Summertime and the grilling is easy – when you have the right gear to hand.
In this guide we're focussing on full-sized models for the garden and patio, but if you want something you can take on your travels or use on a balcony we also have dedicated guides to the Best Small Portable Barbecues and Best Electric Grills, too. And if you're the kind of cook who likes their meats grilled low-and-slow like they do in Texas, we also have a guide to the Best Smokers you can buy.
With one of these outdoor grillers you can do burgers, sausages and kebabs, grill fish, halloumi and corn on the cob, smoke a joint of meat slow and low, prepare a rack of Texan-style BBQ ribs or even go crazy and have a stab at toasting flatbreads. The world is your oyster, whether you like it grilled, seared or smoked.
Oh, and one more thing: if you're not a BBQ pro, we think the single best accessory you can buy for peace of mind when grilling is one of the Best Meat Thermometers. We use ours to make sure we get the perfect temperature every time, which is really important if you're cooking meat or poultry.
The best BBQs you can buy in 2023
Why you can trust T3 Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Below, we list the best of the best full-size BBQs in each of their three main categories, including charcoal, gas and pellet varieties. Charcoal BBQs are a great choice for the budget conscious, as well as those that like a more traditional barbecue experience. Gas grills offer unparalleled convenience and speed, but require a gas canister and, in general, a little bit more spend to buy. While Pellet grills combine the flavour associated with charcoal grills and smokers with more of the convenience (and speed) of gas, they do tend to cost more but we tackle all of this below.
Best charcoal BBQs
The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 indirect charcoal grill-cum-smoker goes straight to our top spot with a bullet. This remarkable app-enabled model uses simple gravity and computer-controlled heat management to provide consistent grilling, searing and smoking with very little input by the user.
For less than the price of a pellet grill you get the convenience of hands-off cooking, reversible cast iron grill grates plus twin-level wire shelves amounting to 560 square inches of cooking space, an easy to use charcoal hopper and a powerful fan to feed the flames. Unlike most charcoal grills that take ages to reach cooking temperature, this one is ready to grill on in about ten minutes. And because it uses indirect heat, chances are you won’t burn anything.
If you prefer charcoal to gas or can’t afford a pellet grill that does much the same thing only for a lot more money, make a bee-line to this amazing model and you will not regret it. Highly recommended.
Now read our full review of the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560
If you have a habit of carbonising every barbecued meal you get your hands on, it’s time to get rid of the lidless brazier you’ve been using and embrace the simply technology of convection-based kettle cooking.
The classic Weber Master Touch Premium E-5775 is very easy to use. Simply load one or both crescent-shaped charcoal baskets and place them on either side of the bowl. Leave the lid off – there’s a catch-stand at the rear – light the charcoal and retreat for about 25 minutes. Now drop your food onto the steel grate – which has enough space for about six placements – put the lid on and go chat to your guests.
This system only requires occasional intervention, whether it’s turning food or adjusting the air intake on the aluminium ash catcher (which also includes a ‘smoke’ setting). If you follow the rule ‘if you’re lookin’, it ain’t cookin’, the food should come off the grill perfectly cooked with chicken skin just the right side of crispy.
This model is also designed to accept Weber’s Gourmet BBQ System of optional inserts, making it very much a true 3-in-1 system, capable of roasting, smoking and searing foods. Simply remove the grate’s centre section and drop in the sear grate, pizza stone, Dutch oven or poultry roaster.
Weber BBQs are renowned for their durability, and you can safely expect this one to last many, many winters. That said, a cover is always advisable to keep out the elements.
For even more information on this top-rated 3-in-1 BBQ, take a look at our full Weber Master Touch Premium E-5775 review
For the price – a smidge under £400 – this heavy-weight charcoal model is one of the most robust and remarkably well engineered models on the page. Like Broil King’s Regal 500 pellet grill we review below, the similarly-named Regal 400 shares the same design and high-end materials – namely a 2mm/14-gauge steel carcass with weighty insulated lid, rock-solid adjustable legs, chunky wheels and four high-end reversible cast-iron grill grates that amount to 500 square inches of meal estate – enough space, in other words, for a party of six to eight.
This model comes with a vented chimney and a vented side hatch to help with temperature control. The inclusion of an oven gasket around the weighty lid is a welcome addition because it means the temperature inside the grill isn’t as badly affected by outdoor temperature and that means you can use this grill more effectively than most during the winter months.
