With the summer months now past and autumn now upon us, now is a really great time to be shopping for one of the best BBQs.
This is because the peak season for barbecue demand is now over and brands and retailers across the world are cutting prices in end-of-season sales.
There are some great BBQ bargains to be bagged right now and, truth be told, there's still plenty of time to make use of a new purchase. Autumn temperatures during the day are really conducive to great BBQs (warm but not too hot) and, even in the evenings, there's still plenty of light to get grilling. And especially so if you have one of the best fire pits roaring.
This guide features some of the best full-sized BBQs on the market, perfect for the average garden or patio. However, if you are limited on space, you may also want to check out our best small portable barbecues for some mini BBQs that pack just as much of a punch.
And if you’re someone who wants to go beyond burgers and hotdogs, why not take a look at investing in one of the best smokers. These are specifically designed for slow cooking meats and giving them that amazing smoky flavour. Or go for something in-between such as one of the best gas BBQs to give you the best of both worlds when it comes to grilling alfresco.
If BBQing isn’t your forte but you love the idea of outside dining, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered – check out our guide with advice from three masters of the grill. But first, let’s get you set up with the right kit. Check out our round up of the best BBQs below.
The best BBQs you can buy in 2022
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Below, we list the best of the best full-size BBQs in each of their three main types, including charcoal, gas and pellet varieties. Charcoal BBQs are a great choice for the budget conscious, as well as those that like a more traditional barbecue experience. Gas grills offer unparalleled convenience and speed, but require a gas canister and, in general, a little bit more spend to buy. While Pellet grills combine the flavour associated with charcoal grills and smokers with more of the convenience (and speed) of gas, they do tend to cost more but we tackle all of this below.
Best charcoal BBQs
If you want to spend under £200 on your charcoal BBQ upgrade then you should buy the Weber One Touch E4710. This BBQ comes from Weber, one of the world's most premium BBQ brands, is based on the classic kettle design that started it all, features a good-size 47cm grill area, and is highly portable and easy to store.
When T3 tested the Weber One Touch E4710, we found that it was easy to assemble and thanks to its deep ash catcher, it's easy to clean as well. Cooking sausages, burgers and kebabs of the E4710 was a pleasingly straight-forward experience, and the results when partnered with a good salad, some brioche rolls and lashings of BBQ sauce, delicious. The Weber One Touch E4710 also comes with a long-lasting 10-year warranty, too, which is really impressive for a grill that retails for such a low price.
The Char-Broil Kettleman delivers everything you would want from a charcoal grill, and doesn't break your bank balance in order to do so. That's why we consider it one of the best charcoal barbecues on the market today.
Assembly is swift and straightforward, and the finished build quality is high, too, with robust steel legs and a gun-metal finish making this grill look a lot more expensive than it actually is.
There's a solid set of wheels, which makes moving it a relatively easy experience, as well as a hinged lid with built in temperature gauge and locking mechanism. The ash collector also has a snug fit and is easily accessed for ash removal, while the top-mounted damper makes increasing and decreasing the cooking temperature with the lid closed easy. In terms of cooking, you've got more than enough room to cook food for a medium-sized family or gathering, with a 56cm diameter grilling grate on offer.
Throw in a bunch of useful (and affordable) accessories such as a Kettleman Grill Cover and Cleaning Brush and you've got a strong all-round charcoal-powered barbecue grill that will cater to all but the largest of events.
Granted, the German-designed Tepro Toronto Click charcoal BBQ isn’t the most premium model in this guide but you’d need to look far and wide for a more thoughtfully designed model at this low price point.
What really impresses here is the raft of clever design flourishes. Take a look at the handle on the right. Wind it clockwise and the charcoal section moves up to within 6cm (2.3 inches) of the cooking grate. Wind it down and it stops at 22cm (8.6 inches). This is a great innovation that makes grilling a breeze. Granted, there’s no telling how well the mechanism will fare after a couple of winters in the open air but at this price, who cares?
There’s more, too, because the handle in the middle opens a door to allow for easy shovelling of extra charcoal as and when required. The main grate, meanwhile, measures 54cm x 42cm – enough meal estate for a party of eight and perhaps even ten. Oh, and for those who enjoy a beer while at the coalface, it also comes with an integral bottle opener.
