Our Editorial Process

There’s no single right way to grill or BBQ. We’re here to help you discover the right equipment and techniques to develop and succeed at your own preferred style of outdoor cooking.

BBQ equipment and cooking ingredients are expensive. So we’re all too aware that what we advise can impact not only your enjoyment of outdoor cooking and make or break a social event but also your finances.

And we understand everyone is different, with individual preferences and needs.

Some people love cooking over charcoal, while others quickly knock up food on a gas grill. Some only wish to grill sausages and burgers, while others want to tackle and master traditional BBQ recipes and the most complex, new, and innovative dishes.

We’re also acutely aware that online searches for BBQ equipment reviews and BBQ and grilling techniques can throw up all sorts of false claims and incorrect info from people who are all but guessing and who have no actual experience or expertise.

You need authentic, fact-checked, expert-written, credible advice from experienced people who know what they are doing, can teach it, and care about the quality of the advice they are giving.

This is why we at FoodFireFriends feel it is our duty to hold ourselves to the highest standards. Work hard to give you the most accurate and actionable information and support you with trusted advice.

So we thought you’d like to know how we produce our content, select the products we review and recommend on our site, and ensure our recipes and how-to content are factually correct, easy to follow, and guide you to excellent results.

General Publishing Principles

Our sole mission is to help you grill and BBQ better. To achieve this, what follows is a set of principles for guiding content production on our site and across our social media channels.

Take Responsibility

Reaching thousands of visitors daily, we have a duty to ensure that everything we put out is as good as possible. Our advice can result in wasted time and money, which are rare resources for many.

We must ensure we never recommend inferior equipment, that our reviews are honest, and that we discuss the good and the bad so that you can make informed buying decisions.

And our recipes and cooking guides must be based on facts and experience. Meat and ingredients are expensive, and some recipes take over 10 hours to cook. So before we put out a recipe or tutorial for a cooking technique, we must have thoroughly tested it ourselves. The results must be of the highest quality, repeatable, and easy to follow.

And when it comes to facts and science, we must ensure we use only the best research, cite only the most reliable sources, and continually fact-check our content.

Sometimes the odd thing may slip through the net. So we are always updating content, looking for ways to improve, and striving for consistent high-quality.

After all, our success depends on your success. You will only revisit our site and read our content if it’s truly remarkable. So this is always our goal.

Be the Experts

There are many outdoor cooking websites that, within seconds of visiting, you can tell the authors have barely ever touched a BBQ or grill.

It’s easy for people to pick a topic, study a handful of high-ranking sites, and rewrite what they find to produce a credible-looking article.

But an expert who has walked the walk, cooked dozens of briskets, had successes and failures, and learned from what they have experienced and found did not write this content. And it shows.

We will only ever produce this kind of expert-written content that comes from experience at FoodFireFriends.

Our team will always be well-vetted to ensure they have a wealth of BBQ and grilling experience before we let them onto our team, so they can add their expert voice and discuss things they have been through, learned from, and are qualified to talk on.

We will fervently avoid being ‘just another cookie-cutter content site based on BBQ’ by being a team of experts with decades of hands-on experience.

Be All Inclusive

Sadly, there’s a lot of ‘BBQ snobbery’ in the world.

Multiple times daily, in Facebook groups and forums, people ask for advice and are met with a barrage of abuse simply because they use a pellet grill. Or a gas grill. Or an automatic temperature controller.

“That’s not BBQ! You might as well use your kitchen oven!” Versions of this echo throughout BBQ community discussions endlessly.

Well, we are different. The team at FoodFireFriends sees cooking outdoors as a way to bring people together. It’s in our site name: FoodFireFriends = Great food, cooked over live fire, shared with friends.

I, Mark Jenner, the owner of this site, love sitting by the pit with some music, some friends, and a beer or five as I manage a solid fuel fire and cook food low and slow for many hours. It’s an excellent, relaxing time that I genuinely enjoy.

But I am also a working man, a father of two, and have hobbies.

So you will sometimes see me use a gas grill to knock up a meal quickly. Or load up a pellet grill I can monitor and control from the park while my daughter plays. Or attach an automatic temperature controller to one of my Kamado grills as a brisket cooks overnight, so I can sleep easy and remove all chance of ruining a hugely expensive piece of meat.

I use all types of equipment that run on various fuels.

So there will be no BBQ snobbery here! None in the content on this site or in any of our social media communities.

We are all-inclusive and will avoid and filter out all abuse and negativity. We will not tolerate any condescending attitudes toward equipment and ingredient choices.

If you cook outside, you are welcome here, and we strive to help you enjoy doing so, whatever your equipment choices and preferences.

No AI Generated Content

It’s no secret that AI has taken the writing world by storm. AI writing tools can produce articles of thousands of words at the push of a button. It’s an incredible tool, but one we will avoid using at FoodFireFriends.

