Bodum Fyrkat Mini, from £35 johnlewis.com
Monolithic garden barbecues are for people who tuck napkins in their shirts. And there’s nothing Neanderthal about gas, either. We're at least cooking it Crusoe-style. We’ve been dreaming of the day when we arrange that long-planned fishing trip and actually catch a fish. With this ball-like Bodum in a backpack, we could light the charcoal, sling our freshly caught mackerel across the 30cm grill and feast right there on the coast. No gas, no electricity, no supermarket delivery. We might pack some sausages, though – just in case.
Napoleon Mirage M605RBCSS, £1100 napoleongrills.com
We frequently dream about barbecues, and one recurrent fantasy sees us standing before a grill that looks like a shiny gas monolith, but secretly infuses juicy Cumberlands with smoky charcoal goodness. An impossible dream, we thought, until we found the Mirage. This stainless steel, charcoal-devouring beast has enough capacity for a meat banquet, while offering levels of cooking control usually only found on gas models. Treats include a front-loading access door for adding extra coals mid-cook, a temperature gauge, and the gorgeous aroma of smoke and sizzling fat.
Landman Tennessee Smoker £150 http://www.planetbarbecue.co.uk
If you like ‘pit’ barbecue as served in the United States, this is what you’ll need to make it. The charcoal smoulders away, covered by chips of oak or hickory, in the little box on the left. The big chamber on the right holds a few joints of marinated meat (cheap cuts such as shoulder of pork or beef brisket), which slowly roast in the hot, sweet smoke for several hours, becoming meltingly tender and developing a ‘bark’ of crispy, caramelised fat. Alternatively you can also fill up the big chamber with charcoal and get both barrels burning in a more conventional barbecue style.
Gas BarbeSkew £500 http://www.barbeskew.co.uk
A standard gas BBQ? Look again. The BarbeSkew is a gas BBQ tailored to our very specific trait of being incomparably lazy when it comes to cooking. Its key features are two battery-powered motors that spin up to 10 skewers and two food-brandishing cages over the heat to rotisserie whatever you like, with no burning but lots of flavour-locking basting. You just light the gas, load up the metal, plonk down the lid and have a drink while your meat is cooked to perfection, in 3D. No waiting for your coals to turn to hot dust, no smoky woodchips to faff with. Perfect.
Grand Hall E Grill £200 theegrill.com
Until somebody invents a tent with full plumbing and somewhere to charge an iPad, we don’t mind if our BBQ is so ‘unportable’ it has to be tethered to a house to work. Grand Hall’s EGrill is electric, meaning there’s no need to get your hands dirty with charcoal, and you won’t dig it out of the shed in June only to find the gas has run out. It has two independently controlled halogen tube elements that give off infrared heat – a bit like the elephant’s leg in a kebab shop. Don’t let that put you off; with its stylish stainless steel looks and balcony-friendly setup, it’s the B&O of barbecues.