For most users – especially beginners – the Toronto Click passes a great deal of muster and cooks food expertly well. But it’s that adjustable charcoal tray that’s the real clincher.
If you want to spend under £100 on a charcoal grill upgrade that can be used both at home and on the road then the Weber Smokey Joe Premium Portable Barbecue is a great choice.
Weber is one of the most respected BBQ brands on the planet and is a master of delivering stylish grills with rock solid build quality, and the Smokey Joe Premium is no exception.
You can use its 37cm steel cooking grate to cook burgers, sausages, chicken, vegetables, fish and more, while its tuck-n-carry lid lock and handle mean you can easily transport it for use during camping, picnics in the park or even expeditions down river.
The Weber Smokey Joe Premium Portable Barbecue's porcelain enamelled lid and bowl have been designed to deliver a constant cooking temperature and protect against rust after prolonged usage.
Overall, it's a very capable and stylish BBQ charcoal grill that will go the distance.
This model may look like a classic Weber charcoal BBQ but on the inside it’s a different kettle of brisket. Kamado barbecues have been all the rage since Big Green Egg came onto the scene with its extraordinarily expensive range of ceramic models and, sure enough, other manufacturers like Kamado Joe, Char-Broil and now Weber have jumped on board with their own takes on the popular Japanese grilling and smoking method.
Charcoal-based Kamados (or more accurately Mushikamados) are excellent for slow-and-low smoking, roasting and both indirect and hard-and-fast grilling, so they’re ostensibly a three-in-one outdoor cooking solution. This wide-bodied model comes with dual-walled ‘air’ insulation and an oven-style gasket in the stainless steel lid to prevent heat escaping around the edges. This means it’s good for really long smoking sessions of up to five hours and possibly more. Mind, I would always suggest using prime charcoal or, for even longer cooking times, Australian Heat Beads or Weber’s own briquettes.
The Weber Summit Kamado's stainless steel Gourmet grill grate measures a substantial 61cm in diameter – in the pantheon of barbecues, that’s pretty humongous. Just below it is a removable aluminium heat deflector for indirect cooking and smoking but you can easily remove it for standard grilling as you would do on a Weber Master-Touch.
The Summit also comes with a charcoal grate that can be positioned at two heights, a huge spring in the lid that makes it really easy to open and close, Weber’s tried-and-trusted ash catcher, a lid-mounted thermometer and a damper on top which can be opened fully to allow quick through ventilation for grilling. As we’ve come to expect from Weber, build quality is exceptional so it should last many years, even without a cover.
I tested it with a rack of ribs and the Summit held its temperature for over four hours using only a small handful of Heat Beads. Even more impressively, it then went on to successfully grill half a dozen hamburgers on the same coals after I opened all the vents to increase the temperature.
This model is also available as a cart version with a wide shelf and ingenious gas-ignition system. However, it adds an extra £840 to an already steep bill so perhaps save the extra readies and instead put some of them towards some exquisite meats from specialist butcher John Davidson’s mouthwatering Pit Master (opens in new tab) range.
This superbly designed and very well engineered cart-style charcoal kettle is better than the evergreen Weber Mastertouch for several reasons. Firstly, it has a heavyweight wavy-shaped cast iron grill that can be placed at three different heights. I can’t stress enough how important a feature this is. There are often times when the coals are nearing the end of their life and you still have the kebabs to grill. Or perhaps you’re starting with steaks and you need to sear them at high temperature. With this it's easy; just put on some gloves and lower the grill two stages to an inch or so above the heat.
The Pro 22 Charcoal Cart (opens in new tab) also has a more accurate lid-mounted thermometer than the Weber, four sturdy legs instead of three and a porcelain-enamelled steel lid with offset hinges for fuss-free lifting. Someone at Napoleon clearly knows exactly what a charcoal barbecue should be and this exemplary and extremely robust model is the outstanding result.
If you have a habit of carbonising every barbecued meal you get your hands on, it’s time to get rid of the lidless brazier you’ve been using and embrace the simply technology of convection-based kettle cooking.