I love the cast iron grill grates on this model because you can reverse them from pointed side up to pointed side down. In the latter configuration, the V-shaped grates provide a channel for hot, smokey fats to gather so they can bring more flavour to the meat. Being of the charcoal variety, this model is also top notch at high-heat searing as well as smoking at lower temperatures.
The Regal Smoke was generally really easy to assemble though I did have trouble assembling the latch on the side hatch. That minor quibble apart, this is a sterling option that grills like a beast and looks like it will last for decades, especially if kept under one of Broil King’s BBQ covers – surely the toughest and longest lasting covers on the market. Highly recommended.
The Char-Broil Kettleman delivers everything you would want from a charcoal grill, and doesn't break your bank balance in order to do so. That's why we consider it one of the best charcoal barbecues on the market today.
Assembly is swift and straightforward, and the finished build quality is high, too, with robust steel legs and a gun-metal finish making this grill look a lot more expensive than it actually is.
There's a solid set of wheels, which makes moving it a relatively easy experience, as well as a hinged lid with built in temperature gauge and locking mechanism. The ash collector also has a snug fit and is easily accessed for ash removal, while the top-mounted damper makes increasing and decreasing the cooking temperature with the lid closed easy. In terms of cooking, this model comes with a 56cm diameter version of Char-Broil’s trademark TRU-Infrared grilling grate. Unlike other BBQ grates, this unique wave-shaped grate ensures fewer flare-ups and, according to Char-Broil, ’50% juicier results’.
Throw in a bunch of useful (and affordable) accessories such as a Kettleman Grill Cover and Cleaning Brush and you've got a strong all-round charcoal-powered barbecue grill that will cater to all but the largest of events.
If you want a great-quality charcoal BBQ that won’t break the bank, you should buy the Weber One Touch E4710. This highly-portable and easy to store BBQ is based on the classic kettle design that started it all.
When T3 tested the Weber One Touch E4710, we found that it was easy to assemble and thanks to its deep ash catcher, it's easy to clean as well. Cooking sausages, burgers and kebabs on the E4710 was a pleasingly straight-forward experience, and the results when partnered with a good salad, some brioche rolls and lashings of BBQ sauce were delicious. The Weber One Touch E4710 also comes with a long-lasting 10-year warranty, too, which is really impressive for a grill that retails for such a low price.
Granted, the German-designed Tepro Toronto Click charcoal BBQ isn’t the most premium model in this guide but you’d need to look far and wide for a more thoughtfully designed model at this low price point.
What really impresses here is the raft of clever design flourishes. Take a look at the handle on the right. Wind it clockwise and the charcoal section moves up to within 6cm (2.3 inches) of the cooking grate. Wind it down and it stops at 22cm (8.6 inches). This is a great innovation that makes grilling a breeze. Granted, there’s no telling how well the mechanism will fare after a couple of winters in the open air but at this price, who cares?
There’s more, too, because the handle in the middle opens a door to allow for easy shovelling of extra charcoal as and when required. The main grate, meanwhile, measures 54cm x 42cm – enough meal estate for a party of eight and perhaps even ten. Oh, and for those who enjoy a beer while at the coalface, it also comes with an integral bottle opener.
For most users – especially beginners – the Toronto Click passes a great deal of muster and cooks food expertly well. But it’s that adjustable charcoal tray that’s the real clincher.
This model may look like a classic Weber charcoal BBQ but on the inside it’s a different kettle of brisket. Kamado barbecues have been all the rage since Big Green Egg came onto the scene with its extraordinarily expensive range of ceramic models and, sure enough, other manufacturers like Kamado Joe, Char-Broil and now Weber have jumped on board with their own takes on the popular Japanese grilling and smoking method.
Charcoal-based Kamados (or more accurately Mushikamados) are excellent for slow-and-low smoking, roasting and both indirect and hard-and-fast grilling, so they’re ostensibly a three-in-one outdoor cooking solution. This wide-bodied model comes with dual-walled ‘air’ insulation and an oven-style gasket in the stainless steel lid to prevent heat escaping around the edges. This means it’s good for really long smoking sessions of up to five hours and possibly more. Mind, I would always suggest using prime charcoal or, for even longer cooking times, Australian Heat Beads or Weber’s own briquettes.
The Weber Summit Kamado's stainless steel Gourmet grill grate measures a substantial 61cm in diameter – in the pantheon of barbecues, that’s pretty humongous. Just below it is a removable aluminium heat deflector for indirect cooking and smoking but you can easily remove it for standard grilling as you would do on a Weber Master-Touch.
