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BBQ Buying Guide

Published by: Maria Kelley • Updated: January 12, 2024 • Checked By: Chef Matty Riedel

Ah, the aroma of sizzling steaks and the sound of laughter filling the air – there’s nothing quite like a backyard BBQ to celebrate the warmer months. But, with so many options available, how do you find the perfect BBQ to suit your needs and create those unforgettable memories? In this comprehensive BBQ buying guide, we’ll walk you through the key considerations when buying a BBQ, including size, type, build quality, and more. Plus, we’ll share some mouth-watering recipes and cooking tips for meat, vegetables, and fish to help you become a BBQ master in no time.

Key Considerations When Buying A BBQ

Choosing the right BBQ involves more than just deciding between gas and charcoal. Several factors come into play, such as:

  • Size
  • Build quality
  • Features
  • Ease of cleaning

Assessing these factors will help you invest wisely in a BBQ that will provide years of outdoor cooking enjoyment.

Whether you’re a seasoned griller or a BBQ beginner, understanding these key considerations will help you find the perfect BBQ that fits your needs, budget, and outdoor space. With these details in mind, let’s guide you to the best choice for your backyard culinary adventures.

BBQ UK style
BBQ’ing UK Style!

1. Type Of BBQ

There are three primary types of BBQs available:

  1. Gas BBQs: convenient and flexible, making them ideal for novices. With multiple burners, you can control heat more evenly and alternate cooking temperatures, perfect for whipping up various dishes simultaneously.

  2. Charcoal BBQs offer a traditional grilling experience with that smoky flavour. They require more time and effort to set up and maintain, but many BBQ enthusiasts swear by the taste and experience.

  3. Wood pellet BBQs: use wood pellets as fuel, providing a unique smoky flavour. They offer precise temperature control and are known for their versatility in cooking styles.

2. Size And Cooking Area

A BBQ’s size and cooking area are significant in determining its suitability for your needs. A common size for the average grill is approximately 400-500 square inches of cooking area, but it’s essential to consider the BBQ features that best suit your requirements. While choosing a BBQ, aim for at least 72 square inches of cooking area per person to ensure enough space for each individual’s burger preparation.

You can gauge the required BBQ size and cooking area based on the number of guests by adhering to 50 square inches of cooking space per food portion. Multiply the number of guests by 50 to find the minimum cooking area needed for your BBQ. Warming racks can also come in handy for keeping food warm while other items are still cooking.

Remember that larger BBQ grills may require more storage space and consume more fuel or energy. Still, they offer the advantage of increased cooking capacity and versatility for larger gatherings or parties.

3. Build Quality

meat on the bbq

Investing in a durable BBQ provides the benefit of extended longevity and superior performance, resulting in cost savings over time. The choice of material for your BBQ can depend on your available outdoor space and desired aesthetic. Some common materials used in BBQ construction include:

  • Natural stone
  • Concrete blocks
  • Stainless steel
  • Cast iron
  • Enamelled steel

When assessing the build quality of a BBQ, look for the following:

  • Durability
  • Sturdy construction
  • Quality of components
  • Smooth operation
  • Overall craftsmanship

A well-built BBQ is less likely to experience problems like rusting, warping, or component failure, which can reduce its lifespan. Consequently, investing in a BBQ with good build quality can ensure a longer lifespan and better overall performance.

4. Features And Accessories

Considering the features and accessories that will enhance your outdoor cooking experience is a significant factor when choosing a BBQ. Warming plates or racks, for example, are removable racks integrated into the lids of certain BBQs that can keep food warm while preparing additional items or provide extra space for cooking, making them a useful addition. Hood kettle barbecue lids are another option to consider for your outdoor cooking needs.

Other unique BBQ features to consider include:

  • A charcoal-free area to finish cooking meat
  • Sturdy materials such as stainless steel for durability
  • Wheel for enhanced mobility
  • Gas or charcoal options
  • Smoker capabilities
  • Portable grill for on-the-go cooking
  • An adjustable grill height allows you to regulate the distance between the heat source and the food, providing flexibility in cooking various types of food at different temperatures

5. Ease Of Cleaning

Regular cleaning and maintenance of a BBQ is necessary to prolong its life and ensure optimal performance. Maintaining your BBQ in good condition requires efficient cleaning products such as oven cleaner, Carbona 2-in-1 Oven Rack and Grill Cleaner, or natural alternatives like a vinegar solution made of equal parts white vinegar and water.

It’s recommended to brush the grilling surfaces after each use and conduct a thorough scrub-down at least once a year or at the start and finish of each grilling season. Regular cleaning helps to prevent the buildup of soot, grease, and corrosion, which can adversely affect the flavour of the food and potentially lead to foodborne illnesses.

Therefore, a clean BBQ grill, including chrome-plated grills, must ensure optimal performance and enjoyable grilling experiences.

6. Portability

skewered meat and vegetables cooking on the bbq

A portable BBQ offers convenience in storage and is ideal for outdoor activities, including camping, entertaining, and festive occasions. When selecting a portable BBQ, consider size, weight, material quality, cooking capacity, user-friendliness, fuel type, and budget.

Size and weight can significantly influence the portability of a BBQ. Here are some factors to consider:

  • A smaller, lighter BBQ is generally more convenient to transport and carry.

  • A larger, heavier BBQ can be more challenging to move and may require additional effort to transport.