The classic Weber Master Touch Premium E-5775 is a doddle to use. Simply load one or both crescent-shaped charcoal baskets and place them on either side of the bowl. Leave the lid off – there’s a catch-stand at the rear – light the charcoal and retreat for about 25 minutes. Now drop your food onto the steel grate – which has enough space for about six placements – put the lid on and go chat to your guests.
This system only requires occasional intervention, whether it’s turning food or adjusting the air intake on the aluminum ash catcher (which also includes a ‘smoke’ setting). If you follow the rule ‘if you’re lookin’, it ain’t cookin’, the food should come off the grill perfectly cooked with chicken skin just the right side of crispy.
This model is also designed to accept Weber’s Gourmet BBQ System of optional inserts, making it very much a true 3-in-1 system, capable of roasting, smoking and searing foods. Simply remove the grate’s centre section and drop in the sear grate, pizza stone, Dutch oven or poultry roaster.
Webers are renowned for their durability, and you can safely expect this one to last many winters. That said, a cover is always advisable to keep out the elements. For even more information on this top-rated 3-in-1 BBQ, take a look at our Weber Master Touch Premium E-5775 review (opens in new tab).
Now for something a little different. The Char-Broil Gas2Coal is a hybrid BBQ, which means you can choose to cook on gas for convenience and speed or on coals for taste and the authentic barbecue experience. It gets even better than that, because you can use the gas to light the coals, meaning there are no awkward moments where you fail to light a fire and have to resort to the oven.
This makes it one of the most versatile barbecues around, offering the perfect mix between gas and charcoal. The cooking capacity is great, and I like that I have the option to customise it with optional accessories. The only disappointment is that the coal tray can be difficult to clean, but really, what BBQ is easy to clean?
The Char-Broil Gas2Coal comes in three sizes, with two, three of four burners. After using this model, we’re certain that it's the future of BBQ, as it's just so adaptable. Read our Char-Broil Gas2Coal 210 Hybrid BBQ review (opens in new tab) to find out what it's like to use in the real world.
Best gas BBQs
If you want to spend under £200 and want a gas barbecue then our top recommendation is the John Lewis & Partners 2 Burner Gas BBQ. This gas grill retails for a very affordable price point, features a robust frame, two burners (which can lit individually if desired), a built-in lid thermometer and good-size grilling area.
When we tested the John Lewis & Partners 2 Burner Gas BBQ we found that it was easy to move and sturdy, too. Our testing area is located on the top of a hill, where the winds whip up frequently, and if a grill suffers from stability issues then we're soon aware of it, so it was pleasing to see this grill was stable.
In terms of design and use, this grill is very straight forward. You hook up your gas canister, turn on the gas, and then can ignite one or both burners. This is good as the size of the grill is such that if, say, just two people want to BBQ then you can just use one burner. That said, though, the good-size grilling area means you can load up a lot of burgers, steaks, kebabs, sausages and more at any time, fire up both burners, and cater for a family gathering quite easily.
If you regularly want to BBQ for larger amounts of people then John Lewis also produce 3, 4, 5 and 6-burner variations of this grill. Naturally, the price of these increases. For our money, though, this 2-burner model is more than enough for the average family.
The Very 2 Ring Gas BBQ with Side Burner doesn't deliver any fancy features but, providing you're happy with its compact size and grill area, it's a really solid, super affordable choice of gas BBQ.
At well under £100 that price is very hard to overlook. But you do get two burners, with a useful exposed side-burner allowing you to fry onions, create sauces for your meat, veg and fish, or cook other sides, as well as a 45 x 34 cm grilling area that is suitable for individuals, couples and small families.
Assembly is relatively straight forward, too, and as it's compact the whole grill is light and easy to manoeuvre, even if its wheels are a bit plasticky and don't rotate. Its build quality is not where the premium gas grills are and its design is a bit plain me-too as well, but for this money we don't think you can complain at all.
As we conclude in our Char Broil All-Star review (opens in new tab), this compact single-burner gas grill is a cracker. Its 46cm circular cast iron grate is similar to that of a standard Weber kettle and we love the way it sits flush with the surface of the main body. It also has an excellent heat-retaining hinged lid, possibly made from aluminium. The two fold-out shelves, meanwhile, provide plenty of space for holding raw ingredients while you slap them on, and it fires up instantly with one touch of its battery-powered igniter.
