Barbecues: which one is right for you?


Choosing the right barbecue can be a daunting task with so many different types available. So how do you know which is right for you?

Long gone are the days when every Australian family had a three-legged portable gas barbecue in the backyard. These days you’ll find everything from freestanding units with wok burners and rotisseries to kettle-oven charcoal barbecues, smokers and even pizza ovens in the average Aussie backyard. So with so many different types of barbecues on the market today, how do you know which is the right one for you?

Andrea Mead from Heatlie Barbecues says it’s important to consider how you will use the barbecue before taking the plunge.

“Do you regularly entertain for large crowds, or will you use your barbecue for everyday family meals,” she said. “These factors will determine the durability you require, the size of the cooking area and any extra features you may need, such as roasters and cabinet space.

“Next, think about where your barbecue will sit. A shiny, freestanding five or six-burner – complete with bottle opener, infra-red burners, side tables and a host of bells and whistles – makes a statement in any backyard, and may be the right option if your barbecue is going to sit on a pergola or deck.”

Andrea advises that if you’re shopping for a barbecue to fit into an outdoor kitchen, then consider whether you want a unit that is integrated into the bench, or one that slides in from the front.

“Consider also the type of bench-top you have – if it’s made from a combustible material like laminate or wood, then look for a model like ours which can be installed directly into any type of bench-top.”

Of course, the whole point of having a barbecue is to create delicious food, so it’s vital to consider the type of taste and flavour you want to achieve when barbecuing.

“If you love the smokey taste of a flame grill, then consider one of the charcoal models that are popular overseas,” Andrea says. “ On a recent trip to Cambodia my family dined on fresh seafood cooked over coals in front of us on the beach, the delicious result being succulent seafood juicy with the flavours of the sea.”

On the practical front, many barbecues are a nightmare when it comes to cleaning, so this is another important consideration when choosing. Andrea suggests checking how easily the barbecue plate can be cleaned with a flat scraper, and considering the amount of flat areas compared to grills and other added features. “They make look good on the showroom floor, but they are notorious for collecting fat and grime and are often difficult to remove,” she says.

“Finally, don’t fall into the trap of buying the cheapest unit on the market. For longevity and quality you can’t beat Australian-made. Not only is it a good investment, your purchase will help the local economy and create jobs.”

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