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Outback Ranger 3 Burner BBQ with Bacon and Pancakes
the bbq outlet

buying guide

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Enjoy the summer weather, and make a social occasion of outdoor dining with a barbecue. We offer a great range of types and sizes, and this guide will help you choose the right barbecue for you.


This guide will take you through the questions you should ask yourself before choosing a BBQ:


1) Budget - how do you decide how much to spend on a BBQ?

2) How many people are you cooking for?

3) Gas Vs Charcoal - or Both!

Gas BBQ's in Detail

5) Charcoal BBQ's in Detail

6) Other Features

7) Safety and Caring for Your BBQ




1) Budget

The price is determined by size, number of features, and quality, so if you plan to use your barbecue regularly, it's worth spending a little more on a model that will last you longer, and comes with a lengthier warranty. Our range starts at less than £100 through to almost £2000.


If you click on the BBQ section of the site, you can drill down the products by price, number of people to cook for and many other features.  



2) How many people are you cooking for? 

Flexible numbers!
Gas BBQ’s generally give more flexibility in this area if you have large parties but also want to just use if for a couple of people as well. A large gas BBQ has multiple burners which may cook for up to 10 people, but you don’t have to use all the burners – if it’s just you and your partner only use the one burner.


Cooking for a larger party?
Side burners and warming racks will keep large amounts of food from going cold.
Show me BBQ’s with Side Burners and Warming racks


Every barbecue has a cooking area which is measured in square centimetres (cm²). For ease of use we have allowed you to filter your results in the BBQ section by number of people to cook for:


Show me BBQ’s for up to 4 people
Show me BBQ’s for up to 5 people
Show me BBQ’s for up to 6 people
Show me BBQ’s for up to 8 people
Show me BBQ’s for up to 10 people





3) Gas V Charcoal – or Both!

This comes down to personal preference as it will be a little bit of a compromise somewhere – unless you go for a combination Dual Fuel BBQ (more on that later!). A quick comparison below:





Dual Fuel

Speed to heat up

10 mins

45 mins

10 mins

Easy to control heat

Very easy

More difficult

Best of both


Not portable

More portable

Not portable

Cost of running


More expensive

Best of both

Cost to buy

More expensive


More expensive

Ease of cleaning


More difficult


Ease of cooking


More difficult

Best of both


BBQ Flavour

Slightly more smoky

Best of both

Link to

Gas BBQs

Charcoal BBQs

Dual Fuel BBQs







4) Gas BBQ

Gas barbecues are a quick and easy option. Simple, push-button ignition provides an instant flame and you can start to cook in under 10 minutes. Above the burners are lava rocks/flavouriser bars, which heat up and act in the way as charcoal, but with burner controls similar to a cooker so you have instant temperature regulation.

Contrary to popular myth, there's often no difference in taste between gas and charcoal barbecues, and the adjustability of gas means that it's easier to cook food more evenly, with less risk of burning. After use, there's no charcoal ash to dispose of, and the lava rocks/flavouriser bars are low maintenance, a quick clean and they're ready to go again.

Hybrid BBQs are Gas BBQs that come with an optional basket. You can fill this basket with charcoal briquettes and place it under the grill. The gas burners will heat the charcoal white hot, then turn the burners off and cook as if it were a charcoal BBQ, genius!

On some models, multiple burners make it possible to cook at different temperatures - ideal if you're cooking different foods. Other cooking options include side burners, useful for sauces or vegetables, and warming racks - which are great for garlic bread, and for keeping batches of grilled food warm.

Gas for barbecues is usually propane (sometimes called "patio gas") and is supplied in a red cylinder. When you first buy, it's usual to pay a deposit or hire charge for the cylinder as well as for the gas. When it's empty, it can be exchanged for a full one, and you just pay for the gas. Larger cylinders are also available, and these would be more suitable for the bigger gas barbecues with three or more burners. Calor Gas (0800 626626) will deliver from a local stockist in your area for a small charge. Alternatively, look up 'Bottled Gas' in a directory or online.

All our gas barbecues come free with a regulator, which attaches from the hose to the gas bottle and regulates the gas pressure.






5) Charcoal BBQ

Charcoal barbecues are the traditional option, where the heat below the grill from glowing embers gives the food a classic barbecued appearance. On most models, adjust the heat by simply raising or lowering the grill.

Kettle barbecues come with a lid which creates an enclosed cooking area, enabling food to be braised or roasted. Some models feature a lid holder so you can use the lid as a windbreak - handy if you're barbecuing in a small garden. If you like the idea of barbecuing on a picnic or when camping, a portable model makes a wise choice.