The All-Star’s circular single burner heats the grate to a maximum temperature of about 350˚C and, because it has one of Char-Broil’s innovative corrugated heat-distributing TRU-Infrared sheets directly beneath it, the entire grate is heated evenly. Char-Broil recommends cleaning the infrared sheet after every barbecue session and the best way to do this is to leave the gas on high for about ten minutes to carbonise the grease and other detritus. Then, simply brush off the powdered remains or use the provided cleaning tool.
The top half of this barbecue comes with its own separate set of sturdy legs so it can be lifted off the main stand and placed on a table or transported in a caravan or RV. Placing it on a table at home seems a bit pointless since the main stand is already perfectly functional and, besides, it has a handy space round the back to hide the gas bottle.
The All-Star arrived in a large box on a palette and it took longer to build than other models. Despite following assembly instructions to the letter, we had trouble fitting the top half of the unit into the main stand and now find it difficult to remove it because its four sturdy rubberised feet refuse to budge.
Minor niggles aside, the All-Star is one of the most compact gas barbies we’ve come across and an ideal choice for a patio or balcony. It’s easy to use, it grills everything evenly and it’s simple to clean. Well worth a gander.
As we note in our detailed Broil King Baron 490 IR review (opens in new tab), this is a stupendously well built and impeccably attired four-burner barbecue that ships with a large 2,968 square cm cast-iron grill grate that’s large enough to feed a party of six to ten, a brilliant high-heat infrared side burner for searing steaks, a full rotisserie set with integral back burner, a large storage cupboard beneath for a gas bottle and various BBQ accessories, a tall porcelain-enamelled hood with integral thermometer and backlit control buttons.
This is unquestionably the most versatile gas barbecue I’ve laid eyes on and I can vouch that it grills food to perfection and with zero fuss. Its heat controls are expertly calibrated so there’s never any guesswork regarding heat output while the blue backlit knobs make it easy to use when the sun’s gone to bed.
Unless you arrange installation with the store you buy it from, you will need to assemble this beast yourself which could take you up to three hours and possibly longer. However, by building it yourself – which is relatively straightforward – you’ll really come to appreciate the quality of the materials used throughout.
If you can afford the outlay and yearn for a fully-specced four-burner gas barbecue that not only grills on a large scale but also sears steaks and does rotisserie cooking, then this is the all-singing barbie for you.
The Traveler is a single burner gas barbecue with a large 320 square inch cast-iron grilling area – enough space for up to six guests and more if you’re just doing sausages or burgers.
As the name suggests, this barbie is designed with travel in mind so the whole thing collapses for easy transport. To unfold it, you simply release the safety latch, put your foot on the leg and pull it up until it clicks into position. However, it’s the folding up mechanism that really impresses because it collapses with a really slow and extremely satisfying damping action that is so appealing you might find yourself playing with the mechanism for the first 10 minutes or so after taking it out of the box. Once it’s collapsed, the Traveler can be pulled along on its oversized wheels to its final place of rest and stored on its end in the shed at the end of the season.
The Weber Traveler is designed to work with disposable gas canisters of the screw-top camping variety but it can also be adapted to work with a standard Patio Gas propane bottle if using it mostly at home. The nicely crafted porcelain-enamelled lid provides reliable indirect grilling without any flare ups though it only has one 3.8-kilowatt burner so it’s not as easy to juggle food around.
Aside from being an ideal choice for caravaners and campers, the Traveler is also perfect for flat dwellers who are allowed to use gas barbecues or anyone with a small patio. Highly recommended.
Although Campingaz is better known for its huge array of excellent camping equipment, the company also excels in the arena of large gas barbecues. Take this highly innovative three-burner model for instance. The keenly priced 3 Series Premium S’s huge 61cm x 46cm porcelain-enamelled cast iron cooking grate is good for a party of six to eight and divided into two sections: on the left it has a large cast-iron grate with a removable centre to accommodate a range of Campingaz’s Culinary Modular cooking accessories and, on the right, a two-way flat/ribbed griddle plate for fish, prawns, halloumi, vegetables and breakfast fry-ups. It’s also equipped with a right-hand side burner for pot-based boiling and a large shelf on the left.
