There is nothing quite like a sizzling barbecue in the summertime. Feasting on those sizzling meats while basking in the sunshine is a classic way to while away those sunny weekend afternoons. However, buying a barbecue that is big enough and hot enough, while not breaking the bank, can be a tricky business.
In order to make your summer a sizzle, you're going to need some advice. Just because a barbecue costs over £300 doesn't necessarily mean it's the best. Read on and let this guide help walk you through the barbecue buying process.
Charcoal is a great choice for barbecue enthusiasts as they cook at searing high temperatures, sealing in the juices of the meat and creating that smoky flavour that epitomizes barbecued food. While charcoal grills do take longer to heat up than gas grills, they do at least suffer less flare ups.
Propane and natural gas barbecues offer and easy ignition, fast heat up speeds and a high level of BTU's (British Thermal Units) than charcoal barbecues. You can also benefit from advanced, individual controls, with multiple burners that can be set at different temperatures, allowing the simultaneous cooking of different meats at different temperatures. Natural gas has one advantage over propane in that, because they are connected through a line to your mains supply, you will never again worry about running out of fuel. Both types of gas barbecue also come with additional features such as back burners, side burners, temperature gauges and storage space
Just perfect for camping, a portable charcoal barbecue offers convenience, flexibility and great taste with its compact design.
As with any expensive purchase, you should always consider carefully the features that you think are necessary and which ones you can do without. There is a big difference in price from most basic portable models to advanced, multiple gas burner barbecues.
The first thing you should decide upon is the kind of fuel you want to use. Do you want a charcoal barbecue, and with it the natural, smoky flavours that you just can't replicate with gas burners? The downside to charcoal burners however is they are more difficult to cook with, requiring skill to manipulate the coals. Also, charcoal grills are slower to heat up and can be difficult to light.
If you opt for an easier gas barbecue, you will need to decide between propane and natural gas. Or you could even opt for a more expensive model that allows both methods. You will need a gas line if you want to use natural gas, and though they are often more expensive, if you plan on using your barbecue often it can save you a lot of money and trips to buy propane bottles in the long run.
After deciding upon the type of barbecue you want, you will need to choose the model that is the best size for you. Consider the kinds of food you will want to cook, and how many people you will be cooking for. If you want to cook a whole chicken or 20 burgers at a time then you will want a large grill. However, if you only plan to cook for 3 or 4 people, a smaller grill should suffice.
Another consideration if you are buying a gas barbecue is the BTU rating, a measure of the heat the burner creates. Remember that a high BTU rating doesn't automatically mean a barbecue will be hotter, as the grill size and material also factor into it. You should compare the BTU rating with the size and type of grill, as sometimes smaller barbecues with lower BTU's can produce more heat than larger ones
The material, thickness and quality of your barbecue are the deciding factors in how long it will last you. Additionally, an equally big factor is how well you take care of it. A well cared for barbecue can last you a very long time regardless, but certainly a more expensive model will be more resistant to wear and tear.
You'll need to consider what features you need and what you can live without. Again, this will depend on the types of food you want to cook and how many people you want to cook for. Features such as a side burner, rotisserie burner, smoker box and lights are all great, but they also come at a cost so you need to decide how necessary they are.
Ceramic Briquettes - These are heat radiant materials commonly used in gas barbecues.
Chimney Starter - The metal cylinder where you place the fire starting coals in a charcoal barbecue.
Side Burner - A small burner on the side of the barbecue for cooking foods that should not be grilled.