BBQ of the Year shortlist
'Tis the season for a barby. From fancy portable BBQs you can bring to the beach or a picnic to big gas-powered BBQ grills with multiple burners, here are five of our favourite BBQs.
Campingaz Master 4 Series Classic LXS Black Edition
The Campingaz Master 4 Series Classic LXS Black Edition is a high-end, gas-powered BBQ grille with a large cooking area capable of catering for between 12 and 16 guests. Its long name is fitting - this is a big BBQ in every sense. It's pricey, but for the serious BBQ chef - or for people who regularly cater for large amounts of people — this is well worth the money.
It's made from high-quality materials with key parts manufactured in rust-resistant stainless steel — which means it should be many years before you’re looking for a replacement. We loved using it for our office BBQs this summer because it easily catered to make enough food for everyone, with veggie options being easy to keep separate. The LXS isn't available on Amazon, but the 4 series Classic LS Plus we've linked to below is similar. You can compare the two BBQs here.
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Sealey Portable Charcoal BBQ
A good barbeque that doesn’t eat into precious luggage space is a real boon on campervan excursions and this Sealey model is perfect for such occasions. Designed to be mobile and taking just a few minutes to set up, the Sealey can operate in a single or double format to offer ample cooking space despite its size, we provided food for four adults with ease.
After cooking and cooling down the Sealey has a pair of trays you can lift out to dispose of the spent coals and allow quick clean-up, while the top half has a carry handle to allow easy transportation. Due to the design, the Sealey gets very hot around its base so it must be used on a concrete or gravel surface that is impervious to heat.
The CUBE is part of the Everdure range by Heston Blumenthal - the accomplished British chef, well remembered for making lickable wallpaper. Intended to be used out and about, the CUBE is made from lightweight durable steel with a sleek finish and cool-to-the-touch carry handles. It's a bit heavier than expected, weighing in at about 7kg - so as long as you aren't planning to have a BBQ miles away from where you've parked, you should be fine.
On the plus side, there's a plastic storage tray and bamboo preparation board cleverly integrated into the design, meaning - for example - you can leave meat marinading in the fridge overnight before attaching it to the CUBE ahead of your day out. The design leaves room to store the coals within the body of the barbecue with two safety latches holding all in place when the CUBE is moved. The simplistically designed barbecue also comes in four nicely-finished, matt colours (orange, khaki, stone and graphite) for those wanting something chicer than the bog-standard metal BBQ trays you can pick up at your local Tesco.
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Char-Broil Gas2Coal 3-Burner
Like Hannah Montana, the Char-Broil Gas2Coal offers the best of both worlds with a 540-square-inch total cooking area. Essentially, this is a gas BBQ that can be converted into a charcoal grill by fitting an insert over the three burners (40,000-BTU's spread across three main burners and one 12,000-BTU side burner). It isn't the most sophisticated BBQ around, nor does it scream high quality, but it's an inexpensive solution to get both options in one machine. Plus, the porcelain-coated cast-iron cooking grates make cleaning up afterwards an easy task.
While the gas BBQ is decent, the charcoal grilling lacks versatility. Of course, you can grill meat, corn etc like you would on a traditional charcoal grill and they'll turn out better than they would over the gas burners, but it lacks heat control. As a charcoal grill, it isn't as good as a standalone option, but if you want the ability to have both without having to buy two BBQs, this is a good choice from Char-Broil.
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Campingaz Party Grill 600
As the name suggests, this option from Campingaz is ideal for campsites, festivals and days out. The grill comes with a variety of cooking options; stovetop, grill, griddle and plancha - which all fit inside the grill. Like the Campingaz Camp'Bistro 2 stove, the 600 comes with piezo ignition for match-free lighting.
The Party Grill 600 has detachable legs and a lockable lid so it can easily be transported in a car before being set up. The large lid also features a thermometer for convection cooking. It’s fair to say we’re impressed with the Party Grill 600, but the catches used to hold everything together when it’s packed away seem a little flimsy. And, despite the firm’s attempts to make it easy to clean, it’s still a fairly hefty device for lugging over to the campsite’s washing-up area. However, it’s really easy to set up, making it a viable tool for weekends away. It’s also incredibly versatile, just as good at barbecuing meat as cooking a fry-up or even cooking meat and two veg.
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