Charcoal barbeques are a must for that smoky flavour, but gas barbeques offer ultimate convenience. It’s no wonder a trend is emerging for people to have both.
The biggest pro for the charcoal barbeque is that classic, smoky flavour it gives to meat.
“A charcoal barbeque is a real meat-lover’s barbeque and connoisseurs enjoy creating different flavours using meat smokers and smoking pellets,” says Matthew Lawton of Mitre 10, who believes American brand Weber is behind some of the best charcoal barbeques you can buy.
Charcoal barbeques are inexpensive – a high-end unit costs around $400 and a very basic unit, $59. A good mid-range unit will cost $200. If you spend a little more you will enjoy the additional features and size benefits. However, charcoal barbeques have some factors that some may consider downsides. For instance, a charcoal barbeque can take up to 30 minutes to reach cooking temperature. They can also be a little on the messy side – with ashes to get rid of and bags of coal to buy. For many that’s all part of the job and the satisfaction of ‘caveman cooking’.
When choosing a charcoal barbeque check that it is easy to light, clean and remove charcoal. Because you’re ‘playing with fire’ Roydon warns that charcoal barbeques need to be watched carefully as they can get away on you and burn food.
Features your charcoal grill should have:
- Sturdy steel construction with a durable porcelain- enamel finish.
- Heavy-gauge charcoal grate.
- Large, easy-to-remove ash pan.
- Adjustable-height chrome-plated aluminium cooking grate.
- A locking lid for safety when transporting.
Shelves and warming racks, smoking ability, workspace, storage space, larger cooking grids, rustproof ash- catchers and porcelain-enamelled cooking grates. High- end grates are usually made of cast iron, porcelain-coated aluminium or even stainless steel.
Cooking doesn’t get much quicker than a gas grill, simply turn it on and it’s ready. These are ideal for people who have big families to feed or frequently entertain and want things to be quick and easy. The fact that gas barbeques are easy to clean is an additional bonus. Basic models will have a flat plate and a grill, but those wanting quality and style should seek out a stainless steel beast with a hood.
“If you fancy yourself an outdoor chef, a top-of-the-line gas barbeque such as the Gasmate Galaxy Quantum Pro or Stratos 4-Burner Gas Grill can literally become an outdoor kitchen. Look for features such as side-burners, rear burners, roasting dish, rotisserie and warming racks,” says Roydon.
“Gas barbeques start at around $600-$700 and can cost as much as $15,000,” explains Matthew Lawton, who says the top model stocked at Mitre 10 is around $5,000, but $1,500 will get you a great gas barbecue.
Features your gas grill should have:
- Sturdy steel construction with a baked-on porcelain- enamel finish.
- Heavy-gauge nickel or chrome-plated aluminium cooking grate.
- Twoseparateburners,withtwoseparatecontrolknobs for greater heat control.
Look for a durable barbeque that has sturdy construction, metal work and corrosion-resistant paint and fittings. Mitre 10’s Matthew Lawton recommends checking the grade of stainless steel.
“Look for 304 grade stainless steel which is durable – especially if your barbeque will be near the beach, as sea air causes rust.”
Shelves and warming racks, flip-up workspace, enclosed storage space, large cooking areas with up to six burners, improved cooking grates (as above), side burners for cooking sauces, rotisseries and infrared cooking abilities, smoker boxes or drawers and stainless steel construction.
The barbeque is to summer as sand is to beaches. Whether you’re looking for portable model for camping or a stainless steel, state-of-the-art appliance, Mitre 10 offers a range of barbeques to meet your needs.