barbeque

QUICK GUIDE TO BUYING A BARBEQUE

Every Aussie fisho worth their salt has a good barbeque. Regular barbies on long summer nights are my favourite time of year so I invested in a good barbeque. With so many models on the market with specific capabilities and varying price tag, it can be tricky to find the one for you. Here are some tips on what to look for when choosing your new barbeque.

Don’t forget to think about where you will be using your barbeque. There are plenty of places you can’t light a fire in Australia, especially in some of the best camping sites in our National Parks. Then again, let’s focus on the backyard.

CHARCOAL OR GAS

The first decision to make is whether you want to go gas or charcoal. Gas models tend to be a little more expensive as they significantly reduce preparation time. Charcoal models require you to heat the embers first before attempting to cook on it. This can take some time, but using a separate chimney starter to heat the embers can get them piping hot in as little as 15 minutes.

I personally prefer the taste of charcoal cooked meat. After spending some time in Argentina and seeing how meticulously they care for their barbeques and have perfected the art of arranging the coals to get a balanced cook. I love my charcoal barbeque and the extra preparation time pays off when the meat comes off the barbeque succulent and tender.

ELECTRIC GRILL BARBEQUES

Electric grills and barbeques are increasingly popular because they can be used just about anywhere even when there is a fire ban in place. The only issue is one of power supply, and this is something you will have to solve. If you have your own power supply from your RV, they are definitely the way to go.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO RUN

Gas bottles cost around $50, which should last you most of the summer. I find that my charcoal barbie works out at just over a couple of bucks each time I cook with it. The real advantage with charcoal barbeques is that they require almost no maintenance. The grill grates need changing every couple of years but that’s it. With gas grills, you need to refill or exchange the propane tanks, check the gas lines and connectors, keep the burners clean, the drip tray clean and the ignitor collector box. If any of these need replacing they can be quite costly.

The cost of running electrical barbies depends on the power source. If you have solar charged batteries, then there isn’t much cost to count.

DO YOU NEED A LID

Plenty of cheaper models come without a lid. It is worth making the price jump and investing in a model with a lid to cover the food. We´ve all been to a barbeque where the food was scorched on the outside and completely raw on the inside. Smiling through gritted teeth when the host asks if everything is okay and praying that you won´t be running to and from the bathroom all night.

A lid gives you much more control and helps make sure the food is cooked all the way through. If you are like me and struggle to know when the food is done, I would recommend using a lid.

ADDITIONAL EXTRAS

There are all kinds of available extras you can buy on top end barbeques. Even if your barbeque has a lid, portable cookers with a windshield are great for cooking when the lid is off. Food thermometers, an additional griddle, side burners and an extra grease collection area. These can make your life easier, particularly the griddle. If I’m cooking small pieces of meat or vegetables which could slip through the cracks in the grill, then using a griddle makes it much easier.

When push comes to shove, apart from a windshield and lid, none of these extras are essential and should be treated as optional. Invest in a good barbeque or an outdoor cooker and the rest will take care of itself.

 


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Martin White
martinw@dinga.com.au

Martin is huge on everything outdoors and is even bigger on driving and technology. He loves boats, new stuff and writing about it.