Buying a BBQ: The Expert Guide

The sun’s out and that means BBQ season is officially upon us. Yes, we need absolutely no convincing to get those shorts and sandals out, crack open the Pimms and fire up the BBQ. And there’s nothing that shouts summer lovin’ better than al fresco dining.

Having a spontaneous evening just the two of you? Or hosting a garden party for friends? Whatever the occasion, if you’re planning on buying a BBQ then look no further.

Discover your perfect grill and learn to assemble, clean and care for it properly. This expert guide will help you cook up a feast, come rain or shine.

Where should I start? Things to consider

Sticky, honey-glazed ribs, fresh, griddled veggies and spicy sausages. We reckon everything tastes better barbecued. But with such a variety of different types of bbq out there, it can be a minefield just knowing where to begin. So, let’s start with the basics.

How often do you intend on using your BBQ?

Lots
Are you BBQ-mad? Do you plan to be grilling regularly all-summer (and perhaps winter) long? If the answer’s yes and you plan to use your barbecue a lot, then we’d recommend splurging on one of our premium picks. It’s an investment that will last you longer and there’s always the option of group gifting to spread the cost.

Every now and then
Alternatively, if you’re looking to buy a barbecue for more occasional use, then it may be worth choosing a cheaper alternative. Our budget-friendly picks are typically much more portable, easy-to-clean and crucially won’t break the bank.

Types of BBQ

Gas, charcoal, smokers, kamado, pizza ovens - the list goes on! It can be super confusing making sense of which kind of grill to choose. That’s why we’ve rounded up this sizzling selection of barbecues by type and price so you can make an informed decision and enjoy the taste of summer all-year-round.

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Gas powered barbecues

Typically on the pricier end of the scale, gas powered BBQs are speedy to fire up and a little less messy than charcoal. The real superpower of a gas barbecue is its ability to cook food evenly. They’re low maintenance, easy to clean, and temperatures are easy to adjust. You’ll need to factor in the cost of gas canisters but you’d be silly not to consider the gas barby as a serious contender.

Why not try… Forno Medio Gas Grill, Morso

Morso are the experts at creating modern, ultra-stylish gas grills. Not just a BBQ but a striking statement piece for your outdoor space, its futuristic spherical silhouette is moulded from aluminium with a solid cast iron grill grid coated in non-stick enamel. Enjoy not only the control and precision of a gas BBQ but beautiful, innovative design.

Charcoal BBQs

Unsurprisingly, charcoal barbecues use (yes, you guessed it) charcoal as their fuel source. We love their ability to create that classic, criss-cross aesthetic and smoky flavour in particular. Relatively easy to light, they can reach higher temperatures than gas BBQs and you can avoid handling gas canisters (if you’d rather not). Typically these grills come in either the kettle or barrel shape.

Why not try… Original Kettle E-5710 Charcoal Barbecue, Weber

Recognised around the world, the iconic Original Kettle charcoal barbecue is loved by barbecue heroes everywhere. Updated features such as the One-Touch Cleaning System with deep ash catcher makes cleaning out spent ash hassle-free, while the integrated tool hooks provide easy access to barbecuing tools.

Kamado BBQs

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of tasting food fresh from a kamado bbq, then you really haven’t lived. Originating from Japan and known for its versatility, the kamado lets you grill, smoke and roast. You name it, the kamado can do it. Quick to get going and providing excellent temperature control, there’s lots to love about these egg-shaped grills.

Why not try… Large Acacia Table Bundle, Big Green

Perfect for group gifting, this kamado bbq bundle is worth the splurge. Whether you’re wanting to whip up an authentic wood-fired pizza, a seared steak, perfect vegetables or that Sunday roast – you can do it all with this premium pick. It’s even big enough to fit a 20lb Turkey at Christmas! A cook and serve station all-in-one, the Big Green Egg's Acacia Table is crafted from premium hardwood and provides a beautiful-yet-ample working and serving area. We recommend this one for couples who love to entertain.

