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A portable barbecue in an outdoor setting surrounded by pot plants with herbs
Whether you’re an aspiring grill master or just looking to upgrade your barbecue, it’s worthwhile taking the time to weigh up the various options. From size and fuel type to handy features, here’s a round-up of what to consider first.

 

Size and portability

Size is important, yet bigger isn’t always better. Consider where you will position the barbecue and how many people you regularly cook for, as this will help determine the most suitable size.

Your barbecue should sit in a place that’s accessible, well ventilated and away from flammable materials. Take this into consideration when choosing a spot, then measure up the outdoor area to size up if there’s space for a permanent built-in set-up, whether you’d prefer the flexibility of a barbecue on wheels, or perhaps you’d get more use from a compact portable style that you could also take camping or picnicking.

At the smaller end of the spectrum, two-burner barbecues, which can cater for 2-3 people, are a great fit for balconies and patios; four-burners are a family-friendly option as they offer great flexibility with space to grill sausages, burgers and sides; while large six-burners will easily cook enough for a crowd.

Fuel type

With the option of gas, electric or charcoal-fuelled barbecues, there’s more than one way to cook a snag. Selection often comes down to your preferred cooking style and set-up. The benefit of electric and gas fuelled barbecues is their convenience and ability to produce high heat fast. Keep in mind you’ll need access to a power point, or if using gas, a connection to plumbed gas, or an LPG bottle. 

Plumbed natural gas is ideal for more permanent or built-in barbecues, while swap-and-go gas bottles allow the flexibility to move your barbecue. If you opt for the latter, you can exchange your empty gas bottle for a full one, through the Gas Swap service at your local Bunnings Warehouse. 

Some people love the ritual of charcoal barbecuing and the smoky wood flavour it imbues is hard to beat. But, as coal-fuelled barbecues use indirect heat, a drawback can be the time they take to get to temperature and the challenge of maintaining a consistent heat, as well as the messy coal debris left behind. 

The cost of the various fuel types, particularly if you barbecue regularly, may also factor in your decision on electric, charcoal or gas fuel type, so weigh up the expense and convenience of the different options. 

Silver barbecue on a patio featuring an outdoor dining table

Style

Flat top: A basic option is a flat top barbecue with a solid plate, which provides a large cooking surface. Models with foldable legs are convenient to transport, yet the absence of a cooktop cover can make barbecuing in the elements challenging.

Hooded: One of the most popular styles is a hooded gas barbecue, which traps in the heat, enabling it to be used like a convection oven to roast and slow cook, as well as regular grilling.

Kettle: Coal fuelled, with a dome shaped cover, this style is compact and portable and can be used like a smoker by placing flavoured wood chips over the coal.

Red kettle barbecue with cast iron top

Materials 

Check to see what the plate and barbecue components are made from. Cast iron plates can create powerful, even heat and are easy to clean, but can be susceptible to rust over time, particularly in coastal areas – however, replacement plates are often available. Another option is a stainless-steel cooking surface, which can be more durable, yet doesn’t provide as much heat. 

Prawns and chicken skewers cooking on a barbecue grill

Inclusions and extras

Barbecue features and accessories can take your cooking skills to the next level. A hood with a glass window allows you to easily keep an eye on your steak, side burners are ideal for wok cooking and accompaniments, while side shelves provide a handy prep area. 

To expand your repertoire, consider accessories like an elevated roasting rack, a cast iron skillet or a rotisserie kit, and ensure perfection with a meat thermometer. 

When shopping for a barbecue, it’s also a good idea to get a heavy-duty cover, to protect it from the elements. 

Four-burner outdoor barbecue kitchen with built-in tap and sink

Now you’ve got an idea of what you’re after… 

Start browsing our range of barbecues to find the one that fits your budget. 


Photo Credit: Cath Muscat and Brigid Arnott 

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.