If the warmer weather has given you a taste for eating outdoors, but last year’s barbecue seems to be serving up nothing but a rusty eyesore, it may be time to invest in a new model. Should you choose gas or charcoal? Do you want a half barrel or something so big you could use it to cook your Sunday roast? Here are five tips to help you choose just the right model.
Decide how much you want to spend | There are bargain options such as the 35cm Round Charcoal Barbecue from Argos for £9.99, or you could spend as much as £3,499 on a Weber S670 6-Burner Gas Barbecue from John Lewis. This may seem simple, but make sure that buying a cheap option does not prove to be false economy in the long run. Very cheap charcoal barbecues, for example, are prone to rust and may only last one summer. Would it be worth spending a little bit more to get a model that comes with a 25-year guarantee?
Look at how many people you will be cooking for | For an average family of up to six adults, you should be fine with a two-burner gas barbecue such as the Montana model from Homebase, priced at £129.99, or a medium charcoal grill such as the Kinley Charcoal Kettle Barbecue, £134 from B&Q. Don’t buy a bigger charcoal model than you really need, or you will waste money filling it with charcoal just to get an even cooking space.
Where you want to use your barbecue will influence the type you buy | If you want to use it on a lawn, for example, you will need to ensure that it is sturdy enough that it won’t topple over in the wind. You really don’t want sausages flying all over little feet or your grass turning into something that looks like an Australian forest fire. You may decide you want to use your barbecue in a variety of places, meaning that you should consider a mobile version such as the Weber Smoky Joe Original, £108.80 from Amazon.
How often do you plan to use your barbecue and when? | Living in Britain, the weather has usually got to be a consideration when thinking about barbecuing, unless you are quite content to limit your outdoor cooking to when the forecast looks good. For the greatest flexibility, however, a gas barbecue such as the Ultar Four-burner Gas Barbecue, £150 from B&Q, may be your best choice. These are great for people who want to barbecue regularly and need to know that they will not have to wait for hours for the grill to heat up once the clouds have parted for a while. Being able to switch on and cook is a far better option for many people who don’t want to spend what seems like a whole afternoon waiting for a stack of rocks to turn to ash while their stomachs mimic a grumpy day in the lion enclosure at the zoo.
Think about the type of food you will want to cook on your barbecue | If you want to roast, you will need a model with a close-fitting lid such as the Original Kettle Charcoal Barbecue and Starter Kit, £169 from John Lewis. Perhaps you want the convenience of a side burner to heat up sauces or steam vegetables, such as that offered by the Landmann Premium Two-burner Gas Barbecue with Side Burner, £140 from Debenhams, or would a hot plate be handy for frying eggs or searing steaks? If so, check out the Outback Meteor Three-burner Gas Barbecue, £199.99 from Robert Dyas. Whichever you choose, don’t forget those all-important tongs and accessories – and a cover if you plan to leave it outside.