Unlike most gas barbecues, this model doesn’t have any heat deflectors between the burners and the cooking grates. Instead, the main grilling grate is designed with several solid sections that are placed directly above each burner. These solid sections protect the burners from dripping fats while allowing naked flames to kiss the food for authentic charcoal-style flavour and texture.
Another unique innovation is the way it’s cleaned. Aside from the removable dishwasher-safe backplates, a water tray beneath the barbecue catches all the fats which basically float on the water. All you do is remove the tray and pour away the fatty water.
If budget is a consideration and you’re looking for a large, highly versatile gas BBQ that will whip up a bacon and eggs breakfast as well as a full-blown al fresco BBQ banquet, then step right this way. Read our Campingaz 3 Series Premium S review (opens in new tab) for more details.
This stainless steel-clad, two-burner gas model is an absolute cracker. The Professional Pro S2 comes with a chunky 47.8 x 44.5cm porcelain-coated, cast-iron grate and uses Char-Broil’s renowned ‘TRU-infrared’ technology – essentially a couple of perforated corrugated steel sheets above the two burners – to ensure an even cooking temperature across the entire grill surface. Amazingly, it also comes with a side steak searer which, in our test, produced a fillet with a superb caramelised crust and succulent pink centre. For added ambience, this model also features illuminated dials in bright red for night-time use.
Like most gas barbecues, the Char-Broil Professional Pro S2 fires off a 5kg Patio Gas bottle (refills around £30) which tucks neatly away in a cupboard underneath. No question, this is one of the best-built gas BBQs we’ve reviewed but, being of complicated gas origin, you should figure in about three hours to build it.
Alternatively, those with more mouths to feed might prefer this barbecue's bigger stablemate, the equally competent Char-Broil Professional Pro S3 (opens in new tab), which comes with three main burner, a larger grilling grate and the same great steak sear burner on the side.
To see how the Char-Broil Professional Pro S2 grill compares to a top competitor from rival firm Weber, be sure to check out our Weber Genesis II EX-335 GBS Smart Barbecue vs Char-Broil Professional Pro S2 (opens in new tab) comparison feature.
The gas-fired Genesis II EX-335 GBS comes with a whole bunch of smart tech that monitors the whole cook using the Weber Connect app. This is a brilliant system for novice chefs and for those who would rather entertain guests than be chained to a grill. To some degree it behaves like one of the best pellet smokers (opens in new tab) to make grilling as hassle free as possible with real-time Bluetooth and WiFi monitoring via the built in thermometer, included food probe (there are ports for two) and the Weber Connect app.
The Genesis II is equipped with three main gas burners, a Sear Station burner sandwiched between the two right-hand burners for higher steak-searing temperatures, and a side burner for pot and pan-based cooking. Its heavy-duty 68cm x 48cm porcelain-enamelled cast iron grill grate provides ample space for up to 10 hungry gannets and can be used with any accessories from Weber’s Gourmet BBQ System. It’s a shame you can’t store the gas bottle in the cupboard below but at least there’s a place for it just below the side burner. For night-time use, the Genesis II comes with bright red back-lit burner knobs and a clever clip-on LED grill lamp that automatically switches on when you raise the lid.
If you have many mouths to feed and hate being manacled to the grill while everyone else is having a good time, then consider this reliable and unequivocally high-tech option. Just be aware that it arrives on a palette and takes over three hours to assemble. Read more about this gas barbecue in our Weber Genesis II EX-335 GBS vs Char-Broil Professional Pro S2 (opens in new tab) comparison piece.
You might not find a more aesthetically pleasing gas contender than this strikingly simple (if slightly pricy) model, approved by famous food sorcerer, Heston Blumenthal.
Available in four colours, the two-burner Force is a joy to use, doesn’t take up too much space and heats up very quickly – just four minutes to reach a searing temperature of 350˚C. It also boasts the most accurate gas controllers in the business.
