnt how to cook food we never would have tried before on a BBQ, and we learnt that our BBQ isn’t just for when the sun comes out, it’s a year-long thing in rain or shine, and even in the depths of winter.

You don’t even need to be a Weber BBQ owner to learn some key cooking tips. We aren’t, but already we’ve put what we learnt to good use and totally changed the way we BBQ at home.

The top tip which we use most is keeping the grills in tip-top condition by maxing up the heat of the BBQ, with the lid closed of course, and burning off all the fat. Once that is black and powdery, it’ll brush off easily with a metal brush. Then prepare the grill with a rub of oil, close the lid and let the temperature build up again, then you’re ready to cook. At the end of your BBQ, you don’t even need to clean up, just burn off the fat again before you next use it. Which in our BBQ world, that’s only one or two days away.

IMG_9536.JPGOur class was a taster session for the main BBQ Academy course, but we learnt about different barbecue cooking techniques such as cooking directly or indirectly, grilling, roasting, and baking.

The indirect cooking…genius! Baking bread…more genius! Cooking a whole chicken…who knew! Maybe we should try a turkey on Christmas Day.

Seriously, if you want to learn how to use your BBQ in all weather (including this winter) rather than only when the sun shines, this is the course for you.  

Check their website here for BBQ nights, but we hear the next one is the Christmas Weber Chef night on the 12th November at 6.30pm in their Castlereagh garden centre. Starting with a drinks reception before an amazing night with Dan Cooper from Weber’s BBQ Academy in Oxford.

It’s probably already sold out, but worth checking just in case! For more information call 02890 448213

And then as an extra treat, you’ll get 20% OFF all Weber accessories for one night only!

Here are some recipes we got from the team at the Bangor Taster Session.

Happy Winter BBQ’ing.


Cranberry and soy glazed sausages

Makes 50

  • 125 ml cranberry sauce (or red currant jelly)
  • 60 ml sweet chilli sauce
  • 60 ml soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 clementine or similar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 50 cocktail sausages


Heat BBQ to medium heat, place sausages in foil tray, mix remaining ingredients, heat until sugar melts, stir well and pour over sausages. Turn sausages to coat evenly. Place in BBQ for 30 mins turning every 10 mins. They should be hot, brown and sticky. Remove, let cool slightly and serve

Apple Cheddar Pizza with Caramelized Onions & Walnuts

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

A sweet-and-savory pizza topped with maple-sauteed apples, caramelized onions, aged cheddar and walnuts.


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 apple, cored and thinly sliced (Braeburn, Fuji, or Honeycrisp work well)
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 large prepared pizza crust
  • 1 c. shredded aged cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add onion and cook until caramelized, stirring every 5 minutes or so at first and then, as the onions begin to brown, more frequently. This could take from 30 minutes to over an hour, depending on your stove. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  2. Preheat oven to temperature indicated on pizza crust package.
  3. Wipe skillet clean; add butter and melt over medium heat. Once butter has melted, add apple slices and saute for about 10 minutes, or until softened, stirring frequently. Stir in maple syrup and continue cooking until liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat.
  4. Top pizza crust with caramelized onions, shredded cheese, apples, and walnuts. Bake for time indicated on package or until cheese has melted.

Read more here

Char roasted peppers with garlic and balsamic vinegar

This is a scrumptuous snack, light supper or a starter

  • Assorted peppers (red, green orange)
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Good quality bread (Italian, wheaten, or whatever) sliced


  1. Lightly coat peppers with olive oil and place on grill with direct heat. Turn as they blacken until most of the skin is blackened.
  2. Place peppers in a large bowl and cover with cling film. Leave for 10/15 minutes to cool.
  3. Remove from bowl, half the peppers and clean out seeds and white pith, and peel off all the skin
  4. Place in a foil tray, with a generous amount of olive oil, finely chopped garlic and grill for a further 5 mins.
  5. Sprinkle with a generous amount of balsamic vinegar, stir to mix and let cool
  6. Serve on sliced bread

Post Author: Belfast Times

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