If you’re partying through the summer and feeding lots of friends and family, it could be time to invest in alfresco cooking equipment that’s up to the job!

Description: At last… barbecue time is here!

At last… barbecue time is here!

Charcoal or gas which is best?

For impromptu outdoor dining, gas is the winner (52% of homeowner agree), but you can’t beat charcoal for an authentic barbecue flavor. “If you want the best to both worlds, choose a gas barbecue that has either lava rocks around the burners, or metal plates or vaporizer bars over them,” says GHI’s head of testing, Trisha Schofield. “This means that when grease and meat juices vaporize they will infuse the food with smoke.”

Choosing and using

·         For cooking roasts and thicker foods, get a barbecue with a domed lid and an integral temperature gauge, so you can control the heat. We found whole chickens took around an hour and a quarter on a low setting, and were evenly browned with a crisp skin and moist flesh.

·         Choose a barbecue with a griddle plate to cook smaller items, such as prawns, sear meat or fry eggs.

·         Cut cleaning time: line the drip tray with foil and add a layer of sand to absorb the grease. Turn gas barbecues to high for five minutes to burn off cooking residue.

GHI choice: gas

Outback spectrum flatbed 3 burner

Price: $449.99

Description: Outback spectrum flatbed 3 burner

GHI verdict:

·         Takes nearly an hour for the initial assembly

·         Burners powerful but easy to regulate

·         Even heating across the grill

·         Food evenly browned, and chicken and sausages stayed moist and tender

Features: grills, griddle, cover and propane regulator

Size: 88 x 140 x 59 cm

Cooking area: 63.5 x 42 cm

Website: outbackbarbecues.com

Ready in minutes

Weber Q220

Price: $449.99

Description: Weber Q220

GHI verdict

·         Circular burner provides gentle heat so food is cooked evenly without burning

·         Chicken is moist with crispy golden skin when cooked with lid down. Oil food to prevent sticking on grill

·         10 mins to assemble. Easy to store. Fat-collector tray speeds up cleaning

Features: grill, hose and gas regulator, disposable drip tray

Size: 100 x 125 x 47 cm

Cooking area: 54 x 30 cm (grill)

Website: weberbbq.co.uk

GHI choice: charcoal

Asda the big American grill

Price: $188

Description: Asda the big American grill

GHI verdict

·         Adjustable grill is great for cooking foods of varying thickness – you can move coals towards or away from food as required

·         Lid can be closed for cooking thick items such as chicken or be opened for use as a windshield

·         Sturdy design and easy to clean

Size: 119 x 152 x 71 cm

Cooking area: 71 x 47 cm (grill)

Website: asda.co.uk

Party on!

Outback cook dome 702 charcoal barbecue

Price: $209

Description: Outback cook dome 702 charcoal barbecue

GHI verdict

·         Grill sits quite low in the barbecue so food cooks quickly – but keep watch as it can easily catch fire and burn

·         Grill has lifting side sections making it easy to replenish charcoal

·         Rain cover included

Size: 102 x 66 x 66 cm

Cooking area:  51.5 cm diameter

Website: outbackbarbecues.com

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