BBQ buying guide

BBQ come in all shapes and sizes – find your ideal type with our step-by-step guide and enjoy cooking outdoors

Charcoal BBQ

Adjustable charcoal height: A fuel grid elevator means you can raise or lower the height of the charcoal, giving you more control over the temperature you want to cook at, according to what food you’re barbecuing

Hood/lid: Choose a tight fitting hood and you can roast whole joints of meat on some of the top-range charcoal BBQ. Kettle and flat lids can be used as windbreaks to help light charcoal or stop smoke going everywhere

Temperature gauge: Found on BBQ hoods, this will monitor the internal heat. Great for roasting food more accurately and knowing when your BBQ is ready to go

Griddle: A metal hot plate that can be used for frying food that might fall through the grill. Perfect for cooking eggs, fish and vegetables

Warming rack: Ideal if you’re feeding large groups of people, a warming rack sits above the main grill and can be used to keep cooked food hot while other meats finish cooking

Storage cabinet: Perfect for keeping trays and other barbecuing essentials neat and tidy. Also look out for handy hooks that you can hang utensils off while in use

Wheels: Not essential but very practical as they allow you to move the BBQ around the garden or to and from the shed with ease. For safety reasons, never move it once it has been lit

Discover our range of Charcoal BBQs

Gas BBQ

Rotisserie: Allows you to spit-roast an entire chicken. Electronic versions will rotate automatically, saving you time and ensuring even cooking

Hood/lid: Choose a tight-fitting hood and you can roast whole joints of meat on some of the top-range BBQ

Temperature gauge: Found on BBQ hoods, this will monitor the internal heat. Great for roasting food more accurately and knowing when your BBQ is ready to go

Griddle: A metal hot plate that can be used for frying food that might fall through the grill. Perfect for cooking eggs, fish and vegetables

Warming rack: Ideal if you’re feeding large groups of people, a warming rack sits above the main grill and can be used to keep cooked food hot while other meats finish cooking

Storage cabinet: Perfect for keeping trays and other barbecuing essentials neat and tidy. Also look out for handy hooks that you can hang utensils off while in use

Wheels: Not essential but very practical as they allow you to move the BBQ around the garden or to and from the shed with ease. For safety reasons, never move it once it’s been lit

Discover our range of Gas BBQs

Don’t forget BBQ accessories

A set of long-handled BBQ tools is a must. It should include the basics – tongs, spatula and fork – but also look out for any specific tools you would find useful, such as kebab skewers, a brush for marinating meat or even corn-on-the-cob holders.

BBQ cleaning brushes are essential for keeping your grill in tip-top condition. There are a variety of shapes available for getting to those hard-to reach places, or look for a 3-in-1 tool that incorporates a scraper, brush and scourer.

Check food is cooked to perfection by using a digital thermometer

While there’s nothing stopping you using your usual kitchen apron and oven gloves, a special set for the BBQ chef in your home will add to the sense of occasion.

A BBQ cover is essential if you’re storing your BBQ outdoors. BBQ covers can be bought separately.

Although not strictly an accessory, if you have a charcoal BBQ, don’t forget the fire starters. Charcoal is inexpensive and you can choose between lumpwood charcoal (which can reach extremely high temperatures) and charcoal briquettes (which will burn for twice as long as lumpwood at a more constant temperature). Instant lighting charcoal means you won’t need firelighters or lighting fluid

BBQ safely

Do...

  • Wash your hands after handling raw meat
  • Keep raw meat covered and out of the sun
  • Check meat is cooked through before eating (use a skewer to check juices from chicken run clear)
  • Check the connections between the hose and gas bottle every time you use your BBQ
  • Keep children and pets away from a lit BBQ
  • For cooking tips, watch our videos on how to BBQ and how to check steak is done.

Don’t…

  • Keep matches, firelighters or fuels near a lit BBQ
  • Use a BBQ indoors in a shed, a tent or under a gazebo, whatever the weather – please visit nhs.uk/carbonmonoxide for more advice
  • Move a BBQ once it has been lit
  • Use any products for starting your BBQ other than firelighters or fuels made specifically for lighting BBQ

Expert tip

“When you’ve finished cooking, don’t just turn your BBQ off – burn off excess food by immediately putting the lid back on and turning gas burners up high (or closing the air vents if you’re using a charcoal BBQ) for a few minutes. Leave to cool then, while the grill is still warm, use BBQ cleaner and a BBQ brush to clean thoroughly before drying with a paper towel or kitchen roll. For charcoal BBQs remove any cold ashes from the grate. For gas BBQs clean the drip trays.”

Hayley Stretton, Product Technologist, Tesco direct

1