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Top 5 BBQ Features

If you’re thinking of investing in a new barbecue or upgrading your current model in time for the summer months, we’ve compiled a list of must-have features to make choosing the right BBQ for you that bit easier!

There are so many charcoal barbecues and gas barbecues on the market that it’s not always that easy knowing which one to opt for, unless you have a specific criteria such as portability in mind. However, if you want a new barbecue for your garden so you can cook delicious food for the next few months al fresco and entertain friends and family too, here are our top 5 BBQ features to look out for.

Barbecue griddle

Alongside the standard barbecue grill, a griddle is incredibly useful. A big metal plate, you can use the griddle for all sorts of cooking ventures from stir frying onions to boiling beans in a pan. Its large surface also makes it good if you want to cook on a flat and even surface, for items like eggs – you could make a mean cooked breakfast outdoors using one of these.

BBQ Accessories

BBQ Accessories

Barbecue hood

Like the griddle, the hood is a barbecue fan’s best friend if you want variety. When the hood is down, the inside of the gas or barbecue device gets hot and this hot air circulates to evenly cook the food, similar to what happens inside an oven. A barbecue hood is particularly good for roasting big bits or joints of meat, roasting vegetables and baking fish.

Barbecue porcelain enamelled grill

This higher-spec metal grill benefits from a layer of hardened glass, non-toxic material that prevents the grill from burning or rusting. Plus, thanks to its smooth surface, food is less likely to stick and cleaning the grill post-party is that bit easier.

Barbecue warming rack

A warming rack is perfect for parties because it lets you cook lots of different foods and dishes without having to worry about timing – when items are cooked simply place them on the warming rack to stay warm while the rest catch up. This rack is placed above the main grill, so you can carry on barbecuing food while those foods already ready stay lovely and warm until it’s time to tuck in.

BBQ Accessories

BBQ Accessories

If you’re looking for a new charcoal barbecue with warming rack, there’s the Outback Omega 200 model which you may want to consider.

Barbecue ash trays

Look out for ash trays and fat trays you can remove from charcoal and gas BBQs, as these are enormously helpful when it comes to cleaning up post-cooking. A good trick is to line the trays with some foil and sand as the sand will soak up the ash and fat and cooking bits while the foils enables you to just remove it and bin it when you’re ready.

Other features that are great in a barbecue include a cover, especially if you intend to leave your barbecue in the garden pretty much all summer as it will protect the device from the weather. Storage can also be crucial; such as side burners for cooking pasta or warming through soup, side tables for keeping prepared food until it’s ready to go on the grill, and special areas for the barbecue utensils.

What features do you look for in a barbecue?

Portable Barbecues

In many national parks, rangers are realising the power of the barbecue. Allowing for picnic tables to have a metal tray where a portable barbecue can be placed, making that walk in the park just a little more special.

There is no better time of year than in winter to enjoy the winter barbecue. Although summer may seem like the ideal season, wasps, flies and heat make it almost unbearable sometimes. Coupled with this, almost everyone has the same idea, and finding the right spot for a barbecue can seem like a pointless affair.

Portable Barbecues Are Really Handy

As we’ve had such a good winter with mild conditions across the board a family walk is an ideal way to get out and about at the weekend. Rolling down hills and splashing in streams the children can burn off energy as you prepare a feast alfresco style.

Portable Barbecues

Portable Barbecues

This truly is picnic dining with a tantalising twist. Just a little preparation and you could all be enjoying full bellies of meat and salads before walking it off and then returning home to a cosy wood burning stove.

Tupperware becomes our best friend at a picnic. Marinade meat the night before and place in Tupperware boxes. As you walk through the moors on a morning the jiggling will help more than any flavour shaker will. This will produce the tastiest barbecue meat you’ve consumed in a long time.

Chicken with lemon thyme and garlic, pork with sage, onions and chives, or beef with mustard and soy sauce will all travel well in a backpack.

You may wish to avoid using burgers or meatballs, as the jiggling will have the opposite effect breaking them down into mush!

Any accompaniments can be taken along for the ride. A good bloc of cheese, some butter and bread will all add to the outdoor feel however try to resist the temptation to use the French loaf as a hiking stick, they break easily and could see you or a younger one riddled with injury.

Portable Barbecues

Portable Barbecues

Salads will last a good few hours, as long as the dressing is kept separately. Add ingredients to an old bottle and with a tight fit let your walking do the shaking.

Most of all don’t forget the dessert. You could have roasted pineapple, marshmallows, or wait until the return home for some stodge in front of the wood burning stove.

After all, it may be mild, but it’s still winter. We deserve it!

Stocking up for a barbecue

If we are to make the most of our barbecues in the UK we must be prepared to act fast. Many planned barbecue events have been rained off at the last minute due to the great British summer weather.

However, sometimes the best barbecues are those that are completely unplanned, as we suddenly realise it’s a weekend without any rain, we quickly decide to fire up the charcoal and get the grill on the go.

Impromptu Barbecue- Your Quick Fire Shopping List

The only problem with this is the expense, as supermarkets and even butchers put a high price on prepared barbecue fodder. However with an armed list you can have your sausages sizzling in no time, without breaking the bank. Using larder items you can also make sure your meat is marinated giving it the home cooked touch in a jiffy.

Impromptu Barbecue

Impromptu Barbecue

Resist buying these items in advance to store in the freezer for that short notice gathering as you’ll only become frustrated when your chicken doesn’t defrost in time!

Your impromptu shopping list:

  • Pork chops
  • Sausages
  • Chicken Wings, Breasts and Legs (If time buy a couple of chickens and carve yourself)
  • Steak (if feeling frivolous)
  • Belly pork
  • Minced Beef
  • Lamb Chops
  • Mint Sauce (The cheaper the better –supermarket brands are the best)
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • White Cabbage
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Bread buns of all shapes and sizes

You can choose whichever meat you prefer however for quick and easy marinades using the store cupboard ingredients try mixing lemon juice with garlic as a five minute marinade for pork chops, chicken and belly pork.

Smother lamb chops in a mixture of cheap mint sauce, garlic and rosemary.

Make quick burgers by adding smoked paprika, garlic and salt to mince before forming patties.

Make a herb butter for steak by simply mixing butter with any garden herbs of your choice.

You can also make a steak sauce from parsley lemon juice, oil and garlic. This sauce will double as a great salad dressing or as an accompaniment to any meat.


For a barbecue sauce you can cheat by mixing tomato ketchup with brown sauce, adding a little chilli powder if desired.

For side dishes simply diced cucumber and add the cheap mint sauce, you’ll be surprised at how complicated this dish appears when served to guests and everyone will want the recipe. Slice tomatoes and add lemon to bring out the flavour along with a touch of salt and lemon juice. Bread dipped in the juices at the bottom of the bowl is absolutely heavenly.

With the help of a food processor you can also make your own coleslaw and this will serve as a salad in its own right rather than just a condiment. Using the grating facility grate onions, carrots and cabbage and mix with mayonnaise. You can add cheese for a cheese coleslaw or herbs or cream for luxury coleslaw that will definitely be a crowd pleaser. It’s up to you whether you share your speedy secrets or not, however you may want to trade a few in return for an extra pair of hands washing up!