BBQ Buying Guide

Ah, the barbecue: one of the great Australian institutions. Offering delicious, healthy food .as well as providing a great place to stand around with a beer and pretend to be busy.

At Appliances Online we have a wide range of BBQs offering everything from portable options through to plus-sized models which will get you cooking on a grand scale.

This buyer's guide is designed to help you find the perfect BBQ to suit your taste, needs and budget.

What have we got?

. Freestanding BBQs - heavy duty, multi-faceted units which also offer the flexibility of manoeuvrability.

. Built-in BBQs - which are designed to be incorporated permanently into an outdoor bench-space.

. Portable Gas BBQs - small-scale units, perfect for situations where space is at a premium or if you are looking to take your BBQ on the road.

. Electric BBQs - Convenient and effective, without the hassle of a gas connection.


We also stock a selection of heavy-duty outdoor rangehoods

Which one to choose?

All our BBQs are sourced from leading brands, including De'Longhi, Electrolux and BeefEater.

If you would like to support a quality Australian brand, BeefEater is our top recommendation. Made to withstand the harsh Australian weather conditions, BeefEater barbeques offer excellent versatility and value for money.

Size

It's an obvious point, but this should be your first consideration when trying to figure out what type of BBQ to buy. 'cos, as the cliché goes: size matters.

Here's an important tip: be realistic. By which we mean, bigger isn't necessarily better. There's no point investing in a six-burner multi-levelled monster when you're rarely going to use it - it'll be more hassle than it's worth.

By the same token, a small portable BBQ will struggle to cope with the demands of a major-league BBQ night .unless you're happy to be cooking in several batches (and that might make for a long night). However, their compact size is an advantage when you don't have a lot of room. Craving a barbecued steak but only have a small balcony to play with? A portable gas BBQ is your best bet.

This table will give you a rough idea of the size you will need:

Number of people in household Number of burners
1-3 2-3
4 or more 4 or more

Which leads us to the next size-related point: make sure you measure up the available space you have for your BBQ prior to your purchase. (On the Appliances Online website, the dimensions of each model are visible beside the 'Features' section).

Options: Gas or Electric

Our range of BBQs allows you to choose either gas or electricity as a fuel source.

Gas

With the superior cooking results it affords, gas is an awesome fuel source for BBQs. (Our opinion is that gas is by far the best choice when it comes to barbequing).

Most gas barbeques are designed to run either on bottled gas or LPG. These bottles are sold separately and will have to be refilled periodically. They are easy to source and can be found at outlets such as: Bunnings, Elgas, Kleenheat, Swapagas, Coles Express Petrol Stations and Shell Swap & Go.

However, some BBQs come supplied with kits that enable you to attach your BBQ to a natural gas supply (provided, of course, you actually have a natural gas connection in your home). A natural gas connection presents the obvious benefit of providing a continuous fuel supply. Please note that you will need a licensed tradesman to connect your barbeque to natural gas.

As a fuel source, gas offers quick heat-ups and excellent cooking control via the burner control knobs. Oh and let's not forget - it's very economical.

Electric

Appliances Online also stocks a selection of BBQs which just use an electric power source. If you have an electric socket, these things are ready to rock.

Perfect for small patios and balconies, they make a convenient choice if you have no room for a gas canister .or, if you just can't be bothered with the hassle of a gas connection.

True, they don't match the versatility or heavy-duty capabilities of the best gas BBQs on offer - but on the flip-side, they offer a no-fuss solution if you want to cook up a steak or two in a hurry.

Options: Built-in or Freestanding Gas BBQs

Delivering large cooking surfaces and versatile cooking options, these are both valid options if you barbecue frequently and need to prepare a lot of food.

Freestanding BBQs: are the most popular variety of barbie out there and because they offer heavy-duty functionality - plus they're fairly easy to move.

Built-in BBQs

These are designed to be permanently integrated into your outdoor entertaining area. Please bear in mind you will need to arrange for a licensed tradesman to connect your built-in barbeque to a natural gas supply.

A built-in barbeque will form the jewel in the crown of a complete outdoor kitchen set-up. However, you will lose the flexibility that portability affords.

Another Option: Portable Gas BBQs

As we've said, small portable BBQs are not generally a good bet for the major-league BBQ cook-off. But there's plenty to love about their portability. You can take them with you when you're camping or out on the boat - and they'll also fit neatly on the patio of that beach-house.

