Now is the time to get the best deal on a barbecue - we review the very best gas and charcoal barbecues you can buy in 2016
The brief glimpse of sunshine in mid-April had an army of British men scurrying into supermarkets in search of charcoal, gas cylinders and meat. Yes, sunshine begets barbecues and we’ve looked at the best charcoal and gas barbecues you can buy in 2017.
So are you ready with your meat and charcoal to hand? Let the griller warfare commence…
Weber Smokey Joe Premium Charcoal Barbecue
If you’re only cooking for two, or are planning on taking the barbecue camping, the Weber Smokey Joe Premium is the perfect solution. It’s small enough to pop in the car boot, while the Premium version includes a convenient carrying handle.
Like its big brothers, this Weber mini kettle is made from porcelain-coated steel that is guaranteed for 10 years, but should last longer if properly maintained. Smaller barbecues tend to get fired up more often, as they are quicker to reach cooking temperature and easier to clean.
It’s not cheap, but the Weber Smokey Joe Premium will still be providing wood-chipped pleasure when the legions of substandard copycats (yes, we’re looking at you, House by John Lewis) are rusting away in landfills.
We’ve looked at most of the few gas barbecues that come in at under £100 – excluding the price of the gas cannister, naturally – including the Mastercook Classic 2 and the Landmann Lava Rock – but felt that none justified a recommendation.
The manufacturers have simply cut too many corners to keep the price down, which means that the barbecues are very light-weight and quite unstable. At this price point, you’re simply better off buying a charcoal BBQ.
Outback Excel 300
The Outback Excel 300 gas barbecue picked up a Which? Best Buy award in 2011 – when it cost £200. Now the price has dropped £70 – which suggests that it is a bit of a bargain.
First things first – there’s a lot of cheap plastic in the chassis, as you would expect. And the Excel only has a 1-year guarantee – rather than the 10-year peace-of-mind offered by the more expensive models in the Outback range.
However the main porcelain coated grill is reassuringly robust and the 28kg chassis is solid and sturdy. The supplied lava rocks help provide a more charcoal-like style of cooking while the side burner is handy for frying onions or just heating up a tin of beans. At this price, it’s a real steal.
Weber Original Kettle
We make no apologies for the recurring presence of Weber products in the best charcoal barbecues sections. The fact is that their products are built to a far higher standard than any rivals – indeed it seems that they stand alone in the premium market while everyone else puts out flimsier, cheaper copycat versions made in China.
Weber 57cm MasterTouch Barbecue
Weber have been making its distinctive kettle charcoal barbecues for over 60 years, and the 57cm Weber MasterTouch distills all that experience into a product of supreme quality.
The build quality is terrific – the barbecue comes with a 10-year guarantee, but many satisfied owners have barbecues that have lasted 20 years and are still going strong. The new MasterTouch model includes iterative improvements, most notably the hinged lid that helps it double as a wind breaker and a new modular system of grilles that allow you to swap out different types of cooking containers.
The MasterTouch also comes in 5 different colours – including our favourite, crimson. Otherwise it’s business as usual, the best all-round charcoal barbecue you can buy just got better.
Weber Spirit E-310 Classic
The Spirit series is Weber’s entry-level for gas barbecues, but they are far from cheap. The Spirit E-310 can be purchased for around £500 and is a very solid all-rounder. The grill has 3 stainless steel burners and a generous 2635 cm² of cooking space. Some people complain that the build quality of the China manufacturered Spririt range is not up to the brand’s historic high standards, but we feel that there nothing comparable to the E-310 at this price point. The Sprit E-310 is a reliable, unfussy griller that will last for decades if maintained properly.