Barbecue spare ribs

How Much Should I Spend On A BBQ?

When it comes to choosing a BBQ, go for the best you can afford

The first question you need to ask yourself is, how much are you going to use the barbecue? Are you just going to be using it occasionally for yourself, your spouse and a couple of children? Is there just you and your partner going to use it? Or are you going to be inviting all your family and the whole neighbourhood? What is the maximum number of people you will be cooking for? There is absolutely no point in thinking that just you and your partner will be using it then inviting round the whole family and realising that not everyone can have a steak!

If you live in an apartment or a house with restrictions on barbecues then the only alternative is an electric grill which can be used either indoors or out on a balcony. The Weber Q1400 Electric Barbecue fulfils these requirements and can comfortably cook for 4 people.

Once you have determined the answers to the above questions then set your budget. Look at all the grills in your price bracket, from the cheapest to the most expensive you can afford. Chances are the most expensive will be more robust and better constructed than the cheaper end of the spectrum and so will almost definitely last a lot longer. Another consideration is; can you get spare parts? Some of the cheaper ones definitely won’t have spares available; the Weber range carry spares for 10 years after purchase.

Skewers of meat and vegetables cooking on a barbecue

A good mid-priced gas barbecue is the Landmann Triton 4 Burner which features a side table and a side table with a gas burner for cooking sauces, also a warming rack which is invaluable for holding food if space on the grill is restricted when cooking for a large number of people. It is a good choice for the BBQ chef just wanting to cook something a little better than just the basics.

If you want to cook something that little bit more advanced, then the Weber Spirit Original S-320 Gas BBQ with the Gourmet Barbecue System is a really good investment. With a 10 year guarantee and a likely life span of 20 years it only works out at around £50 per year. It can easily cook for up to 10 people and with its robust construction it is ideal for those who like to regularly cook for family and friends.

The Weber barbecues which feature the Gourmet Barbecue System can be used to cook a whole range of dishes not normally associated with barbecues, such as stews and casseroles in the Dutch oven, stir fries and risottos in the wok, waffles and sandwiches in the waffle iron or a full English breakfast on the griddle.

Weber barbecue food

If you are only going to barbecue occasionally then a cheaper model would probable suffice. Why not go to a barbecue cooking demonstration from a professional; such as the ones we hold here at Hayes Garden World in partnership with the gourmet barbecue chef Richard Holden. Many of the garden centres which stock a good range of barbecues will hold demonstrations. These demonstrations will definitely inspire you to cook more than the usual sausages and burgers. If you are going for a larger more versatile model why not get Richard in to show you how to get the maximum benefit from your barbecue. One of his cookery classes would make a superb present for a food lover.

If you are only ever going to cook the basics why waste money on a model with rotisserie, side burners, infrared burners etc etc. If you are new to barbecuing and not sure if you are going to enjoy the process it would probably be better to start with a cheap model, give it a go and if it is something you will definitely be taking further then buy a better quality model, learn how to use it to its maximum potential and keep the old cheap model as a spare for when you have a party.

The Weber Genesis II E-610 is a top of the range model sturdily constructed, as you would expect from Weber, and is ideal for cooking for a larger party. The Gourmet System grill can incorporate the sear grate and wok to give your food that Masterchef touch, also the Dutch oven, griddle and pizza stone. It also features a side burner with lid, which is ideal for cooking sauces and can be used as a side table when the burner is not in use. It also features such elements as a warming rack and space to hold 6 tools. With a recommended retail price of over £1,000 it is one for the serious chef.

Food cooking on a barbecue

Another consideration is; do you want the traditional experience of cooking over charcoal or the convenience of gas? Charcoal can take up to 30 minutes to come to cooking temperature, but this can be shortened to 15 – 20 minutes if you use the Weber Chimney Starter, whereas gas is more or less instant. You can get the authentic flavour from gas by using bars which fit over the gas jets; dripping fat hits these hot bars and gives off that smokey BBQ flavour. Charcoal is best for cooking food which requires a short hot cook as it usually only burns for about 45 minutes. If you want to cook something at a lower temperature over a longer period then you need to cook with good quality charcoal briquettes which give a cooking time of up to 2 hours.

If this article has just made the decision even more confusing then just call the store and speak to one of our trained staff members in The Barbecue Shop who will be able to point you in the right direction.

Angela Slater
Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas