Our outdoor lifestyle means there’s little we love more than firing up the barbecue and enjoying some grilled goodness at home or on the road.
But if your barbecue’s looking a little worse for wear these days, perhaps it’s time to ask yourself these five burning questions as you consider a backyard barbecue upgrade?
How big are you willing to go?
First and foremost, think about where your new barbecue will live and how you’d like to use it.
If you live in an apartment with only a small balcony, or you’re known to pack up the camping gear often and get back to nature, you’ll want to consider a small and portable option.
Light and versatile, there’ll rarely be dramas firing up a portable barbie to cook a quick batch of snags or to pack away for a weekender with family or friends.
Freestanding barbecues tend to be bigger and heavier than portable alternatives, so think carefully about where you want it to live in your backyard – keeping in mind protection from the elements, cleaning needs and proximity to outdoor eating areas.
Many come with plenty of enclosed storage and strong permanent trays, though their sheer size means you’ll need to be prepared to spend a little extra time cleaning after a cook-up.
Ask your barbecue retailer about delivery and assembly options (some will charge extra, but it’s often a good investment) or put the call our to family and friends to help with putting it all together.
Built-in barbecues are often the centrepiece of outdoor kitchens – where families gather to eat or entertain guests – and come complete with high-quality finishes and the type of extra features you’d expect for the higher price point.
Factor in the size and extra cost of your built-in barbecue as it relates to your existing entertaining setup, or as part of a new or upgraded outdoor living space. It’s a great way to add extra value to your home.
How much are you willing to spend?
If you think of your new barbie as a long-term investment, it’s often worth going for the best possible size and quality for your budget.
Be sure to enquire about warranties when you purchase for extra peace of mind.
The wallet-friendly option is a small, portable barbecue – which will likely feature modest grill space suitable for a handful of snags, a steak and a few grilled mushrooms.
Expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $800 depending on the brand, style and quality – with the higher end models offering better strength, stability and features.
Looking to splash out on a larger freestanding family barbie? You’ll likely pay anywhere from $500 for your basic models to over $2,500 for one with all the bells and whistles.
As standalone barbies often stay put in one place, look for models made from high-quality materials that resist weathering. Remember, you only get what you pay for.
If you’re considering built-in options for your new or improved outdoor kitchen, set aside at least $1,000 and anywhere up to or over $5,000 to cover the barbecue.
These models are usually made of high-quality stainless steel with a cooking area and handy functions to feed the masses. Used in protected outdoor entertaining areas, they should last you decades.
Which fuel would you prefer?
Australia’s most common barbecue fuel is liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), also known as butane, sold in small cylinders for easy transport and connection to your barbie.
Gas offers an instant and adjustable heat source that’s perfect for spending less time at the grill and more with family and friends.
Kleenheat Kwik-Gas is our convenient cylinder exchange program, making it easy to purchase a new cylinder or swap an empty cylinder for a full one at a retailer close to you.
Natural gas is the perfect option for built-in barbecue setups – as you’ll likely have the option of tapping into your home’s existing natural gas service when firing up the grill.
Most models easily convert to natural gas, which means you’ll never have to worry about running out of gas again.
Just make sure you organise and invest in a qualified gas plumber to do the installation work for you.
Charcoal and smoking chips
For those who see barbecuing as more a hobby than a chore, choosing to cook with charcoal or smoking chips offers that unique smokiness.
While charcoal is considered unbeatable for flavour, temperature control can be tricky and it can take upwards of 30 minutes to get your coals to grilling temperature.
Smokers use smouldering hardwood pellets and cook and infuse smokiness into your meal, with gas or electric models good options for first-timers as you can pretty much set the temp and walk away.
What cooking features do you want or need?
Want to cook in style? Go for models with a few of these fancy features.
Need to feed a small army? Go for as many burners and as much grilling space as you can afford – with half grill, half hotplate options offering the flexibility to cook your steak and sausages on the flame while marinated food sizzles on the plate.
Freestanding and built-in barbecues will often come with a side burner that acts as a gas stovetop, perfect for high-heat cooking such as a stirfrys or deep-fried goodies.
Impress your friends with delicious homemade rotisserie chicken straight from the barbie, or the perfect pork roast complete with that fantastic crackling.
Christmas roasts will be a cinch with a handy built-in temperature gauge guiding you. Keep the lid closed to build up the heat, then lift the hood and adjust your dials now and then to maintain the desired heat.
Finished cooking your red meat and want to give seafood or veggies a quick grill? Cooked or resting food will never go cold sitting up on your warming rack. Perfect.
Which barbecues are other Aussies choosing?
Still can’t decide which barbie’s right for you? Check out the brands and models Australian consumers love.
Canstar Blue’s top five
Canstar Blue is a consumer review and comparison website helping Australian consumers make better-informed purchase decisions.
As part of Canstar Blue’s 2020 review, customers rated the best barbecue brands in Australia.
Here’s the top five:
- Matador – top billing with a five-star rating for overall satisfaction.
- Bull – voted the best design with thumbs-up for easy cleaning and value for money.
- BeefEater – also enjoyed for easy cleaning and value.
- Ziegler & Brown – rated best for durability.
- Weber – a previous winner, this year still returned a healthy four stars.
For the fifth year in a row in 2020, Kleenheat topped Canstar Blue’s customer satisfaction ratings for WA Natural Gas suppliers.
ProductReview’s top five
ProductReview.com.au is Australia’s first and most comprehensive consumer opinion site, providing a platform where people can rate and review services and products and the shops that sell them.
With ProductReview, Australian barbie-lovers rate these five barbecues best:
- Crossray Infrared ($899 – $1,399)
- Weber Baby Q Series ($339 – $349)
- Weber Family Q Series ($728 – $829)
- Weber Q Series ($469 – $509)
- Weber Kettle Series ($219 – $2,399)
Kleenheat took top honours in the “Energy provider” category in the 2021 ProductReview Awards – representing the best and most reliable purchasing choices available to Australian energy consumers in 2020.
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Choose home grown, choose Kleenheat
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