If you find yourself overthinking how not to undercook your food and sending your guest home with food poisoning, then look no further.
This ultimate barbecue guide will help you ensure that you enjoy your barbecue with your friends and family without constantly worrying about your barbecue.
Let’s start with the basics first: getting the right barbecue! There are two types of barbecues; gas and charcoal.
Do you know how to choose according to your cooking preference? Here’s the difference between the two.
Charcoal barbecue is a traditional way of grilling meats, fish and vegetables over live charcoal. It’s a basic concept that has been used for hundreds of years. For a charcoal barbecue, the only thing you’ll need is a hole for your charcoal, a grill and your food.
A gas barbecue uses gas instead of charcoal to cook whatever is on the grill. It’s quicker and easier to use compared to a traditional barbecue as you’ll need to insert a butane or propane gas in the barbecue and start cooking your favourite foods in under 15 minutes.
They are more pricey compared to traditional charcoal but you will be limited if you want to smoke your foods using a gas barbecue.
Charcoal barbecues are the cheapest out of the two with prices starting from £10 for a standard barbecue up to £100 onward for a premium build. Gas barbecues starting price are around £90 up to £200 onwards for a premium gas barbecue with more burners.
How to set up your Barbecue for the summer
Here we are going to show you a step by step guide on how to set up your barbecue for the summer.
Step 1: The Set-Up
The first thing you will need to do is set up your barbecue in an open space away from anything flammable like a wooden fence or a tree. Ensure you have a fire extinguisher nearby and make sure that your pets and children stay well away from the barbecue.
Step 2: Good Quality Charcoal
Try and buy good quality charcoal-like Big K lump wood charcoal or Big K Barbecue Charcoal Briquettes FSC. These will light easily and burn better and they won’t ruin the flavour of your food.
Step 3: Arrange Your Charcoal In A Proper Way
If you don’t have a chimney you can use either a natural firelighter or balls of newspaper in between the charcoal. When you light the paper or firelighter, you will need to allow the flame to catch fire and allow the coal to heat up in its own time. You will need to wait for the coals to become ashy before you start putting your food on the grill. When a few of the coals have been lit, don't be in a hurry as they will start to heat up by themselves, don't rush to add more firelighter if they aren’t fully lit. If the heat is starting to die down while you're cooking, just add coals on the outside of the barbecue and allow them to flame up, but will need to make sure that you don’t have any food on the new coal as it won’t be lit up properly.
Step 4: Knowing When Your Coals Are Ready.
If you try to cook your food when the coal is not ready, it may burn or be overcooked, it is not worth risking burning your food. Here is a colour guide to help you decide when you can start putting your food on the grill.
Black or grey with flames- they are not ready yet, step back and relax while your coal is heating up.
Glowing white-hot with red heat in the centre- if blown gently and they are glowing red in the centre they are ready for direct heat.
Ashy white but it is still extremely hot- they are ready for indirect heat and they are ready for cooking in the coals
Step 5: Use A Thermometer
Testing the internal temperature of your food will help prevent food poisoning. We would recommend the thermopro, which has a long probe so you don’t have to be close to your grill.
Our recommendation for gas and charcoal barbecue
We are now going to recommend which gas and charcoal barbecue we feel are perfect for anyone, from people who are just starting to use barbecues to people who can’t live without one.
We receive no affiliation from the brands we are presenting here, we are giving our own recommendation based on our own research and personal opinions of the products here.
Please note that the prices of the barbecues and utensils may vary from the time this article was made.
Our recommendation for charcoal barbecues
We suggest Argos Home 35cm Round Charcoal BBQ345/1319 at £10 it is the cheapest barbecue we recommend. It is small and more suitable for a small family of 4 or for small barbecues. It has enough space for the amount of food needed and is portable which makes it a perfect barbecue to take on family trips. This barbecue is also suitable for someone who doesn’t do many barbecues and tends to keep it small with their number of guests.
Credit: ArgosFor our mid-range barbecue grill, we would recommend the Wilko Charcoal BBQ Oil Drum at £50, It’s our choice for a mid-range bbq as its build quality is very good and the size of the drum is big enough for grilling a lot of food, it also comes with a warming rack on the bottom of the lid to keep your veggies nice and warm and as it is in a style of an oil drum you can close the top lid and adjust the temperature on the sides to keep all of your amazing food nice and warm for your guests, it also has a temperature gauge so you can keep an eye on how hot the drum is. This drum is large enough to cook food for up to 10 people, so it's perfect for family gatherings during this summer. The one setback to this oil drum is that it doesn't have a side shelf on the side to keep your utensils on hand, but overall the design and the practicality of the oil drum will make your summer garden parties fun and easy.
