Nothing says summer like alfresco dining and the scent of a smokey barbecue.
So to celebrate the summer sun, you may have been thinking about investing in a good quality BBQ. Or you could be looking for one to replace your current grill for next year.
But picking the right one can be tricky. You need to think about how often you’ll be using it, how much you’re willing to spend and the foods you’re likely to make.
This guide to buying a BBQ will help you decide the best model for you.
Where and When Will You Use It?
The more you use your BBQ, the better quality you want it to be. If you’re to go-to for family get-togethers and parties in the summer, you may want to consider a more expensive model with lots of space and a longer warranty.
If you’ll only be using it occasionally, the quality might not be as important. A cheaper, portable option could be best for you. These are usually easy for beginners to use and easy to clean.
The Different Types of BBQ
The main types of barbecues are gas, charcoal, hybrid and portable. Each has its own standouts, and below we highlight the benefits of each to help you decide which is best suited to you.
Gas appliances are usually the more expensive type of BBQ but are generally more convenient to use than charcoal. They’re great for cooking quickly and are easy to use.
The key benefits of choosing a gas barbecue include:
- Quick ignition means you can get cooking in less than 15 minutes.
- You can ensure that food is cooked through easily and burning food is less likely. This is trickier on a charcoal barbecue.
- No need to clean charcoal and it is low maintenance.
- The choice of multiple burners for more space and the option to cook different foods and different temperatures.
- Options for warming racks to help with plating up and keeping foods warm.
Charcoal barbecues are popular for those who like the distinct BBQ flavour. They are usually more suited to BBQ enthusiasts who know their way around a grill, but beginners will still be able to create a tasty meal – a bit of practice will make all the difference.
The standouts for a charcoal barbecue include:
- Perfect for getting the traditional smokey char and distinctive BBQ flavour from the charcoal.
- Can adjust the heat with ease by raising or lowering the grill.
- Removeable ash-catchers can make cleaning up much simpler.
- Easy to light.
For when you can’t decide, or you like parts of charcoal and gas, you can combine the two with a hybrid BBQ.
You should go for a hybrid for these reasons:
- Combine the authentic chargrilled taste from the charcoal with the ease of cooking on a gas grill.
- Best of both grills.
- Quick cooking on the gas setting, or charcoal for that authentic charcoal flavour.
- Due to the ranges of heat, you can use a hybrid BBQ for slow cooking, quick cooking or indirect cooking. You could even use it as a pizza oven.
If you like to go on getaway trips like camping, but still want the ease of cooking things you would do at home, a portable BBQ is the way to go.
Choose portable if you’re looking for:
- Compact, all-in-one for easy transportation. This makes it easy to fit in the back of your car or take on holiday.
- Easy to assemble, so you can spend more time doing things you want to do.
- Cooking for a smaller group of people.
BBQ food is so versatile, there’s such a variety of things you can cook.
When choosing which BBQ to go for, it would be helpful to think about the type of food you will be cooking.
The more varied, the larger barbecue you’re going to need. Having multiple surfaces allows you to cook meat and veg separately, handy for when you have vegetarian or vegan guests. You can also cook different foods at different temperatures whilst other dishes stay warm on warming racks.
However, if you know you’re only going to be cooking the classic burgers, sausages and chicken, with the odd chargrilled corn here and there, multi-surface cooking won’t be on the top of your priority list.
Barbecues without lids aren’t as versatile as ones with a lid. The lid allows you to control the heat more and cook quicker without the disruption of the weather.
Consider having a minimum of three burners, two of which you can use for cooking and another for keeping warm whilst everything else cooks. This is a must-do for those who are usually cooking for multiple people and require more space and size.
You should also take into account the space in your garden and where you will store the BBQ to keep it in good condition. The smaller your space, the smaller the BBQ.