Which Size Barbecue Do I Need?
Charcoal barbecues are usually smaller than gas or electric, so best suited for a small family rather than frequent large gatherings. Every BBQ has a cooking area that is measured in cm², and the recommended size limitations are:
- Up to 4 people – 1800cm²
- Up to 6 people – 2000cm²
- Up to 8 people – 2500cm²+
Think about how much space you have and where you would store the barbecue when not in use. Most are stored outside all year round or in a shed/garage if transportable enough to do so. If you only have a small outdoor area and no storage space, it isn’t ideal to purchase a large gas barbecue which will take up most of your garden.
How Expensive Are Gas and Charcoal?
Electric barbecues are the only type which requires a fuel source which you don’t have to go out and purchase.
Gas is more expensive than charcoal, and how much you spend on gas depends on how much you use it. There are also two types, propane and butane. A 13kg bottle will typically last for 15 cooking hours. Gas is also not as readily available as charcoal, so check there is somewhere accessible to you which sells it before investing in the appliance.
Charcoal is available in lumpwood and briquette. A large bag of around 8-10kg will cost about £12.
As with anything, all items depend on where you buy them, which size you buy and which make you choose.
Which Extras Do I Have to Buy?
For food safety, always buy a thermometer. Even if your barbecue features a thermostat, this only monitors the general temperature inside the appliance and not the temperature of your food.
If your barbecue is going to be stored away over winter months, especially if it is kept outside, you will need a cover. All have suitable ones available, and some even come with the correct cover included in the price.
Most barbecues will need regular cleaning to prevent grease build-up so you may need dedicated cleaning tools.
You may also choose to purchase a chimney if you have a charcoal BBQ, which will heat the coals up quicker and regulate temperature easier.
You will also probably want to purchase dedicated BBQ tongs and other safety products, such as oven mitts and drip trays (if they are necessary).
Which Brands Make The Best Barbecues?
Weber and Outback are the two biggest names in the barbecuing industry, and each has a wide range of appliances available. A lot of general appliance makers, such as those who specialise in ovens and cookers, have also branched into the barbecue industry over the past few years. Most large retailers who sell barbecues also have ranges.