We are well into summer now, and the weather forecasters are predicting a heatwave over the next few weeks. Which means that it is officially barbecue weather! The smell of meat cooking will be filling back gardens throughout the land. And so, we bring you the best in barbecues, starting with our selection of gas barbecues.
Click on the images to read more from Amazon, or scroll down for our own summary of each one.
Of course, not everyone wants to be cooking on gas, some would prefer the more traditional charcoal barbecue for a more authentic flavour.
Which should I choose – gas or charcoal barbecue?
There are both positives and negatives to both types of barbecues, so when choosing which to buy, a lot comes down to personal preferences.
Positives and negatives of gas barbecues
- Tend to be pricier than charcoal barbecues, although you can get some cheaper models that compare
- Easier to clean – a big positive
- Can get smoky flavour with the use of wood chips in a smoker box
- More parts that could break
Positives and negatives of charcoal barbecues
- Generally cheaper than gas barbecues, although top of the range models can be expensive
- Longer to light and get to cooking heat
- More difficult to clean – and who likes that job?
- Always a smoky flavour
- You get to be manly and play with fire, although tougher to control temperature and can get very hot!
What to do before cooking
First of all, light your barbecues. gas barbecues need at least 10 minutes to heat up before cooking; charcoal barbecues need at least 20 minutes (and often much more!). After this time ensure that your grill plate is clean (you did clean it after the last use, didn’t you?). Brush it with a wire brush or use aluminium foil scrunched into a ball. The heat will have loosened any leftover grease but be careful and don’t burn yourself before you have even started cooking.
Once your gas barbecue is hot enough, or your charcoal has turned to white ash, then you can start to think about cooking.
What to cook on your barbecue
Sausages and burgers are the most obvious item with children around. Chicken drumsticks, lamb chops and steak are all popular with most people. But you can be creative and cook vegetables too – corn on the cob, vegetable kebabs, and jacket potatoes are all possible. And of course, don;t forget a nice salmon steak for those that like their fish.
Try not to turn your food too often. It’s tempting also to push down on the meat to help it get closer to the heat – all you will be doing will be squeezing the juices onto the flames below, and that juiciness can never be recovered.
If you want the aroma and taste of herbs, throw a few onto your charcoal or if using gas soak some in water and cook your meat directly on top.
Here’s Jamie Oliver with a masterclass on vegetable cooking on barbecues:
Here are our 5 selected gas barbecues from Amazon
The CosmoGrill from FirePlus has 6 stainless steel burners that can be individually ignited. If you are hosting a large party this will give you the capacity to cope with demand, however if it is just a romantic meal for 2 then you don;t need to use all the burners.
It has a side burner to keep food warm, as it’s not always possible to cook all you need at once.
It’s thermometer will help keep the heat at a temperature that’s right for what you are cooking, giving you more control and less chance of burning your food. It has a double layered hood to keep heat in, and 4 castor wheels for easy manouverability.
Most people found this easy to put together but suggest better with 2 of you. They also suggest that if moving to be careful and again. maybe 2 people would be a wise option.
It has a chrome grill section and plastic drip tray. It comes with a bag of lava rocks to improve the flavour.
Perfect for small parties, although one reviewer hosted 20 people at his party and it managed well.
Made with high quality stainless steel, it has 4 burners for good temperature control, a side burner, and even a rear burner for it’s electric powered rotisserie.
Relatively easy to build, but don’t forget to take off the plastic film – you don’t your first barbecue filling the garden with the smell of burning plastic.
Once built this is a very sturdy barbecue, with the main downside being that only two of the wheels having locks.
Plenty of storage in the cupboards underneath.
It has shelves on both sides, which proves handy whilst cooking. The stainless steel hood has warming rack and a temperature guage.
This is a sturdy machine and we particularly like the fact that it has only two wheels, which make it more stable once in position.
And here are the 5 charcoal barbecues that we selected.
The Weber Compact was one of the 2 charcoal barbecues featured on Phillip Schofield’s How To Spend It Well programme. Although it wasn’t the best as rated by the reviewers on there, it is one of the most popular sold on Amazon.
It is a 47 cm kettle barbecue, which are popular amongst many people. It has a fixed grill height, and although it does not come with a cover we would recommend one if it is going to sit outside in a typical British summer. Very sturdy and easy to assemble.
Obviously it is not meant for big parties, but you can easily cook for up to 4 people. So it’s perfect for a small family, or even a couple to invite another couple over for a nice evening barbecue.
It has a major advantage in that the grill is height adjustable.
The Azuma Black Steel Barbecue is a sturdy barbecue with 2 wheels and 2 legs, so easy to move but will remain in position once in place.
Adjustable grill height again, for better temperature control. As well as a preparation shelf and lid it also has a warming shelf – perfect for when plating up several types of food together.
Made from cast iron, it has a crank which lowers or raises the tray holding the coals so that you can get the perfect cooking temperature.
Close the lid and you will get an even temperature all round for perfect cooking. It also has a thermometer built into the lid so you can keep an eye on the temperature whilst the lid is down. The side shelf is perfect for holding sauces and marinades close by.
The adjustable grills prove perfect for cooking different types of food at the same time, although the back grill could be used as a warming grill.
So there you go – 5 gas and 5 charcoal barbecues to choose from. So whichever is your favourite style of cooking on barbecues, why not take a look and choose one now. We have had a great summer so far, and it sounds like the next few weeks are going to make cooking outside even more tempting.