Ah, the great British barbecue: between blackened beef, bad advice and the near certainty of someone burning their fingers on a pair of red-hot tongs, there’s no better way to seize the sun than with a good old cookout.
Keen to fry al fresco but in need of a grill upgrade? We donned our apron and hit the ignition to find nine of the best BBQs for a truly sizzling summer.
So, whether you’re smoking a steak for the summer gala or making halloumi skewers on your bijou balcony, these burners should soon have you cooking with gas. Or charcoal. Or electricity.
Flames can come from many forms of fuel. Go with gas or electric for easier heat control, or try classic charcoal for that fabled BBQ flavour – provided your neighbourhood permits the smokier sort of grilling.
Room to braze
Bigger might seem better if you’re cooking for the whole crew, but up-sizing isn’t a good idea if your patio only seats six. Go small and efficient, or choose stacked shelves for added capacity.
Stick it to the ham
Buying an analogue barbecue? Make it clever with a sold-separately smart probe. Paired with your phone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, they take guesswork out of grilling by pinging temperature readings to your mobile.
As you like it
Grilling is the classic technique, but most barbies can also do indirect heat for char-free cooking. Prefer to smoke a steak or bake a pizza? Choose a model with modes and stones to suit.
The picnic winner: BergHOFF Table BBQ (€199)
Your metal bucket might fry seafood just fine in the garden, but ol‘ rusty is no way to prepare prawns for your pals in the park.
Upgrade your go-anywhere grilling with this tabletop charcoal barbie. Capped by a cork lid that does double duty as a heat mat, a handy strap makes carrying a cinch while its 35cm diameter should be good for several skewers.
The folding fryer: Primus Kuchoma (€220)
Sure, it’s compact, but the single flame of your average stove rarely results in super campsite sausages.
Get proper gas grilling from the same tiny canisters with this folding featherweight from Primus. Simply flick out the legs, unlatch the lid and whack your bangers on the non-stick grate. There's even a drip tray, so you won't drizzle while you sizzle.
The miniature minimalist: Morsø Forno Piccolo (£299)
Turns out Carlsberg isn’t the only creation from Copenhagen that can improve your balcony cookouts.
Dinkiest of Danish brand Morsø’s Forno range, the little Piccolo is a picture of sculpted understatement, deploying aluminium and cast iron to serve up a minimalist helping of form and frying function. Now fetch your Aebleskiver pan and rustle up some scrumptious spheres.
The celsius sentry: Weber Pulse 1000 (£449)
Forever burning your burgers? Protect your precious patties with this connected electric cooker.
Delivering even heat in excess of 300°C, the compact Pulse 1000 fires up at the push of a button and comes fitted with digital thermometers inside. Pair it with the iGrill 3 app and you’ll get temperature readouts right to your smartphone.
The Wi-Fi wonder: Traeger Pro 575 (£799)
You could dig a pit, fill it with sticks and leave it smoking for two days to get smoky notes in your tofu steak.
Or, if you're more flair grills than Bear Grylls, you could warm up Traeger’s clever pellet smoker via the Wi-Fire app on your phone, adjust the heat, set a timer and check it from wherever – no spade necessary.
The draughty tower: Everdure 4K (£1799)
Forget fanning the flames with your flip-flop: this bold burner from Mr Blumenthal features a raft of vents top and bottom for precise airflow control, whether you're smoking, roasting or grilling,
The die-cast design also has temperature probes inside, a digital touch display up front and the option to get temperature data on your blower via Bluetooth. Ideal for cooking Heston's ice cream pork pies just right.
The Cupertino cookout: Fuego Element F21C-H ($349)
Apple doesn’t make barbecues, so if you fancy a Mac Pro for your patio then this striking wheelaround tower is your best bet.
Penned by the famous firm's former industrial design chief, Robert Brunner, it does the heating business in classic iStyle, hiding the gas tank in its elegant stem and cooking your kebabs beneath its hinged sci-fi lid.
The charcoal warrior: Broil King Keg 5000 (£879)
Need a barbie that can survive the end of days? Not only is Broil King’s versatile, steel-walled Keg built like a nuclear bunker, but consistent temperatures in its charcoal convection chamber mean it can make juicy meals out of pretty much anything. Which is handy when post-apocalypse pickings are slim.
The elevation station: Outback Orion (£130)
Charcoal cooking is an unforgiving discipline. Too much heat and your sweet potatoes become charred tatties. Too little and you poison the party with your flambéed fillets.
Cook for your chums on this boxy barbie and let elevation eliminate the risk: its fuel tray can be raised and lowered to control the coals and keep your summer cuisine safe from unintentional cremation.