UK BBQ Mag Winter 2016/2017 - Page 48

48

Grillkota - BBQ Huts

What is a grillkota?

A grillkota/grillikota originates from Scandinavia and is a wooden hut with a central fire grate/grill surrounded by sleeping benches. These buildings were originally designed and built by the sami reindeer herders for shelter from the sub zero temperatures faced whilst roaming the mountains and pastures of Northern Lapland.

How/when did you discover them?

In September 2013!! It was Hubby's birthday and I booked a glamping weekend away in a Teepee at Camp Katur in North Yorkshire to celebrate! As well as the usual bell tents, safari tents, yurts you get with glamping sites they also had these fantastic 'hobbit houses' in the woods and I was soooo smitten I asked Kerry (the owner) what they were and where you could buy one and well the rest is history!

How long have you had yours?

Since Feb/March 2014, it was ordered/delivered via Camp Katur/Viking Industrier and it arrived on a pallet in kit form on a huge lorry, we had to manually unload it with the help of friends/neighbours and ended up storing it in pieces for a number of weeks in the garage/shed/house in sections until we got good enough weather one weekend to build it.

What inspired you to set up the Grillkota Owners Club?

I had joined numerous facebook groups to do with my lifestyle/hobbies so I actually assumed they would be a 'ready made' version out there for me to join....alas I was wrong! I really wanted to connect with other people who also had a grillkota and see what they were doing to really get the most out of our new purchase so I decided to set up a group myself and then I spent a lot of time getting UK retailers to promote the group by asking them to post a link on their pages/websites so customers past/present could join...it worked!

How much does a grillkota cost to buy?

It really depends on size, style, installation services, accessories and optional extras... the most popular size for the average UK garden is 7m2-10m2 - prices start from around £3k for a self-build project but naturally the price will increase if you wish to have an installation service and add on accessories.

Do you need planning permission to erect a grillkota in your garden?

Only if you want to install within 2m of a boundary in England and 1m in Scotland. If you live in a listed building or within a National Park other restrictions may apply so it's always best to check with your local planning office first and talk to neighbours too! In fact to date we've not had a member whose planning application has been declined prior to installation. A member did have a retrospective application declined but it was won at appeal.

How is the Central BBQ set up?

The central tundra grill traditionally sits over ventilation pipes which run underneath the grillkota floor to the outer perimeter of the hut. A telescopic, adjustable chimney hood and flue usually supported by chains or poles is positioned above the fire grate and vents out the peak of the roof with a chinaman's hat flue cap. Depending on the style of kota you buy the grill comes with various attachments usually one for hanging a kettle/dutch oven, a rotating griddle and pot stand. Most members improvise and introduce their own creations too!

Issues with smoke/CO2/fire risk??

Essential kit for a grillkota is a CO2 alarm/detector, fire blanket and foam extinguisher, better to be safe than sorry. Some retailers will supply these items in an accessory pack but they can be bought individually on the High Street and online. Smoke issues/sparking can be a problem for many new owners, there is an art to fire building/BBQ starting, problems are usually down to human error. I recommend only using good quality kiln dried ash or birch logs and/or restaurant grade lumpwood/charcoal. Always worth investing in a Weber Chimney Starter, a good pair of welders type gloves and one of those cheap water spray bottles is handy to have on hand too, just in case!

Popular foods cooked in Grillkota??

Pretty much anything that can be cooked in a kitchen can be cooked in a Grillkota. Amongst members the rotisserie and dutch oven are hugely popular for roasting meats, cooking up belly warming casseroles and baking breads. The pizza oven boxes and large paella pans are also worthwhile additions. It's not often you see members cooking the typical burger, sausages and chicken drumsticks, BBQ'ing has evolved into a much more an alfresco dining experience of fine food and entertaining and that's why so many are investing in a grillkota as it allows you to BBQ in comfort all year round.

How has owning Grillkota improved your life??

It has probably paid for itself in terms of what we've saved by entertaining family/friends at home rather than going to the pub or dining out. It's kinda a pub shed/summerhouse/extra dining room/kitchen/sanctuary all rolled into one! You can plan a BBQ party without even looking at the weather forecast. It's the best stress reliever money can buy. We've had the most wonderful lazy mornings in there with a cooked breakfast, afternoon teas, it's not just used in the evening or at weekends. I completely understand how these buildings became so popular in Scandinavia with their lifestyle trend revolving around the concept of Hygge. A grillkota is for me the definition of Hygge... it brings family and friends together but you can equally get the enjoyment alone, I regularly just relax in there by myself but still feel 'hugged' by the cosiness of the building and how relaxing it is.

What advice would you give to someone looking to buy a grillkota??

Join the group and just do it!! People often have reservations about the cost but when you think about the long term benefits they are fantastic value for money and don't depreciate in value like most luxuries.

Cosied up in the winter with a fire blazing, some good food cooking in front of you, surely there's not many things in life as good...which is why we had to have a chat with Michelle Dunn of the Grillkota Owners Club Facebook Group, to tell us a little more about these gorgeous little huts...