Charcoal is relatively easy to light and burns cleanly, although do light it at least 45 minutes before you start cooking to allow it to reach a good temperature. It will burn white hot when it's hot enough to use. Always remove ash afterwards - some models feature a one-touch cleaning system and removable ash-catcher which makes the job much easier.


Types of charcoal:

Lumpwood charcoal - a wood which has been fired in a kiln and results in a very combustible form of carbon. The best quality lumpwood charcoal will achieve a higher temperature.

Instant lighting lumpwood - a convenient form of charcoal which has been impregnated with a lighting agent, removing the need for lighting fluid or firelighters.

Charcoal briquettes - these are uniformly shaped lumps of fuel which are made from particles of waste charcoal, mixed with a starch binder. Once lit these tend to burn for up to twice as long as lumpwood charcoal and provide a more constant cooking temperature.






6) Other Features

Grills - Grills are made from a variety of materials, depending on the cost of the barbecue:

Chrome plated - Looks smart, but care must be taken to clean them thoroughly after use.

Stainless steel - Easy to clean and maintain, and more durable than chrome-plated grills.

Cast iron - Excellent heat source, as they hold the heat well. Wipe the grill with cooking oil before and after use, to help prevent rust.

Porcelain-coated - Easy to clean, and the coating stops rust. This type is found on the top of the range models. Some models are equipped with 'flavouriser' bars, which help create a smoky taste when hot juices and fats drop down from the grill.

Lava Rocks/Flavouriser Bars

Gas BBQs answer to Charcoal, these sit above the burners and heat up to high temperatures ensure that of the juices from your food are smoked instantly and the flavour goes right back into the food! They also stop flare-ups which could burn your food and help with heat distribution.

Some models have this as well as a grill. A griddle is a solid metal plate to use with foods which might otherwise fall through the grill – like eggs for an all-day breakfast!

Lids and hoods
Kettle barbecue lids can act as windbreaks, as well as a roasting hood. When the lid is closed, it deflects the heat and smoke more evenly around the food. Some of the more expensive barbecues have an optional or standard hood, so you can roast joints of meat or a whole chicken, and also incorporate a thermometer to check you're cooking the meat at the right temperature. 3 or more burner models are best for roasting as you can turn off the middle burner to avoid burning the meat before it's cooked through. If you leave the lid or hood open, the barbecue will grill as normal.

You'll need some accessories, we have a range, you'll find very useful! A grill basket is a neat idea as it will stop smaller pieces of food such as vegetables falling through the grill, and makes grilled food easier to turn. And it really is best to wear an apron to protect yourself from spitting fat.

For your charcoal barbecue, a chimney charcoal starter is a highly recommended accessory. Fill the chimney with the required charcoal and light for a quick and safe way to prepare the charcoal for cooking.

Assembling and positioning
When your barbecue arrives, it's a good idea to assemble it as close as possible to where you'll use it, choosing a level surface away from combustibles such as plants and fencing. Always find a sheltered position if windy. Check all the components are present, and take a look at the manufacturer's instructions before starting assembly.






7) Safety and Caring for Your BBQ

Choose a suitable location for your barbecue: level, away from combustible materials and in the open air. If you have a gas barbecue, check that it's properly connected to the gas bottle, and that the hose is not cracked or perished. Only ever light a barbecue with firelighters and fuels specially made for the purpose. Read the manufacturers' instructions carefully.

Keep matches, firelighters and fuels well away from lit barbecues.Never use petrol or other flammable products to light a barbecue. Once alight, never leave unattended - keep children and pets away. Don't leave raw food out in the sun before cooking: keep it covered and away from children and pets. Never attempt to move a barbecue once lit. Always leave a barbecue to cool down completely before cleaning, covering and storing.


Caring for your BBQ

Charcoal - Once cold, remove the grill rack and scrub off any residue with a wire brush, then wash with a soapy scouring pad and dry. Remove the cold ashes from the grate and brush it out. Periodically, clean the rest of the barbecue with an oven cleaner to get rid of any accumulated grease and dirt, then rinse thoroughly.

Gas - Always clean the rack, lid, drip trays and gas burners before putting away. Turning on the gas and heating the lava rocks will enable quick and easy cleaning.

Before you put the barbecue away, wash the outside with hot soapy water, rinse and dry thoroughly. Buying out of our Premium tailored covers which will prolong their life even when kept outdoors.