The Summit also comes with a charcoal grate that can be positioned at two heights, a huge spring in the lid that makes it really easy to open and close, Weber’s tried-and-trusted ash catcher, a lid-mounted thermometer and a damper on top which can be opened fully to allow quick through ventilation for grilling. As we’ve come to expect from Weber, build quality is exceptional so it should last many years, even without a cover.
I tested it with a rack of ribs and the Summit held its temperature for over four hours using only a small handful of Heat Beads. Even more impressively, it then went on to successfully grill half a dozen hamburgers on the same coals after I opened all the vents to increase the temperature.
This model is also available as a cart version with a wide shelf and ingenious gas-ignition system. However, it adds an extra £840 to an already steep bill so perhaps save the extra readies and instead put some of them towards some exquisite meats from specialist butcher John Davidson’s mouthwatering Pit Master range.
This superbly designed and very well engineered cart-style charcoal kettle has a heavyweight wave-shaped 57cm cast iron grill that can be placed at three different heights. I can’t stress enough how important a feature this is. There are often times when the coals are nearing the end of their life and you still have the kebabs to grill. Or perhaps you’re starting with steaks and you need to sear them at high temperature. With this grill it's easy; just put on some gloves and lower the grate two stages to an inch or so above the heat.
The Pro 22 Charcoal Cart ships with an accurate lid-mounted thermometer, four sturdy legs instead of three and a porcelain-enamelled steel lid with offset hinges for fuss-free lifting. Someone at Napoleon clearly knows exactly what a charcoal barbecue should be and this exemplary and extremely robust model is the outstanding result.
This prestigious brand has become the first choice of many chefs, both pros and keen amateurs. It grills, bakes, smokes and seers and stays hot for up to 10 hours on a single load of lumpwood charcoal.
This ceramic, bulbous beauty will cook and/or smoke anything from sausages, fish and kebabs to rib racks and small legs of lamb. As the 'MiniMax' part of its name suggests, this heavyweight 40kg grill is not even the biggest in the Green Egg range (its grill measures 33cm in diameter), but it's still sufficient to cook for up to four at a time. And like the Weber and Napoleon, the MiniMax is designed to be used with the lid on so that the food is cooked indirectly; the lid also prevents unexpected flare-ups and scorching.
If you’re a discerning home chef with deep enough pockets, this pro-spec model is one of the best you can get.
Oil drum barbecues are often used for commercial purposes because they are capable of feeding a long queue of hungry mouths with consummate ease. Well London-based Original Jerk produces some of the most beautiful hand-built barrel barbecues money can buy. The company even provides custom paint jobs, laser cut graphics and hand made lettering so your barbecue is truly one of a kind.
Cast from a brand new 45 gallon oil drum, the heavy-weight Original Jerk J Cut is a stunner from every angle. Its huge 850mm x 550mm grilling grate is a true work of laser-cut art that burns gorgeous patterns into the meat for added effect. Two timber side shelves and a chimney to port the inevitable plums of smoke add extra functionality. And because it comes with a lid, you won’t scorch food to a cinder like you might do with an open brazier-style model.
This is a top choice for large families and anyone in the catering business, but be sure to place your order two-to-three weeks in advance because some models are built to order and it doesn’t get more bespoke than that.
Now for something a little different. The Char-Broil Gas2Coal is a hybrid BBQ, which means you can choose to cook on gas for convenience and speed or on coals for taste and the authentic barbecue experience. It gets even better than that, because you can use the gas to light the coals, meaning there are no awkward moments where you fail to light a fire and have to resort to the oven.
This makes it one of the most versatile barbecues around, offering the perfect mix between gas and charcoal. The cooking capacity is great, and I like that I have the option to customise it with optional accessories. The only disappointment is that the coal tray can be difficult to clean, but really, what BBQ is easy to clean?
The Char-Broil Gas2Coal comes in three sizes, with two, three of four burners. After using this model, we’re certain that it's the future of BBQ, as it's just so adaptable.
Read our Char-Broil Gas2Coal 210 Hybrid BBQ review to find out what it's like to use in the real world.
Do your neighbours hate you because of the plumes of smoke created every time you have a barbecue? You need a near-smokeless charcoal model like this snazzy spherical offering from LotusGrill.