Build quality is exemplary. This fine slab of artistic minimalism comes with four heavy-duty legs, tough wheels, a rust-free aluminium frame and a thick aluminium hood that ensures the food is cooked evenly with very little intervention from the apron-clad man or woman in charge. The Force’s cast-iron grate comes with integrated flame tamers and provides enough grilling space for six to eight guests.
If you’re in the market for a gas barbecue that delivers in spades and don’t mind forking out so you can, uh, fork in, consider putting the Everdure Force on the shopping list.
Best pellet BBQs
Many American barbecue aficionados swear by pellet grilling because it infuses food with a truly authentic wood smoke flavour that is difficult to attain using charcoal, let alone gas. It is also arguably the easiest type of barbecuing because it’s all controlled by a computer leaving you, the host, to chill out and relax safe in the knowledge that the food will be cooked to perfection with almost zero intervention. It’s also ideal for a range of cooking styles, from fast grilling to slow smoking and roasting.
Like all pellet grills, compressed wood pellets are transported from a large hopper (in this case 9kgs) via an electrically-powered auger (basically a large corkscrew) to a small furnace pot beneath the main grill grate. The whole pellet delivery process is controlled by a computer processor – Traeger’s own D2 Direct Drive – that ensures consistency and reliability, just like an indoor oven. Hence, once you’ve set the temperature on the Traeger’s display panel or its superlative app, it remains at that temperature for as long as there are pellets in the hopper.
The heavyweight Traeger Ironwood 650 features wi-fi connectivity and comes with a 418 square inch main grill (enough space for eight chickens of five rib racks) and a removable 231 square inch warming grill above. It’s also equipped with a specialised ‘Super Smoke’ button that operates between 73˚C and 107˚C (ideal for those who like brisket and ribs), a ‘Keep Warm’ function and a meat probe that tells the processor when the food has reached the correct level of doneness. This grill is also capable of searing steaks at temperatures up to 260˚C (500˚F) but not quite as successfully as the hotter Broil King Regal 500.
Traeger is one of the world’s most popular pellet grill manufacturers and this tank-like model is a brilliant example of the high level of workmanship that goes into its products. Even assembling it was a joy because every box and every item was clearly labelled – the main box itself even turns into a mini house for the kids. It is, for many reasons, our second best choice for doddlesome pellet barbecuing on a grand scale.
How does the Traeger Ironwood 650 fare against the mighty Weber Smokefire EX4? Well, you can find out in our dedicated Weber Smokefire EX4 vs Traeger Ironwood 650 (opens in new tab) comparison feature. If you want the full picture of this grill, you can find out what we thought of this BBQ when we built and tested it in our Traeger Ironwood 650 review.
Constructed from 2mm,14 gauge steel, this pellet-smoking beast is as heavy and as solid as a house and yet, along with the similarly excellent Traeger Ironwood 650 reviewed above, it was one of the easiest barbecues to assemble.
The Regal 500 comes with acres of grilling estate – 865 square inches of it. All pellet grills produce a lot of ash from the burnt pellets and these need to be cleaned out preferably before every grilling session but, rather ingeniously, this model comes with a fire pot cleaning agitator that empties the burnt ashes into a container below. The Regal also includes an efficient drip tray system for the excess fats that slow-and-low cooking inevitably creates. When it comes to pellet usage, this model seems more economical than other models we’ve tested and it comes with a huge 10kg pellet hopper, too.
The Regal 500’s controller is fitted with a huge display that you can read from several metres away. Like the best pellet grills, you can also use it with an app so it can be controlled remotely from anywhere you like. And if you’re a fan of rotisserie chicken, lamb or beef, then you’ll be pleased to know that this model also ships with a full rotisserie set.
Granted, this is an expensive grill by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s so damn good in so many ways that it's impossible not to recommend. Get even more information in our Broil King Regal 500 review.
The SmokeFire is a heavyweight pellet-burning beast that arrived in a box big enough to live in. The main stainless steel grate measures a substantial 61cm x 46cm (good for a party of eight to possibly ten) and there’s another smaller warming rack above it. A stainless steel shelf on the side provides space for ingredients, etc.
