If you’re hoping to be crowned king or queen of the barbecue this summer, it pays to know the best way to grill. As easy as sitting out in the sunshine enjoying a delicious burger and ice cold drink looks, anyone who has tried to get a barbecue lit can probably tell you that it isn’t always simple.
Even before it comes to cooking the food, you need to faff around a bit with your grill. If it isn’t dusting away the spiders’ webs that have accumulated during winter, you’ll probably need to clean the grill a bit after failing to do so the last time you used it.
Luckily, you can make getting the barbecue ready and cooking some tasty treats much easier. All you need to do is work out which grill is best for you, as this can take out a lot of the hard work. Here are the hardest to the easiest barbecue options:
Hard - Charcoal barbecue
Barbecue purists will tell you that charcoal barbecues are the only option. This traditional method of cooking food gives everything a smokey flavour – which you can change depending on the type of charcoal or wood you use – as well as a great colour.
They are also cheaper to buy than many other alternatives, which is great if you’re on a budget – although you also need to look at the cost of charcoal over time. On top of this, they tend to be more compact and lighter, which is ideal when it comes to moving them around and storing them.
However, charcoal barbecues also have their downsides, namely that they are hard to light and can take ages until they are ready for you to start cooking. Not placing the charcoal correctly, a slightly damp barbecue and windy weather can all mean you’re left pulling your hair out trying to get the thing to light, even after you’ve used what seems like a billion firelighters.
When you do finally get it going, you need to wait around for it to get to the right heat before you can put your burgers on, which could mean you need to try and keep people happy and occupied to avoid a hunger riot. While the flavour of charcoal barbecues is really great, they aren’t the best option for a last minute gathering or a post-work meal in the garden.
Medium - Gas barbecue
The slightly more modern sibling to the charcoal barbecue, the gas option can come with a higher price tag and tends to be a bit on the bulky side – which could mean you need a bigger shed. Although your wallet may feel more of a hit to start with and you may need some help manoeuvring your grill, gas barbecues do have a lot of benefits.
To start with, you can get them to light really quickly – so long as you’ve actually got gas in your canister – which means no waiting around and a lot less frustration. Once they are lit, they can be ready to cook on in as little as five to ten minutes, meaning they pre-heat faster than some ovens.
You can also tailor the heat to what you’re cooking, changing it as and when you need to. This gives you a lot more flexibility than charcoal barbecues and reduces the chances of food being black on the outside but pink on the inside.
The big plus is that you can get a lot more use out of a gas barbecue because they can be ready to cook on so quickly. Any time you fancy having a barbecue, you know you can simply head outside and be ready to go in minutes – or however long it takes you to run to the shop for burgers.
Easy - OptiGrill
Yes, we know that the OptiGrill isn’t technically a barbecue, but it is definitely the best option if you want quick grilling and aren’t a fan of that smokey smell hanging around on your clothes.
Unlike barbecues, the OptiGrill has settings depending on the type of food you’re cooking, ensuring that it is at the perfect heat while the automatic thickness measurement helps to ensure that it cooks for the right amount of time. This means you don’t need to keep checking your burgers as you’ll be able to see when they’re done thanks to the cooking indicator.
The OptiGrill cooks evenly across the grill plates, meaning everything is ready much quicker than on a big barbecue so you can cook just as much in the same amount of time. This means no one is going to be waiting around moaning about how hungry they are!
On top of this, the OptiGrill is a healthy option as all the excess fat drains away, helping you to avoid greasy food and feel less guilty about all your barbecue favourites.
Perhaps the biggest bonus, though, is the fact that it is so easy to clean. There won’t be any scrubbing grills to get rid of burnt-on food, as you can simply wipe your OptiGrill clean thanks to the non-stick coating, so it’s ready to cook something else in minutes. Or you could even just pop the removable grill plates into the dishwasher.
Now that you know what options are out there, you can get on with planning your perfect summer barbecue.