Like the company’s eponymous portable grill, the LotusGrill XXL uses a pair of fans to speed up the charcoal ignition process. According to the blurb, it takes only a few minutes for the charcoal to reach cooking temperature, so I tried this theory out and, blow me down with a flaming feather if it didn’t take just four minutes – about 26 minutes quicker than any other charcoal barbecue – and with very little smoke in the process. Even during the cooking process this thing creates less smoke than other models and it does so by dint of a rather unique but slightly convoluted charcoal loading method and a huge 57cm grill with integrated steel shield to stop fats from dripping directly on to the coals below.
The downside to this unusual barbecuing method is that food isn’t really infused with a properly smoky flavour – there’s a glass lid available at heavy cost that will contain the small amount of smoke it produces – and there is a question of having to change the batteries for the fans from time to time. The upside is rapid heating and almost smokeless cooking, and that makes this BBQ the most considerate option for balconies and urban patios.
Food sorcerer Heston Blumenthal swaggers into the arena of Japanese kamado-style charcoal grills, giving Big Green Egg a very good run for its readies. The Everdure 4K certainly has enough innovative touches to achieve it. With its extra insulation and beautifully machined die-cast aluminium body that doesn’t get hot, this barbecue is capable of grilling, searing, roasting, baking and smoking, though not all at the same time, obviously.
The 4K comes with a relatively small 18-inch grill grate and features Fast Flame ignition using an electric hob type ring, so you will need to find a nearby electricity outlet to use it. Once fired up, the lid’s oven-type seal keeps the heat in for up to eight hours at time if slow cooking or smoking – and on just one kilogram of charcoal. Other fine design flourishes include numbered aluminium air flow valves, an interior light, a handy front drawer to store the four meat probes it comes with and a clever charcoal top-up portal on the side. The LED display’s a nice addition, too, though it is very difficult to read in bright sunlight.
Granted, this Herculean barbecue does cost a sizeable block of wonga but you’ve got to hand it to the Everdure team – it’s built like a brick outhouse and the quality of the materials used throughout is of the highest order. Oh, and you'll be pleased to hear it doesn’t require much assembly.
Best gas BBQs
The Freestyle 425 SIB is premium Canadian brand Napoleon’s first entry-level four-burner gas barbecue and it’s a brilliant model in every respect. Aside from its robust wave-shaped cast iron grates – which amount to 4,315cm² of total grilling area – this model also comes with a side-mounted infrared Sizzle Zone for searing steaks, fish and veg at extraordinary high temperature. Cast iron grates of this caliber are superb to grill on since they retain and transfer heat extremely well. I also love the curly nature of the grates which stops small food items like prawns and halloumi from slipping through.
Napoleon’s tech bods have clearly thought long and hard about what constitutes a top-performing gas BBQ and, as a result, this model features Jetfire ignition – which produces a long flame that immediately ignites the stainless steel burners the moment you turn and click each individual temperature control wheel – two side shelves (one folding) and an adjustable plinth behind the front panel to house 5kg to 13kg propane gas bottles up to 58cm in height. An accurate temperature gauge, pre-fitted gas regulator and a pair of large transport wheels complete a tidy package. Yes, it took over two hours to assemble, but there are no qualms about the quality of materials used in its construction.
In our sliced bread test, the 425 produced excellent heat consistency across the entire grate with most of the slices showing a uniform colour. We then slapped on some drumsticks, sausages and a couple of burger patties and everything was perfectly seared and cooked to succulent perfection. The Sizzle Zone, too, produced a stunning ribeye steak with a delicious outer crust and soft pink centre. Most impressive.
If you’re after a versatile four-burner gas grill that’s easy to use, exceedingly reliable and very well built, the Napoleon Freestyle 425 SIB is pretty much a no brainer.
If you want to spend under £350 on a gas barbecue then our top recommendation is the John Lewis 3 Burner Gas BBQ. This gas grill retails for a very affordable price point, features a robust frame, two burners (which can be lit individually if desired), a built-in lid thermometer and good-sized grilling area.
When we tested the John Lewis 3 Burner Gas BBQ we found that it was easy to move and sturdy, too. Our testing area is located on the top of a hill, where the winds whip up frequently, and if a grill suffers from stability issues then we're soon aware of it, so it was pleasing to see this grill was stable.
In terms of design and use, this grill is very straight forward. You hook up your gas canister, turn on the gas, and then ignite one or all three burners. It has a decent-sized grill grate which means you can load up a lot of burgers, steaks, kebabs, sausages and more for a full family feast.
If you regularly want to BBQ for much larger amounts of people then John Lewis also produces a 4-burner variation of this grill. But for our money, this 3-burner model is more than enough for the average family who also entertains on a regular basis.