The whole shebang is controlled using a simple push-button LCD display replete with four meat probe ports (the unit comes with one probe). Simply select the required temperature (in Fahrenheit), push the big button, and wait about 10 to 25 minutes for the grill to reach optimum cooking temperature. Now slap on the food, close the lid and go chat to your mates.
Weber’s completely thrown the rule book out the window with this model and replaced the wide steel heat reflector common to other pellet models with its famous stainless steel ‘Flavorizer’ bars. This means that, at its highest heat setting (315˚C), the edges of the roaring flame in the fire pot below are clearly visible either side of the heat baffle rather than hidden from view, and that in turn means any steak thrown on the grill receives a good searing. You can also connect this grill to your phone via Bluetooth or wi-fi and control the whole process from a deck chair using the Weber Connect app.
Now, it has to be said that the earliest run of SmokeFires did have some teething problems, namely a poorly designed pellet hopper slide, but this has since been redesigned. What isn’t in doubt is the build quality which is frankly excellent across the board, from the beautifully finished porcelain enamelled lid and tactile opening mechanism to the sturdy legs and lockable castor wheels.
If you’re looking for a large and exceedingly competent pellet barbecue that can smoke, slow roast and sear then give this one some consideration. Read our full Weber Smokefire EX4 review (opens in new tab) for more details.
As we note in our Traeger Pro 575 review (opens in new tab), this is more like an outdoor oven than a barbecue. Like all pellet grills, it uses little wood pellets, an electrically-powered auger to deliver them to a fire pot, a temperature probe and advanced computer technology to make cooking much easier for everyone from newbies to pros.
Traeger’s nailed its algorithm so well that if you pick a temperature of, say, 180ºC, it will actually stay at that temperature for as long as required, or until the meat probe it comes with signals the end of the cooking process. Purists can call that cheating all they like but I have never burned a single thing on this grill and I'm more than happy with that. A superbly designed iOS and Android app adds a multitude of hints and tips, and hundreds of exotic barbecue recipes for beef, poultry, pork, fish. Traeger also produces a wide range of different wood pellets and some of the best dry-rub seasonings in the business.
The Traeger Pro 575 is excellent at smoking and slow cooking, and it's highly reliable for conventional grilling, too. For incompetent barbecuists and those who’d like to spend more time with the guests rather than being chained to a grill, this model is more than worth its price.
Other best BBQs
This prestigious brand has become the first choice of many chefs, both pros and keen amateurs. It grills, bakes, smokes and seers and stays hot for up to 10 hours on a single load of lumpwood charcoal.
This ceramic, bulbous beauty will cook and/or smoke anything from sausages, fish and kebabs to rib racks and small legs of lamb. As the 'MiniMax' part of its name suggests, this heavyweight 40kg grill is not even the Biggest in the Green Egg range (its grill measures 33cm in diameter), but it's still sufficient to cook for up to four Americans at a time.
Like the Weber and Napoleon, the MiniMax is designed to be used with the lid on so that the food is cooked indirectly; the lid also prevents unexpected flare-ups and scorching. Right now there probably isn't a better, more forgiving barbecue on the planet. However, its premium price range is a genuine obstacle to all but the most discerning grill masters.
Do your neighbours hate you because of the plumes of smoke created every time you have a barbecue? You need a near-smokeless charcoal model, guvnor, like this snazzy spherical offering from LotusGrill.
Like the company’s eponymous portable grill, this model uses a pair of fans to speed up the charcoal ignition process. According to the blurb, it takes only a few minutes for the charcoal to reach cooking temperature, so I tried this theory out and, blow me down with a flaming feather if it didn’t take just four minutes – about 26 minutes quicker than any other charcoal barbecue – and with very little smoke in the process. Even during the cooking process this thing creates less smoke than other models and it does so by dint of a rather unique but slightly convoluted charcoal loading method and a huge 57cm grill with integrated steel shield to stop fats from dripping directly on to the coals below.
The downside to this unusual barbecuing method is that food isn’t really infused with a properly smoky flavour – there’s a glass lid available at heavy cost that will contain the small amount of smoke it produces – and there is a question of having to change the batteries for the fans from time to time. The upside is rapid heating and almost smokeless cooking, and that makes this BBQ the most considerate option for balconies and urban patios.
