If you’re looking to have a grilliant time but don’t know where to start when it comes to buying a barbecue, we’ve got the sizzling hot details you need.
Pros: Faster to start than charcoal grills. Once the gas canister is safely attached, you can get cooking in around 5 minutes. They’re also have simple, adjustable heat controls, which makes it easier to cook food evenly without burning. Because there’s no ash and no embers, cleaning up is pretty quick and easy too. Just make sure everything is cool before tidying everything away!
Cons: In addition to buying the gas needed, there might be an additional fee for the rental of the canister needed to contain the gas. BUT, once you’ve hired the canister, you’ll only pay for the gas refills as needed.
Pros: Cooking with charcoal or wood fuel gives you a more ‘authentic’ barbecuing experience, along with the characteristic smokey flavour. You can get small sized versions (like kettle barbecues) which makes them portable enough for camping.
Cons: Wood and charcoal barbecues take around 20 minutes to reach cooking temperature, so you need to employ a bit of planning for mealtimes. There’s less temperature control than with gas as burning charcoal means only one cooking temperature. You’ll need to move the grill up or down to control how much heat your food is exposed to.
Does size matter?
Realistically, how many people are you going to be cooking for on a regular basis? It might be tempting to go straight for the larger models so you can host a legendary garden party for the whole street, but if you’re most likely to be cooking for a family of 4, scale back your dreams of being grillmaster for the neighbourhood. You can use a smaller space creatively if and when you’re cooking for a larger group, start cooking earlier and use a warming rack to keep pre-cooked food warm until you’re ready to serve all.
A barbecue will usually indicate its grill surface size so you’ll know how much room there is to prepare your meat and vegetables. To cook 12 burgers at once you’ll need around 50cm² of surface area, so it depends on what you want to grill and in what volume.
Also keep your eyes peeled for…
♦ A lid or hood. They create an enclosed oven-like space, allowing more even heat distribution.
♦ A temperature gauge. You need to know when your BBQ reaches the right cooking temperature, and it’ll track of cooling after use.
♦ Multiple burners and individual burner controls. So you can heat and manage tempertatures separately.
♦ Side burners. Great for preparing extra bits and pieces, e.g. vegetables and sides.
♦ Griddles or grill trays. To cook smaller items that would fall through the bars of a barbecue (like bacon, vegetables or fish).
♦ A warming rack. Handy for keeping cooked food warm until ready to be eaten.
♦ Accessories – namely tongs, a fork and a spatula. They’re essential for turning food without burning yourself, as is an apron. Hot oil splashes can burn skin and ruin clothes.
Why are you still reading this? Get out there and treat your family to a Barbecue >