How to Choose a BBQ

The summer barbecue is part of Australia’s cultural DNA. Even more than sport, it’s a central part of our lives and lifestyles – an event that can be held almost anywhere, for any occasion, in solidarity.

In part because the fine art of BBQ is so popular, the choice and type of equipment to get can be surprisingly overwhelming. You thought buying a car was a headache? Your average BBQ is almost as sophisticated, with about as many features and add on’s.

To help you navigate your way to smokey goodness, here are some basic tips to guide your purchase.

Trolley barbecues

Trolley barbecue

The trolley model is the most popular type of barbecue in Australia. As the name suggests, trolley barbecues are mounted so they can be wheeled around the garden. There’s a huge range of models on the market, from basic department store cheapies to enormous workstations with every imaginable function – and a price tag to match.

A basic four-burner configuration should be enough for most people – two burners under each plate will provide a good, even spread of heat – and clever use of accessories such as hoods and side burners will greatly expand the range of food that you can cook.

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Kettle barbecues

Kettle BBQ

After hitting its peak during the 1980s, the kettle design has faded somewhat from the limelight, but is still a popular and viable barbecue option. The kettle barbecue is great for smoking and roasting as the heat produced by the coals diminishes over time, leaving the meat seared on the outside and tender on the inside.

It can take around 30 to 40 minutes to heat the coals enough for cooking.

The major disadvantage of a kettle design is the time it takes for the coals to heat up (kettle designs don’t use gas burners). It generally takes around 30 to 40 minutes to heat the coals enough for cooking – but at least you get an opportunity to have a beer and chat with friends while you wait.

Barbecues for small spaces

Barbecue in Fitzroy, VIC

The hibachi, which consists of a small grill with a tray underneath to hold hot charcoal, remains a popular choice for those with limited space. Portable and inexpensive, the hibachi is a great way to get the taste of charcoal grill food while avoiding the inconvenience of a larger design.

Portable and inexpensive, the hibachi is a great way to get the taste of charcoal grill food.

There is a huge range of portable gas barbecues on the market. The smaller ones are heated by a single ring burner and are particularly suitable for small cooking jobs. If you have a little more room, a two-burner barbecue will allow you to cook for around four people at the same time.

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