How to Choose a BBQ

A quintessential part of English summers is a barbecue. As soon as the sun starts to shine the smell of barbecues fill the air, signifying the start of creating delicious flame grilled meals on summer evenings and alfresco dining season. There are so many different options when it comes to choosing a barbecue it can be hard to know which option to choose. If you are a regular barbecue connoisseur and want to invest in a new one, or if you are looking to purchase your first, this guide will help you choose the best option for you.

How To: Choose a BBQ

What should you look for in a BBQ?

Main considerations 

Size

When choosing the size of your BBQ, you need to think about who you are catering for and what types of items you are going to cook. Large joints of meat work well on a standard size grill, but if you are going to be cooking burgers and sausages, you may want a larger grill space and warming rack to keep food warm whilst you are still cooking. For large families and those who like to entertain, a gas BBQ with a grill large enough to accommodate multiple cooking zones tends to work best.

Grills 

Available with different types of grill, depending on your budget, the main materials are usually cast iron or stainless steel. Cast iron grills tend to have a better heat conduction for more even cooking, however stainless steel grills are easier to clean after use and keep rust free. There are pros and cons to both materials but you should again think about what types of food you are going to be cooking. If you are possibly going to be cooking food that would slip through a grill like vegetables, onions or eggs, you may want to consider a model with a griddle or an external side burner where you can use a frying pan or pot. 

Is charcoal or gas better?

The main choice you will have when buying a new BBQ is whether to choose gas or charcoal.  There are pros and cons to both options and ultimately will depend on your preferences.

Charcoal

  • Charcoal BBQs cook with a very distinctive flavour and cooks slower and often leaves food more succulent – you can mimic the flavour on a gas BBQ by adding charcoal wood chips in a smoker box.
  • Takes longer to warm up as the embers need to be piping hot to cook food properly 
  • Some models feature a removable ash catcher for easier cleaning

Gas

  • Tend to have a higher initial cost
  • Allows you to start cooking almost immediately and allows for easier temperature regulation due to burners similar to gas ovens.
  • Can get multiple burners allowing you to cook food at different temperatures together – perfect for large families and gatherings
  • Low maintenance as they are easy to clean and have no ashes to dispose of. However, you will need to empty the drip trays.
  • Push button ignition which provides an instant flame

 

Cost to run

Charcoal

  • Requires bags of charcoal or wood chips as the source of fuel. A 7kg bag, on average costs around £7 to £10 and provides enough fuel for around three BBQs.

Gas 

  • Requires you to purchase gas cylinders which are rented from companies and have to be taken back to be refilled. The cost tends to be around £52 for 11kg and provides around 12 hours cooking time.
How To: Choose a BBQ

Storage

If you have decided that a large BBQ is best suited to your needs, make sure that you also have a suitable storage arrangement for when the summer is over. For large investments you may not want to leave out in all weather conditions so having space in your shed or garage when not in use may be a necessity. If your BBQ is going to be stored outside, a good fitting cover is a wise investment to make sure that you keep it protected from the elements and reduce the cleaning time when you next use your BBQ.

How often you plan to use it

For avid barbeque lovers who plan to use regularly, an investment model that comes with a longer warranty is a good choice. If you only use your barbeque occasionally then a cheaper, portable barbeque may fit your needs better.

Accessories

Food thermometers are a great accessory to add on to make sure food is cooked through, some BBQ hoods incorporate a thermometer to check you are cooking at the right temperature. BBQ utensils are also a great accessory to ensure you are being safe, protecting the surface of your grill and allows you to evenly cook your meals.

Other types of BBQ to consider:

  • Dual fuel – a hybrid barbeque that gives you the best of both worlds, the option of cooking quickly on gas or locking in that distinctive flavour with charcoal.
  • Smokers – specifically designed to give your food wood-smoked flavour, and are available in different fuel types.
  • Pizza ovens – giving you the option to cook homemade pizzas and breads, our range of pizza ovens include the popular Ooni and come in multiple fuel types.
  • Chimeneas and firepits – offer a way to keep warm as well as off the flame grilling.

At Holt Garden Centre we stock a wide selection of barbeques, pizza ovens and firepits, suitable for a wide range of needs and gardens. If you are still unsure of which to pick, need help choosing your accessories or want to enquire about our delivery, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, our friendly team is always happy to help.

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