We want to produce helpful, people-first content written by humans, for humans. We want to tap into expert knowledge that can only come from people with experience in BBQ.

In line with this, we will not be using any automatically generated content using AI on our site. It is strictly against our guidelines to produce or publish AI content.

Continued Self-Learning And Improvement

The world of BBQ is fast-moving, with new brands, equipment, technologies, cooking techniques, and popular viral recipes coming out all the time.

With this in mind, we give all team members at FoodFireFriends BBQ magazine subscriptions, send them books on the topic, and pay them a few hours weekly to read the latest BBQ news on websites, online forums, groups, and communities.

This keeps us well informed with up-to-date knowledge, keeps our fingers on the pulse, and ensures we offer the best and latest advice.

Regular Content Review and Updates

We encourage team members to drop comments, text snippets, links to new findings, and interesting information into our central repository for consideration when updating existing articles.

Then, every few weeks, we have a team member go through these notes and visit existing content, where they make changes to reflect the most up-to-date research and information available.

Also, every piece of content added to or changed at FoodFireFriends is read and reviewed by at least three people before publishing. We have the original author, an editor, and Mark, the site owner, who all read, edit, fact-check, and add to each article to ensure it is comprehensive, accurate, helpful, and can be trusted.

We rigorously research every statement of fact to ensure it is correct, with sources and citations linked to when deemed necessary.

We also recently added a little rating widget with a feedback form at the end of all articles, so any reader can rate our content and then provide feedback that feeds into our constant efforts to review and update content.

So if you read a piece of content and find a factual error or inconsistency, please leave us feedback so we can make any required corrections.

How We Review Products

A large part of what we do at FoodFireFriends is review and recommend products.

We spend countless hours researching and using products to publish what we find in product reviews, product comparisons, and buying guides that recommend the best of what’s available in the world of BBQ and grilling.

BBQ equipment is expensive and can represent a sizeable financial investment, so we take our role in product reviews and recommendations seriously.

We always try to physically own, use, and extensively test the products we review in the environments for which they were made, in our homes, or while traveling.

The process we follow to find the best products for your BBQ adventures is the following nine essential steps:

  1. Research the product category
  2. Select and then research the chosen product
  3. Study the product and brand reputation
  4. Investigate marketing claims
  5. Understand product positioning
  6. Research existing user reviews
  7. Get our hands on the product
  8. Use and test the product
  9. Write our review

Every product we physically review goes through all nine steps. It is comprehensive and results in valuable information that applies to real-world use and fair ratings and assessments by our team.

We occasionally recommend products we haven’t been able to get our hands on, and we detail what we do here in a section below.

For now, let’s expand a little on our 9-step process so you can see what we go through to select and review products on this site.

Research the Product Category

Before reviewing any product, we spend time researching the product category to know what a product should be able to do, what features we can expect, and how a product stands up feature-wise, price-wise, and quality-wise compared to competing products.

Select and Then Research the Chosen Product

There is no point in us reviewing a product that nobody is interested in. So after researching the product category, we then select a product making sure it is at least modestly popular and that readers want to know how it stands up in testing.

We then gather as much information as possible on the product from multiple sources.

Study the Product and Brand Reputation

We first look at the product itself, and then the brand it comes from, to get an understanding of things such as:

History and Reputation

Does the brand have a positive or negative history of producing quality products? How about customer service and support? Recall history?

Is the brand well-established and likely to be around for the long term?

Is the brand seen to have a good or bad reputation with consumers?

Marketing Claims

What does the manufacturer say about the product? What are their claims regarding capabilities, features, build quality, benefits, characteristics, and product performance?

Brands need to hype up their products to stand out and sell them, so we need to see how well a product stands up against any claims made.

Product Positioning and Target Market

Who is the product aimed at?

Typically a product will be either entry-level, mid-tier, or high-end, with features, build quality, and a price to match.

We must know this to set expectations and ‘compare apples to apples.’ For example, we cannot judge a $100 grill against a $2,000 grill.

And we also want to review products across all price points so that we can recommend everything from budget options to premium products on our site.

Research Existing User Reviews

Reviews from owners and users of a product are a rich source of information that can highlight features, benefits, and issues that we might otherwise not know about.

There can be patterns of problems that we need to look out and test for, but also unique insights into how to use a product to get the best out of it.

So we extensively scour both positive and negative user reviews, and even sometimes reach out to these owners to dig a bit deeper and get to more deeply understand a product and user experiences.

We also dig into discussions on BBQ forums and Reddit threads about a product, which are a rich vein of information on many products.

Get Our Hands on the Product

We order products in the same way anyone does, by going through the website and purchasing it.