Credit: WilkoNow for our top range, we have a heavyweight champion for our suggestion for a top of the range charcoal barbecue, it’s the CosmoGrill Outdoor XL Smoker Barbecue Charcoal Portable BBQ Grill Garden, at £224.99, this charcoal grill is perfect for those who to barbecue their foods on a nice hot summers day, with their friends and family enjoying the summer heat. the CosmoGrill is large enough to hold more than 10 burgers and 10 sausages at any time, it’s also a smoker so experienced barbecuers can smoke their meats, it’s large enough to smoke a whole baby chicken, a brisket and so much more, it also has a temperature control feature which will allow you to keep your grilled or smoked food at the optimal temperature for your guests. This grill also has a variable heat distribution around the grill so you can grill each of your different foods at different temperatures so they don’t overcook or undercook, so it is perfect if you're cooking your meats and your veggies at the same time. The CosmoGrill also has a small front door to move your coals around safely and more move them around quite easily. The one downfall that the CosmoGrill has is that it takes a long time to build this spectacular grill, it takes about 2 hours and two people to assemble everything, so if you are a novice at building barbecue and you want to purchase this grill we would recommending finding someone who is an expert at building barbecues and get them to help with the installation.
Our suggestion for a lower-end Gas Grill is the Argos Home 2 Burner Gas Barbecue, this gas barbecue comes in at £95. This gas grill comes with 2 burners one on the side which is perfect to keep your food warm or whipping up a side dish while your food is cooking on the grill. This barbecue is perfect for feeding 6 people. It also comes with a side dish so you can place your utensils and beer on the side while you’re cooking up a storm on the grill.
For our mid-range gas grill is the Argos Home 4 Burner Gas Barbecue, this 4 burner gas grill comes in at £150. The 4 burner gas grill comes with a lot of features that will help you cook up your summer dishes without worry. This gas grill can cook for around 15 people, so if you enjoy having to invite your friends & family this is a perfect size for any gathering occasion. It also come with a side plate to keep your plates or utensil at hand, it also has a condiment shelf at the bottom so you have your sauces and marinades ready there for you. But one of the downfalls of this gas grill is that it is not compatible with butane gas, it only uses propane gas to cook the food.
Now for our top range gas grill is CosmoGrill 4+1 Gas Burner Garden Grill BBQ Barbecue, CosmoGrill is back again with an amazing 4 burner gas barbecue, this premium gas barbecue is £379.99. It is quite expensive but we think this is one of the best gas barbecues you can get, with 5 burners (4 in the centre and one on the side), spacious storage, easy maintenance and cleaning. It can also use both butane and propane gas to cook your grill. This grill is large enough to keep the party going, feeding more than 10 people. You will need to add to this a regulator/hose since it is not included in the grill.
Now you have your barbecue, you now need utensils that will aid in making your barbecuing experience a lot easier and safer for you. We have a list of recommendations for utensils that will help you when you are barbecuing your foods. We’ve recommended these utensils based on our use of these products and our research about them.
Here are a few we recommend:
Weber Premium Tongs- £25.19
This is a premium set of long enough tongs to reach all corners of any barbecue size and durable enough to last a very long time.
This meat fork is extremely durable and sturdy, it’s also heat resistant up to 500 degrees, so you know they won’t be damaged if your barbecue is extremely hot.
You can’t go wrong with Weber Spatula, their products are known for quality and durability so rest assured that investing in this equipment is worth it and will last you a while. It is one of the best in terms of quality so you know that this will be durable for any barbecue.
Tvird gloves are very sturdy, they are heat resistant so you know that your hand will be protected while cooking on your barbecue.
Weber Grill Basting Brush- £10.09
The Weber basting brush is an easy to use brush, with a long handle to help protect your hands from the heat, it also has a hook as well so you can hang it on a rack.
Ezi Heavy Duty Grilling Basket- £21.99
This is such a handy utensil for any barbecue party and great for grilling fish, it’s large enough to fit enough food for 2 to 4 people, as well as being dishwasher safe so you don’t have to worry about cleaning up.
These kebab skewers are perfect for both veggies and meat; they are durable and long-lasting. The skewers are 38 centimetres long so it is long enough to put a good amount of food on them and since they are reusable you’ll be saving money in the long run compared to buying the wooden skewers.
The thermopro meat thermometer is easy to use. It has a long probe which means it’s safe enough to use to check the internal temperature of your meat without burning yourself. It also has a quick response time and the readings are very accurate, so you will be able to tell if the meat has been cooked through or it needs some more time on the barbecue. This is one of the most important tools to have as it will tell you if your meats are at the optimum temperature for them to be cooked internally if you don’t have a thermometer it will be very hard to tell if your food has been cooked or uncooked internally and this can lead to food poisoning and who want their guess going home with an upset stomach.
Here are some recipes we think you’ll love on your barbecue
We have more recipes on our website at Neema Food