Battle of the BBQs - King of the Coals

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Related tags: Royal oak, Meat, Barbecue

For your average Brit, barbecues usually conjure up images of flaming grills and hearty tucker Down Under. But for David Wharton, of the Royal Oak in...

For your average Brit, barbecues usually conjure up images of flaming grills and hearty tucker Down Under.

But for David Wharton, of the Royal Oak in the West Sussex village of Poynings, the secret of his barbecue's success has been found far closer to home.

David's winning dish - best-end of lamb stuffed with honey and peppers, game sausage, grilled aubergine and cherry tomatoes and gooseberry relish, at £11 - uses meat from Poyning's Grange Farm, which is located just behind the Royal Oak. The farm also supplies beef to the pub.

"It's excellent quality, all pedigree meat," said the chef. "I can see the cows from the beer garden - you can't get more fresh than that!"

The pub has been doing excellent trade this summer, regularly recording 200 covers per week from the barbecue. Burgers have proved to be the biggest sellers (around 200 to 300 a week, served inside the pub as well as out) and sausages are also selling well. "They are proper, traditional barbecue food so they are the biggest sellers," he said.

Another advantage of keeping it local when it comes to produce is that costs are reduced. GP averages at 65% to 70%, and the burgers, which are sold for £8, are hand-made at the pub.

David said he was "over the moon" after he scooped the title of PubChef Battle of the BBQs 2005 champion.

He says "Barbecues are fantastic. The smell and the smoke just reminds you of summer."

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