We do this anonymously, so we get the same buying experience as anybody else and no preferential treatment.

This lets us experience and report on the checkout process, delivery times, and packaging quality.

Use and Test the Product

Once we have the product, we use it and put it to the test. We try to standardize what we do to compare products like for like, but it varies according to the product category. Typically we:

  • Unbox a product to evaluate the quality of its packaging, how long and complex the assembly is, and check for overall build quality.
  • Use the product to see if it does what it is designed to do.
  • Check how well it does at different tasks compared to competing products.
  • Test every single feature it has.
  • Compare to any marketing claims.
  • Test out any features or issues that we discovered from the feedback found in user reviews that does not appear in marketing claims or user manuals.

We then document our findings.

Write Our Review

Our reviews are written once we have completed a series of tests and analyzed all the claims about the product.

We take multiple photographs during unboxing, assembly, and use, documenting overall performance and all the little details and specifications.

We then form an overall opinion on how we see the product before scoring it across different categories, such as:

  • Design — How does it look, feel, and how does the design affect use and performance?
  • Performance — How effectively does it perform each available feature? How successfully does it accomplish what it’s designed to do?
  • Build Quality — How good are the materials used? How well-designed are the fixtures and fittings? Will it comfortably survive constant use in the way intended? How long will it last?
  • Ease of use — How easy and intuitive is the product to use?
  • Overall value — Considering all the above, is it worth the money paid? How does it stand up against competing products for overall value?

We then document all of our findings, try to help readers by detailing what we like, what could be improved, and the pros and cons, and arm you with all the information necessary to see if the product meets your needs.

Ultimately, we aim to help you decide if the product is the right fit for you, as what’s suitable for one person isn’t necessarily right for another.

Disclosure of Free Products

Occasionally we are offered free products in exchange for a review.

If we receive a product for free, we disclose this fully right at the top of the review, so you know this has happened.

We assure you that this never affects how we report on a product, and we maintain honesty and integrity in everything we write. If we find anything negative to say about a product, we do so, and we never let the fact that we received the product for free influence us.

We Work in Your Best Interests, Not for Financial Gain

If you buy a product through a link on our site, there is a high chance we earn a small commission, but at no extra cost to you.

However, as detailed in our affiliate disclosure, we never recommend a product purely for financial gain. This goes against what we stand for in our mission to help people, is easy to see through, and would be a surefire way to lose reputation and readers.

We do, in fact, recommend and link to many products for which there is no affiliate program that, if you go on to buy, we make no commission on. This is fine by us so long as we have made the correct recommendations and helped people first and foremost.

The way we see it, good things come from putting readers first. Be as helpful and honest as possible, putting the reader’s best interests first, and the rest falls into place.

If We Cannot Get Our Hands on a Product

We may not always physically test every product we review. This can be for any of the following reasons:

  • Low popularity — If something isn’t popular or in demand, it’s too much work for too little gain.
  • Prohibitively expensive — Some products cost many thousands of pounds. We only have limited resources.
  • Product similarity — If a product is only a small iteration on or incredibly similar to something we have already tested and reviewed, there’s little need to purchase a new one. We can simply report on the small changes.

In these cases, we base our review on the in-depth research processes described above but do not purchase and test the product.

We still see this as valuable and helpful content, though, as it takes many hours to do such research, saving you time and effort, and results in informative and helpful content that aids you in decision-making.

We Take Your Feedback Into Consideration

As we discussed earlier, we recently added a ‘rating widget’ to the end of every post that, after you rate the article pops up with a little feedback form where you can provide feedback to us.

We often have people read our reviews, rate them, and offer feedback from their experiences using a product.

This is valuable information from real-life product use, and we consider this feedback when updating reviews to include opinions from a diverse set of users with different experiences.

You can also tell us what you like or dislike about a content piece, which may shape the future of how we review products, what tests we perform, and what information we include in a write-up.

This adds tremendous value to us and our readers, so please use this feature!

What We Never Do

First and foremost, we never post any content that has not been thoroughly researched and fact-checked. Everything goes through the process we have described above.

We know our advice can affect you financially, make or break a meal or a social event, so it’s our editorial responsibility to ensure everything we post is of the highest standards.

Secondly, we never accept sponsorship fees.

We have been approached a few times with offers of payment to review a product or to add a product to or feature a product higher in our roundups and product comparisons, but we refuse these offers outright every time.

Again, we feel it is our editorial duty to only feature products we feel truly deserve it. We never want to risk our decisions and reporting being influenced in any way. Helping you is way more important than financial gain.

You can trust the advice you find at FoodFireFriends!

Have you any Feedback or Questions?

If, after reading the above, you have any feedback or questions on our core values or editorial process, please e-mail them to us at mailto:[email protected]. Or visit our contact page for other ways to contact us.