GEAR GUIDE: Barbecues
Summer time, and the cooking is easy? It’s hard to resist the charms of a barbecue – whether it’s charcoal, gas or even electrical. It’s your choice, of course, and there are pros and cons for each – in terms of flavour, effectiveness for cooking and ease of keeping clean. Also, barbecuing can be immensely social, a great opportunity for family and friends to gather round and enjoy a meal and more… at the same time do spare a thought for your neighbours. Not everyone appreciates the smoke.
We've put together a very quick round-up of some of the types of unit you can use for barbecuing. There are, indeed, plenty more out there – from instant, throw-away items to full-scale behemoths that are equally at home back at home!
Always check your chosen campsite is OK with barbecues and the particular type you intend to bring along. Some operators are wary of fire pit-type designs that end up being used for keeping people warm rather than cooking.
A bowl of water and supply of towels (paper or otherwise) are handy accompaniments to any outdoor cooking. Also, a small plant sprayer filled with water can be used to prevent a barbecue getting too hot.
As ever, cooking in any format in your test is a potential safety hazard. Never be tempted to drag a barbecue into your tent for warmth, post-cooking. It’s always worth considering a fire extinguisher and/or blanket to accompany your first aid kit.
KEEP OFF THE GRASS
The usual warning applies. Don’t scorch the grass with any of your cooking appliances. Just make sure your barbecue is stable at the start of your preparations.
SUNNCAMP DELUXE BUCKET BBQ
Burgers on a budget? Why not? With a keen price and a cooking area of some 27cm diameter, this could be more than handy for most folk. The grill is chrome-plated, so it’s easier to wipe clean straight after cooking. The legs keep this well off the ground, giving a cooking height of 23cm.
Key features Galvanised inner bucket, handle, built-in legs
QUEST TABLE TOP ELECTRIC BBQ AND GRILL PIC TO FOLLOW
Prefer to keep away from gas and charcoal? Then how about this? It relies on a 230V/2000Watt electricity supply – so that’s an 8.7 amperage – and also comes with a thermostatic control. Also here are an adjustable grill plate and a grease tray, both removable, the latter ideal for letting cooked fats drain away rather than sticking to surfaces after cooking. Grill dimensions are 45cm x 22.5cm. Pack size is 56cm x 37cm x 12cm and it weighs 2.3kg.
Key features Integrated safety switch, automatic cut-off, anti-slip feet, grease tray, power indicator, integrated handles, heat-resistant housing
EASY CAMP FIRE TRIPOD DELUXE
For use at campsites that allow fires. You’ll certainly get yourself noticed with this tripod and grill item. There’s no excuse for not cooking to perfection, either, with adjustable height for the 50cm diameter grill using the chain (total height is 1.5m). Typically Easy Camp, keenness of price means a compromise on overall sturdiness.
Key features Adjustable grill height, steel-coated heat resistant paint, chrome-plated iron grill
Neat, eh? It looks like a traditional toolbox – because that’s what it is. But, when you open it, instead of an array of screwdrivers, pliers, hammers and more, it’s a full-on barbecue. The main cooking area is some 20cm x 38cm, supported by – on separate sides – a racked warming area and an open space that’s ideal for keeping any essentials close to hand. Another clever design touch is the carrying handles fold over completely to become legs – keeping the whole unit safely off the grass and the campsite operators happy!
Key features High-temperature paint finish, stainless steel grills, adjustable vents
Outwell calls this a grill and fire pit, but we reckon it’s just a trendier, more “glampy” take on a conventional way of barbecuing. Use charcoal or wood as your fuel source. In stainless steel, it weighs some 7kg. Key to making this so popular is the neat way it all folds up, too – to 44cm x 44cm x 4cm
Key features Four-step grill adjustment, stainless steel grill, carry bag
This newest version of the highly-regarded Cobb is also arguably the most camper-friendly. It’s not as tall or as large overall as its sister models Premier and Pro, so it takes up less space when being transported. Yet it boasts all their features. It uses Cobb’s own Cobblestones or conventional charcoal as its fuel source. And one of the key advantages is the outside stays cool no matter what the cooking temperature is inside. Take it home and you can clean most of it in your dishwasher. Cobb recommends just wiping the mesh base. It weighs 3.2kg and dimensions are 33cm x 28cm high (22cm if you have the dome inverted).
Key features Base, inner bowl, dome and fire basket all in stainless steel, lifting handle, instruction book
CAMPINGAZ PARTY GRILL 400 CV
No stranger to the pages of Camping, the Party Grill from Campingaz is famed for its versatility. The CV variant, here, runs off butane or propane cylinders – with typical run times of 19 hours and 30 minutes and 12 hours and 30 minutes from an R907 or R904 respectively. Not only does it barbecue, it can cook in another four ways – stove, griddle, grill, plancha (ie solid plate), plus stir-frying wok-style using the upturned lid. This is the mid-range model. Also available are the 200 and 600 and, as you’ve guessed, it’s all down to size. One thing they do share in common, however, is they’re all recipients of our very own Editor’s Choice Awards.
Key features All-in-one design, detachable legs, piezo ignition, storage bag
Truly portable, and the kind of design that keeps the heat well off the ground, the base also acting as an ash tray (use coal or wood). Weight is 6.1kg and dimensions are 39cm x 60cm x 53cm high when folded out, then folding down almost flat. The price below is for the smaller version. Add an extra £20 if you want the larger.
Key features Powder-coated steel, stainless steel grille, air inlet,