If you're like most disorganised households, you'll have waited till bank-holiday weekend before realising your old barbecue is too clapped-out for the garden party you're hosting, so now you're rushing to the garden to buy a new one.

The first question you'll need to answer is: gas or charcoal? Gas means instant and easily controllable heat on tap, but is also rather like taking a kitchen appliance into the garden. Charcoal burners can be a fiddle to start, and there's a learning curve measured in blackened burgers as you work out where and when the heat peaks, but...fire!

This is the one chance most of us get for cooking at its fundamental.   OUTBACK SIGNATURE 4 £800 Despite the Australian name, Outback is a British-Chinese brand. Its four burner gas model is designed for serious entertaining you can grill, make sauces or use the rotisserie or griddle; a warming rack allows you to store cooked food; and everything packs away into interior storage.

Move it around on castors (and then lock it in place) to maintain the fantasy you haven't actually bought a range cooker.