This content originally appeared on Mashable for US audiences and has been adapted for UK audiences.
We Brits are good at a lot of things. Queuing, apologizing and generally being awkward. We are well trained. However, we don’t have much experience with the sun. When the clouds part occasionally and the sun provides much-needed rays, we tend to have a collective (but not literal) meltdown. And what better way to celebrate a bit of sunshine than to fire up the barbecue?
THE first sign of summer and it’s almost as if the Brits are contractually obligated to bring out their barbecue. It’s a watertight deal. We have no choice in the matter. So, with summer (or what’s happening for the UK summer) on the horizon, it’s time to buy or upgrade the summer essential: the barbecue.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options – top brands like Everdure, Weber and Char-Broil – but that doesn’t make it easy to choose. Grills are a hot topic, and it’s easy to go cold if you’re blindsided by the jargon, features, and too much choice. That’s why we’re here to help. Here is a quick guide to buying a barbecue.
Charcoal or gas barbecues — what is the best?
This is the ultimate question. Well, when it comes to barbecue at least. Charcoal barbecues are of course the classic version – and give that distinctive smoky, grilled taste. They also need fewer extras than gas barbecues, which means they are also generally less expensive. But they can be difficult to light and take much longer to reach the right temperature. They are also much more difficult to clean.
Gas barbecues are easier and faster to use. They’re usually ready to cook in 10 minutes or less and have easily controllable temperature dials, not to mention other fancy, modern features. They don’t have that authentic barbecue taste though, unless they have flavor bars. And the added convenience will hit you right in the wallet.
It all comes down to personal preference: it’s taste versus convenience. Or you could meet halfway and get a gas-charcoal hybrid. Whatever you choose, everything is tasty.
How big is a barbecue?
You can file this one next to “How long does a piece of string last?” There’s no clear answer, but charcoal grills tend to be much smaller. In fact, there are extremely portable options, meaning you can take them camping or even to the park. Gas grills tend to be larger pieces of kits. They are more like an oven on wheels and are generally suitable for larger gardens.
Ask yourself some questions related to storage. Where will you keep your barbecue? In the garden all year round, under a protective cover? Or are you going to run it in and out of the garage every summer? Size your outdoor space before making a decision.
What are the important features to consider when buying a barbecue?
It’s not just about gas and coal. There are plenty of other features to consider. Here are a few that might seal the deal for you:
Cooking space — It’s true, cooking space is always limited. The space can take the form of side tables, condiment holders and even hooks for your tools – anything that helps maximize your barbecue space.
Burners — When it comes to space, the number of actual burners (which you’ll find included on gas grills) is crucial. Big family? In this case, four or even more burners may be required. Extra griddles and side burners are also a bonus.
Grease collection trays — Cleaning a barbecue can be a job in itself. That’s why grease traps are super useful. They can also reduce the amount of boost you get from flames.
Hood — If a barbecue has a hood, it immediately ups your griddle game. This allows you to roast or grill. Especially good for cooking whole chickens.
Keep these things in mind when shopping for an upgrade.
What is the best barbecue?
We’ve researched all the offers and highlighted a selection of the best models for you and your garden. We’ve considered price, size, cooking speed, fuel access and more, so you don’t have to. Just choose a favorite.
These are the best barbecues for 2023.