Portable BBQs for total freedom

Want to take your grill on your next adventure? Well, now you can grill on the go thanks to the development of next-generation portable grills. More eco-friendly than disposable trays, these stylish alternatives can be used almost anywhere.

Why not try… Studio Table BBQ, Berghoff

Cooking brings people together. So, if you’re looking to create a truly social dining experience then you’ll need the Studio Table grill as your centrepiece. Each guest can grill their own food exactly how they like it.

Take your BBQ to the beach or to your favourite picnic spot - the convenient carrying strap makes this super easy. Set up in no time and you’re ready for grilling in an instant thanks to the adjustable airflow.

Budget BBQs

Looking for great taste at a fraction of the cost? If cost is the most important factor in your search for the perfect BBQ, then never fear. We’ve rounded up a selection of our best budget-friendly BBQs, all coming in at under £150. Pay less without compromising on quality.

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Budget BBQ's

Our pizza oven picks

The popularity of pizza ovens is ‘on the rise’. And it’s no surprise why. Pizza ovens have seen somewhat of a ‘glow up’ in recent years.

Coming in a range of shapes and sizes, portable or permanent, they can be fueled by gas, wood, pellets and charcoal. For a quick pizza, go for gas. Or choose a charcoal pizza oven for a more smoky flavour.

Why not try… Gas Powered Pizza Oven, Koda 12, Ooni

This nifty oven by Ooni Koda fires out jaw-dropping pizzas in 60 seconds flat. Delicious, restaurant-quality pizzas cooked at home? Yes, please! It’s also super compact and ready to use right out of the box. The ideal accompaniment to any garden party.

Smokers for those who prefer it slow and low

Unlock a new realm of flavour, a unique culinary experience and some damn good food. Smokers can be gas-powered, charcoal, offset, pellet or electric. We could write a whole guide dedicated to the smoker! For an unbeatable, smoky flavour and easy temperature control, a smoker could be the perfect pick for you.

Why not try… Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker, Weber

Tender meat that falls right off the bone? Oooft. If you’re hooked on the taste of pulled pork, then why not recreate those mouth-watering flavours at home with this BBQ smoker by Weber. Another great pick for group gifting. But be warned! Your friends will be demanding to taste your freshly smoked brisket after adding this one to your list.

Smoker bbq

Cleaning and caring for your BBQ

A clean home is a happy home. And your outdoor space is no exception. Follow our top tips to keep your grill sizzlin’ for years to come.

For your gas BBQ:
• Always start by checking your manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to ensure you’re using the right products for your BBQ
• Warm the BBQ up a little before cleaning for best possible gunk removal
• Brush and scrub the grates to get rid of any food build-up and rinse with soap water before leaving aside to dry
• Don’t forget to wash the outside with warm, soapy water
• Consider purchasing a cover to protect your BBQ from bad weather
For your charcoal BBQ:
• Always start by checking your manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to ensure you’re using the right products for your BBQ • Dispose of ashes once cool to avoid corrosion
• Clean your grate using a stiff brush while it's still a little warm before food debris hardens
• Wash the exterior with warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly
• Consider purchasing a cover to protect your BBQ from bad weather

Assembling and positioning your BBQ

It might sound obvious, but choosing the perfect spot is just as important as cleaning and caring for your grill. Here’s some handy pointers to consider when setting up your barbecue.

Always double check the manufacturer’s instructions when assembling your BBQ
• Be mindful of your surroundings and choose a safe, hazard-free spot for your grill
• Consider wind direction when positioning your BBQ to avoid the chef (and guests) receiving a face full of smoke (not pleasant!)
• Maintain a reasonable distance from the house to minimise the length of trips to and from the kitchen

Don’t forget the extras

So, you’ve picked out your dream BBQ (we hope our guide helped). It’s time to get grillin’ and whipping up that sweet, smoky feast. As an added bonus, we’ve curated this collection of useful barbecue tools, gadgets and utensils to get you totally BBQ-ready. We’re talking flipping-good spatulas, high-tech thermometers and everything you’ll need to get that grill fired up and ready to go.

Pick your accessories