Food sorcerer Heston Blumenthal swaggers into the arena of Japanese kamado-style charcoal grills, giving Big Green Egg a very good run for its readies. The Everdure 4K certainly has enough innovative touches to achieve it. With its extra insulation and beautifully machined die-cast aluminium body that doesn’t get hot, this barbecue is capable of grilling, searing, roasting, baking and smoking, though not all at the same time, obviously.
The 4K comes with a relatively small 18-inch grill grate and features Fast Flame ignition using an electric hob type ring, so you will need to find a nearby electricity outlet to use it. Once fired up, the lid’s oven-type seal keeps the heat in for up to eight hours at time if slow cooking or smoking – and on just one kilogram of charcoal. Other fine design flourishes include numbered aluminium air flow valves, an interior light, a handy front drawer to store the four meat probes it comes with and a clever charcoal top-up portal on the side. The LED display’s a nice addition, too, though it is very difficult to read in bright sunlight.
Granted, this Herculean barbecue does cost a sizeable block of wonga but you’ve got to hand it to the Everdure team – it’s built like a brick outhouse and the quality of the materials used throughout is of the highest order. Oh, and you'll be pleased to hear it doesn’t require much assembly.
Designed for people who want to BBQ on the balcony without breaking the terms of their lease, or causing their neighbours to come and KILL them, the Weber Pulse 1000 (opens in new tab) is an electric barbecue.
Grill purists will have already moved on by now having read that opening sentence, but it's actually a great device. The best way to think of it is more like an absolutely enormous George Foreman type grill. Or, more accurately, like the Sage by Heston Blumenthal take on a George Foreman grill.
At 1.8 Kilowatts, this is actually less powerful than the Sage one, but it's otherwise ostensibly similar, if you ignore the fact that it is huge. There's a bright temperature display, instant control over heat – the precision is far greater than what you could ever achieve with charcoal, although I don't think gas has anything to worry about – and also a plug-in probe for monitoring the internal temperature of food. For some reason, this is not done on the main display but via Weber's iOS and Android app but it works so well, it almost takes the fun out of it. Most food comes out perfectly done, so long as you properly pre-heat the grill.
Slightly to my surprise, as well as being well cooked every time, food done on the Pulse 1000 does seem to have a more barbecue taste to it than what you'd get from a standard electric grill. Weber reckons that's down to its porcelain enamelled cast iron plates, but maybe it's just the fresh air.
On the subject of fresh air, I ought to address the main marketing claim of the Pulse 1000: that it's more neighbour-friendly. It's true to say that there's no charcoal smoke or potentially deadly and probably lease-violating gas canisters involved, but due to science, smoke and fumes coming off your food is pretty much unavoidable.
Fancy a big fat juicy sirloin with a crisp, black, caramelised outer like they do at your favourite steakhouse? Hop this way.
The Toronto is essentially a super hot gas grill that uses a rectangular 3kW ceramic infrared burner to sear steaks at up to 800˚C in about 45 seconds per side. Simply attach it to some Patio gas and fire it up using the battery-powered flame igniter. It comes with two small cooking grates (only enough space for one large steak at a time), a grate handle and two grease trays. The inner walls are comprised of a series of rails set at different heights so you could feasibly place some sausages or chicken wings on a lower rung, turn the flame down and grill them at a more modest temperature.
We tried the Toronto using both fillet and sirloin steak. The fillet was a perfect medium rare after just 90 seconds though some parts of its surface failed to blacken as we expected and we think this might have been due to its dearth of fat. By contrast, the fatty sirloin positively sizzled, turning the flame into an orange fireball and crisping the outside to black perfection. Both steaks were very succulent but they didn’t look as smooth, shiny and appetising on the outside as if we’d fried them on a high heat in a pan.
The Toronto is made almost entirely out of stainless steel and, at 40cm x 23cm, is small enough to place on an outdoor table – or perhaps take camping in a caravan or RV. The only thing you have to be wary of is that the meat cooks so quickly you absolutely must have all other accompaniments prepared, cooked and ready on the table. I learned that the hard way.
- These are the best pizza ovens (opens in new tab) for more outdoor cooking.