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There’s no doubt that barbeques are staples of the British summer garden. From quiet dinners with the family to entertaining large groups of friends, BBQs are a versatile and fun way to cook. The BBQ you choose will depend on the size of your garden, how many people you want to be able to cook for, and the convenience you want from your BBQ.
Fuelled by propane gas, gas BBQs offer a convenient and easy solution to barbecuing. With no charcoal to heat up, you can start cooking as soon as you connect your gas supply. Gas BBQs also allow you to control the heat, making it easy to cook your food thoroughly and evenly. They also have variable heat options, meaning you can cook different foods at different temperatures at the same time. Being able to do this means that gas BBQs are very versatile, but also tend to be big and bulky.
They are more expensive to run than charcoal BBQs due to using gas, although you don’t have to deal with as much clean up afterwards.
These BBQs use charcoal briquettes and lump wood rather than gas, making them cheaper to run than gas BBQs. They take a while to heat up before you can cook on them, and you can’t control the heat once it’s ready. Despite this, many people love the experience and smell of cooking on charcoal, which is why it’s still such a popular option. They are also lighter and more portable, meaning charcoal BBQs can be found in smaller sizes that are perfect for picnics or the beach.
Unlike gas and charcoal BBQs which cook your food directly on the heat source, smoker BBQs circulate warm air around your food, cooking it slowly over a long period of time. This gives that delicious smoky flavour you get in restaurants, and creates succulent, juicy meat thanks to the low temperature and long cooking time. There are generally two types of smoker BBQs:
With vertical smokers, grill plates and racks are located above the heat source and can be adjusted up or down. This makes it much easier to control the temperature that your food cooks at. Vertical smokers are also more portable as they tend to be smaller than offset smokers.
These smokers hold the heat source in a separate chamber, and the smoke is then funneled around the food. These smokers allow you to cook more food as they provide more space, although temperature control is not as easy compared to vertical smokers.
Kamado BBQs originate from Japan, and use wood or coal instead of charcoal. They are found in an egg shape and use ceramic grills instead of iron or steel. The temperature is controlled by adjusting the airflow, and high and low temperatures can be maintained for longer periods of time. This method of cooking food is renowned for giving a smoky, barbecued taste that can’t be achieved with charcoal briquettes or gas. Because of their unique design, kamado BBQs cost more than charcoal or gas alternatives.
Once found only in Italian restaurants and pizzerias, the pizza oven is now making its way into British gardens. From small boxes placed on top of your BBQ to elaborate freestanding stone ovens, there has never been a better reason to get up to your elbows in flour and pizza dough! Pizza ovens reach very high temperatures in an enclosed space, evenly and thoroughly cooking your dough all the way through. The added perk is how great pizza ovens make your garden look!
Made from cast iron or stainless steel, your grill plates are where you’ll be cooking your food. Cast iron generally has better heat conduction for a more even cook, although stainless steel is easier to keep clean and rust-free.
Choosing a BBQ with a lid allows you to alter the temperature of the grill. With a gas BBQ, closing the lid will trap in heat and create an oven-like condition for heating your food. With charcoal grills, shutting off the airflow will reduce the temperature, as well as help create a smokey flavour by trapping in smoke.
To make the most of your garden during the long hot summers, take a look at the rest of our Outdoor Living Page, along with articles on how to add flavour to your grilled food and how to clean your BBQ properly.