Summer BBQs: What You Need To Know

When the temperature rises and the sun shines, there's no better way to make the most of the outdoors than with a barbecue. Dining al fresco while enjoying a cold beer, chilled glass of sauvignon blanc or a refreshing cocktail can truly evoke that holiday feeling and is the perfect way to unwind after a long day. Although we may not be able to enjoy dinner outdoors all year round here in the UK, it certainly is a popular choice during the summer months. Anyone who enjoys cooking up some delicious grilled steak, charred chicken, smoky sausages or veggies will appreciate a barbecue and whether you have a large back garden, a small balcony or a mini patio area, there is a BBQ available to let you cook outside.

BBQs for Big Gardens

There are many barbecue options for the summer and a few things to keep in mind when planning the perfect BBQ garden party. The size of your outdoor appliance and the amount of people you will be cooking for is probably the first thing to consider. Domestic BBQs range when it comes to size. For large family homes and gatherings, a multi-burner model would be your best bet as it lets your fire up a round of burgers and sausages at once. Large BBQs will have multiple burners plus side trays for cooking utensils. A built-in model in particular will generally have plenty of cooking space, ideal for catering to big groups, and will be a fixed feature in your garden all year round.

​Best BBQ for Small Spaces​

For smaller gardens and balconies, there are many compact BBQs available. Most are fuelled by charcoal and have space for cooking for between 2 and 4 people. Compact models have the benefit of being very portable and many can be packed into the boot of a car for a grilled picnic in the park or a camping trip.

Types of BBQ​

There are a few different styles of barbecue, namely kettle, barrel and kamado (the dome-shaped ones), as well as a range of fuel types to choose between. The best option for you depends on your preferred cooking method; gas, electric or charcoal.

BBQ Fuel Types​

  • ​Gas Barbecues
  • Electric Barbecues
  • Charcoal Barbecues

​​Gas barbecues are favoured in the UK, though charcoal models are becoming more and more popular. The National BBQ week website reports that 51% of barbecues in UK homes run on gas, with charcoal models coming in at 49%. Gas models have the benefits of being smokeless and easy to use. They will need a gas canister which can be costly, but will last far longer than a bag of charcoal. ​

​​Electrics BBQs can essentially be used indoors and outdoors. They offer some features such as temperature controls and a non-stick grill that other ​types don’t. Some may consider electric models to be cheating when it comes to BBQ-style cooking, but they are very easy to work with and maintain. An easy breezy option as you don’t need to worry about sourcing coal or gas, and don’t have smoke to contend with. As with gas, this makes them a great choice for anyone who doesn't want to bother the neighbours with smoke when cooking outdoors.

Fast becoming the favoured option in homes across the UK, charcoal BBQs are the classic type and are the best for creating that smokey, charred flavour and aroma. If you opt for a charcoal model, you will need to buy the coal separately.​ They are the easiest to transport so if you need a BBQ for weekends and trips away, a charcoal barbie is a great option.

​Storing and Maintaining a BBQ​

Regardless of whether your BBQ will stay outside in the garden or in a shed all year round, it would be good to choose a model that has a lid - this will help protect the interior from damage and rust. Likewise, the material the BBQ is made from will have an impact on how durable it is. The grill grate may be made of stainless steel, chrome or cast iron, all of which are durable and able to withstand weather. A removable grate will be easier to clean and maintain than a fixed one.​​

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