  • Gas and electric BBQs are generally more portable than charcoal BBQs.

  • Some portable BBQs may feature folding carts or tabletop designs for added convenience.

man attending to a flaming grill

7. Price

The cost of a BBQ grill is affected by factors such as:

  • Type
  • Size
  • Build quality
  • Brand reputation
  • Additional features and accessories
  • Market demand and competition

To identify the most cost-effective option, it is important to:

  1. Compare different BBQ models and their features

  2. Weigh the benefits against the price

  3. Research local retailers or online marketplaces for specific pricing information

This will help you find the best value for your budget while meeting your outdoor cooking needs.

8. Brand & Warranty

Selecting a reputable brand when purchasing a BBQ ensures that the product is of superior quality and will provide long-term durability. Some highly-regarded BBQ brands include:

  • Weber, known for its quality and durability
  • Char-Broil, which offers a range of options
  • Napoleon and Broil King, which are also well-reputed
  • Traeger, known for its pellet BBQs

When comparing warranties of different brands, it is essential to understand what is covered and for how long. Thoroughly read the fine print to ensure that the warranty covers all components of the BBQ. A longer warranty period from a reputable brand can provide peace of mind and help protect your investment in a high-quality BBQ.

9. Ease Of Cleaning

As mentioned earlier, ease of cleaning is an important factor when choosing a BBQ. Keeping your grill clean prolongs its lifespan and ensures optimal performance and food safety. To clean your BBQ effectively, use the following cleaning materials:

  • Carbona 2-in-1 Oven Rack and Grill Cleaner
  • Warm water and grease-cutting dish soap
  • Vinegar and water solution
  • Baking soda paste
  • Grill cleaning brushes and scrapers

Develop a regular cleaning routine and stick to it. Brush the grilling surfaces after each use, and give your BBQ a thorough scrub-down at least once a year or at the start and finish of each grilling season. Maintaining a clean BBQ means you’ll enjoy better heat distribution, fewer flare-ups, and more delicious food.

10. Regulations And Restrictions

Before firing up your BBQ, you must know any regulations or restrictions that may apply to BBQ usage in your area. Some areas may prohibit lighting any fires, including BBQ fires, in outdoor spaces, while others may have specific rules governing the use of BBQs in residential areas or open countryside.

In smoke control areas, there may be restrictions on the types of fuel or appliances that can be used to ensure compliance. Additionally, environmental laws and considerations, such as:

  • Smoke nuisance
  • Fire safety
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Charcoal production
  • Food safety

Several factors, including cooking oil, must be considered when using gas barbecues, such as a gas BBQ.

Always check the specific regulations in your area and adhere to them to ensure a safe and enjoyable BBQ experience.

11. Fuel Availability And Cost

Availability and cost of fuel are significant factors when choosing a BBQ. Charcoal and propane gas are the most commonly accessible types of BBQ fuel. Butane gas and charcoal are considered the most cost-effective options.

Different types of BBQ fuel have varying replacement frequencies. Gas grills typically last 5 to 15 years before needing replacement. Charcoal tends to last longer due to its availability and durability. It’s essential to factor in fuel availability and cost when selecting the perfect BBQ.

12. Storage

bbq with cover down

Proper off-season BBQ storage is fundamental to prolong its lifespan and protect it from external elements. Invest in a high-quality, weatherproof grill cover made from durable materials, such as 600D or 420D oxford fabric or polyester, to store your BBQ effectively.

Before covering your BBQ for winter storage, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure both the BBQ and cover are dry to avoid rust.

  2. Clean the BBQ before covering.

  3. Store the BBQ in a cool, dry place, preferably sheltered from rain and snow.

  4. Refrain from storing propane tanks indoors.

Proper storage of your BBQ can safeguard your investment, ensuring many seasons of outdoor grilling enjoyment.

BBQ Buying Guide: Summing Up

In conclusion, finding the perfect BBQ involves considering factors such as type, size, build quality, and features. Considering these considerations, along with the delicious recipes and cooking tips shared in this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision and create unforgettable memories with your friends and family. So, fire up the grill and let the good times roll!


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Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Look For In A Good BBQ?

When looking for a good BBQ, look out for features like porcelain-coated cast iron or rust-resistant stainless steel grates that will provide even heat and a lid to help trap the heat. Additionally, consider a BBQ with quality BBQ sauce for maximum flavour.

Should I Get A 4-6 Burner BBQ?

A 4-burner BBQ is recommended for medium crowds, while a 6-burner BBQ would be ideal for larger groups and entertaining. Therefore, depending on the size of your crowd, you should choose a 4 or 6-burner BBQ.

How To Choose A BBQ UK?

When looking for the ideal BBQ, focus on materials like cast iron or stainless steel and consider whether a lid is important for temperature control. A gas BBQ with a lid can create an oven-like environment for excellent heat conduction and even cooking.

What Do You Do When You First Buy A BBQ?

Before using your BBQ for the first time, spray the grates with high-heat cooking oil like canola and heat it for 15 minutes until it burns off. Add a coat of oil to the entire surface, including all corners, and let it burn for 15 minutes until the oil stops smoking. Finally, ensure that the hose and regulator are tightly attached, remove the hot plates and scrub them before use.

What Is The Recommended Cooking Area Per Person For A BBQ Grill?

When selecting a BBQ grill, it is recommended to have 72 square inches of cooking area per person.

Maria Kelley