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Tips on BBQ Choice

BBQ Party

Before you start buying a BBQ Barbecue, you need research

Below is our brief guide that may help you! Some Definitions......to make things clear –

• Barbecuing - Lid on, indirect Heat, Low and slow - Real Barbecuing.

• Grilling - Direct Heat, Searing and Hot, similar to frying in speed - a real art.

BBQ Smoking - Indirect Heat and the addition of soaked hardwood Chips to the charcoal to give a real Smokey flavour.

• Smoke Grilling - Smoking Food using heat generated from Wood Pellets or Chips as the source for heat and Smoke. Very Nice and brilliant flavours. 

When choosing a BBQ Consider: 

* Consider space. Do you have a big Garden to BBQ in, if so you can have a big Barbecue Grill, if not or your are think of travelling with a BBQ - you will need smaller.

* Think about how many people you are generally going to cater for, rather than how many you might cater for in the above situations.

* What size portions do you generally serve - this needs to be considered, you will need to ensure the BBQ you chose has the capacity to grill enough food. Also consider what type of food you will cook - if you like it simple and nice like burgers and Bangers, you could get away with a small one. A Bigger one gives you more flexibility such as whole joints or big steaks.

* Will you need shelves and work surfaces on the barbecue or do you have another table or the kitchen to prepare your food.


Having considered the above, you need to consider the type of BBQ grill you would like. Generally there are 3 types to chose from Charcoal BBQ Grill, Gas Barbecue Grill or a Portable BBQ Grill which can be Gas or Charcoal.

Charcoal Barbecue Grills

* Charcoal barbecue grills are for the serious BBQ Guru. Once mastered, the art of grilling or Barbecuing gives an authentic Smokey Barbecue taste.

* You build your own fire using Charcoal, charcoal starter or even wood. Once fired up you will need to wait for the coals to settle and turn grey. This will ensure that you get the correct balance between correctly grilled food and not burnt but raw in the middle.

* These Barbecue grills cook using the heat produced by the charcoal, so investigate options that let you control the amount of heat and flame produced.

* Since you have to go through a bit of a procedure by lighting the coals and waiting for them to heat up, charcoal grills take longer to cook the food than gas grills.

* Make sure that the grill has adjustable vents both in the lid above the cooking surface and in the charcoal pit so that you can control airflow.

* How easily can you remove the ashes and/or refuel? Some grills have a hinged cooking surface that allows you to refill charcoal and/or remove ashes in mid-grill.


Gas Barbecue Grills

* Using a gas grill, Means you do not have to buy charcoal and you don't have to worry about the lighting of the charcoal. 

* You do, however, need to worry about having a full bottle of gas - or enough for the period of cooking anyway!! Gas Barbecue Grills generate heat by igniting the gas flame (butane or Propane) and heating up the grill. They generally have "flavour Bars" which allow fat from meats and oil to burn and smoke under the food being grilled.

* Generally a grill of at least two or more burners is required, you will want an even distribution of heat to cook large pieces of food or several pieces at once. Take note of the BTU Rating on a Grill - the higher the number the hotter the grill will get.

* Burner quality matters more than the raw number of BTUs. Higher-quality grills have deflection devices over the burners to ensure an even distribution of heat.

* Some gas BBQ grills sport side burners for the preparation of smaller side dishes - of course Garden Gift Shop also offers WOK Burners that work on Gas. These can be used for creating a great stir fry to compliment your BBQ Food.

* Many also come with utility shelves to hold various tools that will be used in BBQ.* Some grills have glass windows in the lid so you can see your food, but this is a matter of preference rather than necessity.

Portable BBQ Grills

Portable grills are ideal for people with no garden or small gardens. They are also ideal to take fishing, camping or even on a picnic. The principles are the same as above in terms of selection. Some added points to think about with a portable BBQ is the size of gas bottle they use (you do not want to take a big bottle with a small bbq camping) and the size of the cooking grill.

So - you have selected the grill............

Lighting a Charcoal BBQ

How to Light the Grill


1. Make sure you have a bag of charcoal briquettes on hand. You also need a can of BBQ Fuel or Gel and some matches - although we would recommend the long matches.

2. Place the charcoal in a pyramid shape in the centre of the BBQ grill.

3. Douse the charcoal evenly with lighter Gel or build the pyramid with lighter fuel inside.

4. Let the lighter fluid soak in for a minute or two, as you prepare.

5. Put on your bravest face and put a flame to those coals. You won't see flames jumping out, but you should see smoke.

6. Allow the briquettes to burn for a half an hour or so until they are covered with a white-ish ash. The ash means that the coals are burning.

7. Spread the coals evenly over the bottom of the barbecue - or if you are indirect cooking, long and slow with the lid on, move the coals to one side.

8. Turn the coals using long tongs periodically while you're cooking.

9. If you have trouble starting the fire, you can try to help it along by placing newspaper in the grill. Not a lot, but just enough to start the fire.

10. NEVER spray lighter fluid on a barbecue that already has a fire going. The fire could travel up your spray-stream and set your body on fire. That would hurt.

Gas BBQ Cooking


1. Always make sure your grill is placed in a well-ventilated area. Never attempt to barbecue while inside a closed area like a garage or shed. Make sure your grill is out in the open, away from the house and out of the danger of low hanging tree branches. This is for obvious reasons.

2. Make sure the gas bottle is full. This will prevent any embarrassing situations like having to leave your guests and a half- cooked meal on the grill while you run to have your bottle refilled.

3. Make sure there are no gas leaks. To test this, light the grill and turn the control knob to "high." The height of the flame will give you a good sense that the gas tank, regulator and grill fittings are properly secure and thus, that there are no leaks. A very low flame is usually indicative that there is a leak.