With summer coming into full swing, it’s hardly surprising we’re cooking outdoors more than ever before.
Indeed, according to a recent survey by Weber, one in 10 have been barbecuing weekly in the winter, with half doing so in the summer – and it’s fast becoming a year-round experience.
As Dan Cooper, head grill master at Weber, puts it: “The popularity of barbecuing continues to grow, and we expect it to be a centrepiece for entertaining.
“There’s nothing better than gathering friends or family, preparing tasty food and enjoying eating outdoors. Our research shows there is clearly an appetite for getting outside, trying something new on the grill and creating more cost-effective menus.
“To expand your barbecue repertoire, Cooper suggests selecting less expensive cuts of meat. For example, replacing pricey prime beef cuts with steaks, such as a skirt, hanger, or flat iron.
“Also, get creative by using ingredients you already have in the fridge, you would be amazed at what you can add to a humble burger to make it really standout.”
Meanwhile, Marina Vestbirk, outdoor buyer for John Lewis, says more customers are considering the best type of fuel to fire up, and diversifying from traditional gas or charcoal models.
“Dual fuel means they can run on gas or charcoal or both together, removing that often difficult decision of which fuel type to choose.
“As for popular alternative fuels, sales of the Traeger Wood Pellet BBQ is up 118per cent compared to this time last year,” says Vestbirk. “And the new electric Weber Lumin is up 39 per cent compared to last week, a great option for city dwellers with balconies.”
Tongs at the ready, here’s what’s hot on the grilling circuit…
1. Orbit Electric Grill, The Range
Who says you can’t be the pitmaster in the smallest of patio spaces… and savour the simplicity of an electric grill? With the option of tabletop or standing on slim legs, this one features a non-stick hotplate to flip those burgers and bangers.
2. Weber Lumin Compact Electric Barbecue, Weber
Weber’s answer to a boutique barbie, this latest blockbuster is backed by a smoke-infusion system for searing, smoking, steaming and boiling at high temperatures – more than 315°C. And if you’re a seasonal cook, summer’s open-flame grills can be switched out for grilling inside with this sleek model.
3. Sahara S350 3 Burner Gas Barbecue, Dobbies
We’ve singled this one out for its viewing window, especially if you love to watch what’s cooking and see no reason for keeping your marinated beef brisket behind closed doors. With a warming rack, bamboo snap-out side trays and generous cooking area, it deserves your best sticky BBQ sauce.
4. John Lewis Grillstream 4 Burner Hybrid Gas & Charcoal BBQ, John Lewis
With the option of using gas or charcoal, this best-selling hybrid can be tailored to suit your grilling needs. Namely glowing coals for laid-back, summer cook-outs; or gas for grilling when you’re short on time but big on ease and enjoyment. Includes griddle, lid thermometer, warming rack, side shelves (one can be converted into a side burner) and enclosed storage.
5. Weber SmokeFire (2nd Generation) EX4 GBS Wood Fired Pellet Grill, Weber
Cited as a great all-rounder, this is your easy weeknight BBQ, which can take on a peppered seared steak, sizzling skewers for weekend warriors and bake with the best when you’re rustling up a cake recipe. With Weber Connect Technology for step-by-step grilling assistance via your smartphone, dual grilling zones, SmokeBoost function for genuine, wood-fired flavours galore, and much, much more.
6. Traeger Pro D2 575 WiFi Connected Wood Pellet BBQ, John Lewis
This high-performance, state-of-the-art BBQ can be managed and monitored from your mobile phone using the Traeger app. Simply plug into the mains, fire up these environmentally friendly pellets and scroll through more than 1,500 recipes to inspire your inner chef… and impress family and friends.
7. Ultimate Smoker Pro by BBQ Chef, The Range
The big daddy of them all, if barbecuing is serious business in your household, this charcoal BBQ is where it’s at. With the capacity to cater for large gatherings, highlights include an adjustable charcoal tray with cranking system, removable ashtray to make cleaning hassle-free, generous storage drawers, temperature gauge and bottle opener for that all important bevvy. Bring on the burgers!