Again, BeefEater are leading the way in this department, with their Beefeater BUGG BBQs offering excellent performance and sturdy reliability. As well as offering no fuss start-ups and surprisingly powerful burners, they are also complemented by an excellent range of accessories (sold separately).

Quality

Durability of your product is going to be important - since in most cases these puppies are destined to sit outside most of the time.

Premium models (i.e. the most long-lasting ones) at Appliances Online incorporate plenty of materials such as High Grade Stainless Steel and rust-free porcelain enamel finishes. Meanwhile, the toughest grills are made of cast iron, stainless steel or porcelain-coated aluminium.

Functionality

The first question is: what will you be using your barbeque for?

Are you interested in preparing a multi-faceted extravaganza? Do you want to cook up some veggies on the side? Would you like the option of roasting your food? Or are you just looking for a quick way to cook up a steak quickly and easily?

BBQs are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their capabilities - and there are many features to look out for, starting with:

The Cooking Surface

Again, size is an important consideration - if you're going to use your BBQ to entertain, for example, you'll need plenty of cooking space. Consider also the organisation of the cooking surface - how is it divided, for example, between the grill and hotplate surfaces? Some give you the option of a 50-50 split.

Grill Surface: this is the place to cook up your steaks, sausages and so on. The grill area provides a flavoursome and healthy option: not only is your meat infused with the BBQ smoke, but the fat will drip away from the food.

Hotplate: the hotplate area allows you to cook items that might otherwise fall through the grill - such as mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, etc.

Look out for a means to control the burners independently - this will give you greater control of the cooking process.

Gas Ignition

Our pick for easy start-ups is the BeefEater Quartz Start ignition. They are durable, reliable, no-fuss options which don't require a battery.

That said, you'll find excellent ignition systems across our entire range of gas BBQs - although some may require a battery.

Side Burner

A potentially extremely useful feature, this is (as the name suggests) a burner attached to the side of the BBQ. Side burners make it possible to cook up your side dishes without having to go back inside to the kitchen. Thus they are extremely handy!

Roasting Hood

A BBQ with a roasting hood offers great flexibility for your cooking. Roasting hoods trap the grill heat to transform the BBQ into an oven - making it possible to bake and roast.

You'll find roasting hoods constructed from enamel or Stainless Steel at Appliances Online.

More Accessories

Added Speciality Burners

Selected models of barbeque provide specialty burner options such as: wok, rotisserie and smoker. These special burners allow you to create a greater variety of dishes.

Warming Racks

Designed to sit above the grilling plate, a warming rack will keep food warm until it's time to plate-up.

Fold-down Side Tables

Included on some portable BBQs, fold-down side tables are a very helpful organisational and preparation tool.

Built-in thermometer

Built-in thermometers are usually found inside the roasting hood of your barbeque. These make it possible to roast and bake with greater precision.

BBQ Rangehoods

If you're going to be cooking inside a small, semi-enclosed space, a BBQ rangehood is a good idea. An outdoor rangehood is also a great investment if anyone in your family suffers from asthma.

Barbeque rangehoods need to be permanently mounted on a wall, with the smoke ducted away from the cooking area. They ideally need to be undercover and away from the elements.

Also bear in mind you'll need to accommodate height restrictions - outdoor rangehoods need to be mounted at least a metre above the cooking surface, to account for flare-ups.

Cleaning and Maintenance

A pain in the neck by anyone's reckoning - but hey, it has to be faced for the sake of fire-safety and hygiene. You'd be well advised to clean up every time that you cook.

Look out for hotplates and grills that are made from cast iron - because cast iron is less likely to rust, and it's also relatively easy to clean up after you've finished cooking.

Personally we think that, while Stainless Steel is durable and looks great, it can be hard work to clean.

N.B. Beware of barbeques featuring low-grade cast iron or Stainless Steel - they'll be a nightmare in the long-run.

If you are leaving your BBQ outside, we strongly recommend investing in a cover to protect your investment while it's not in use (some BBQs come with covers included).

Drainage

Unfortunately, cleaning up the residual fat and oil is part and parcel of owning a BBQ. There's no way really to get around it - yeah, it can be a pain, but on the other hand it'll stop your BBQ from catching fire (which is a plus, right?!).

A lot of BBQs will feature a slide-out drip tray or pan to gather fat and oil residues - you may want to find out how sturdy and easy-to-remove this will be.

Be aware there are more sophisticated examples out there: with drainage management systems on offer to channel the fat into removable containers or reservoirs.

Got any more questions about BBQs we haven't covered in this guide? Feel free to give us a call on 1300 000 500.