For most of us the reality of eating outdoors does not always equal a fun-packed time. If you’re not dodging wasps and other insects then you’re getting sunburnt or rained on while waiting endlessly for some blackened piles of mush that use to resemble food to be dropped on to your paper plate.

But now you can forget all that because al fresco dining has just taken a big leap forward in the shape of a range of new in-built barbecues and accessories from American barbeque firm Fire Magic.

The company has discovered that the art of successful and enjoyable outdoor dining is about more than having a good barbeque. The discerning al-fresco diner wants not just a gleaming, state-of-the-art built-in barbecue but also a full range of up-to-the-minute appliances, including fridges, power burners and bar caddies, all to hand in the garden.

Despite last year’s terrible summer in the UK, the company’s luxury built-in and portable barbecues continue to sell at an incredible rate. It is a trend that Fire Magic director, Craig Ormiston, believes reflects our growing passion for outdoor entertaining.
“Since we introduced the Fire Magic range to the UK market in 2005, we have experienced phenomenal growth in sales,” he says. “These premium products allow customers, architects and specifiers to design fully equipped outdoor kitchens. There is no doubt that there has been a shift to outdoor living here in the UK. We forecast our sales continuing to grow at similar levels as this trend continues.”

Americans have been enjoying the benefits of these barbeques for some time now, as Fire Magic has been one of the market-leading premium barbecue companies in the US for many years. Finally it’s our chance to try these products in the UK, as the company has branched out across the Atlantic to bring us its next-generation barbecues as well as an extensive range of accessories to create an entire outdoor kitchen.

Constructed in heavy-duty stainless steel, with commercial-grade burners, griddles and ovens, Fire Magic barbecues come with a lifetime warranty on all stainless steel parts, including burners.

You can have your own original barbecue made to your own specifications as the company, based near Sevenoaks in Kent, offers the option of a full design, build and installation service. Fire Magic’s built-in barbecues can be set into granite work surfaces, stand-alone islands or specially designed enclosures. A full range of accessories, including stainless steel side burners, drinks caddies, rotisseries and cupboards can be added to create everything you could want in an outdoor kitchen.

Fire Magic client Dave Garbett uses his top-of-the-range outdoor kitchen to entertain family and friends year-round at his home near West Malling in Kent. “I love outdoor entertaining and having an outdoor kitchen means our social life definitely revolves around the garden,” he says. “With everything to hand, I don’t even need to pop in and out of the house. I had a hot tub installed a few years ago, but it’s become rather redundant now, as I prefer to spend most of my time outdoors at the grill.”

Fire Magic barbecues are available in built-in or portable format and can run on either natural or propane gas. Prices range from £1,500 to £5,000 (before installation).