As we note in our detailed Broil King Baron 490 IR review, this is a stupendously well built and impeccably attired four-burner barbecue that ships with a large 2,968 square cm cast-iron grill grate that’s large enough to feed a party of six to ten, a brilliant high-heat infrared side burner for searing steaks, a full rotisserie set with integral back burner, a large storage cupboard beneath for a gas bottle and various BBQ accessories, a tall porcelain-enamelled hood with integral thermometer and backlit control buttons.
This is unquestionably the most versatile gas barbecue I’ve laid eyes on and I can vouch that it grills food to perfection and with zero fuss. Its heat controls are expertly calibrated so there’s never any guesswork regarding heat output while the blue backlit knobs make it easy to use when the sun’s gone to bed.
Unless you arrange installation with the store you buy it from, you will need to assemble this beast yourself which could take you up to three hours and possibly longer. However, by building it yourself – which is relatively straightforward – you’ll really come to appreciate the quality of the materials used throughout.
If you can afford the outlay and yearn for a fully-specced four-burner gas barbecue that not only grills on a large scale but also sears steaks and does rotisserie cooking, then this is the all-singing barbie for you.
As we conclude in our Char Broil All-Star review, this compact single-burner gas grill is a cracker. Its 46cm circular cast iron grate is similar to that of a standard Weber kettle and we love the way it sits flush with the surface of the main body. It also has an excellent heat-retaining hinged lid, possibly made from aluminium. The two fold-out shelves, meanwhile, provide plenty of space for holding raw ingredients while you slap them on, and it fires up instantly with one touch of its battery-powered igniter.
The All-Star’s circular single burner heats the grate to a maximum temperature of about 350˚C and, because it has one of Char-Broil’s innovative corrugated heat-distributing TRU-Infrared sheets directly beneath it, the entire grate is heated evenly. Char-Broil recommends cleaning the infrared sheet after every barbecue session and the best way to do this is to leave the gas on high for about ten minutes to carbonise the grease and other detritus. Then, simply brush off the powdered remains or use the provided cleaning tool.
The top half of this barbecue comes with its own separate set of sturdy legs so it can be lifted off the main stand and placed on a table or transported in a caravan or RV. Placing it on a table at home seems a bit pointless since the main stand is already perfectly functional and, besides, it has a handy space round the back to hide the gas bottle.
The All-Star arrived in a large box on a palette and it took longer to build than other models. Despite following assembly instructions to the letter, we had trouble fitting the top half of the unit into the main stand and now find it difficult to remove it because its four sturdy rubberised feet refuse to budge.
Minor niggles aside, the All-Star is one of the most compact gas barbies we’ve come across and an ideal choice for a patio or balcony. It’s easy to use, it grills everything evenly and it’s simple to clean. Well worth a gander.
You might not find a more aesthetically pleasing gas contender than this strikingly simple model, approved by famous food sorcerer, Heston Blumenthal.
Available in three colours, the two-burner Force is a joy to use, doesn’t take up too much space and heats up very quickly – just four minutes to reach a searing temperature of 350˚C. It also boasts the most accurate gas controllers in the business.
Build quality is exemplary. This fine slab of artistic minimalism comes with four heavy-duty legs, tough wheels, a rust-free aluminium frame and a thick aluminium hood that ensures the food is cooked evenly with very little intervention from the apron-clad man or woman in charge. The Force’s cast-iron grate comes with integrated flame tamers and provides enough grilling space for six to eight guests.
If you’re in the market for a gas barbecue that delivers in spades and don’t mind forking out so you can, uh, fork in, consider putting the Everdure Force on the list.
Although Campingaz is better known for its huge array of excellent camping equipment, the company also excels in the arena of large gas barbecues. Take this highly innovative three-burner model for instance. The keenly priced 3 Series Premium S’s huge 61cm x 46cm porcelain-enamelled cast iron cooking grate is good for a party of six to eight and divided into two sections: on the left it has a large cast-iron grate with a removable centre to accommodate a range of Campingaz’s Culinary Modular cooking accessories and, on the right, a two-way flat/ribbed griddle plate for fish, prawns, halloumi, vegetables and breakfast fry-ups. It’s also equipped with a right-hand side burner for pot-based boiling and a large shelf on the left.
Unlike most gas barbecues, this model doesn’t have any heat deflectors between the burners and the cooking grates. Instead, the main grilling grate is designed with several solid sections that are placed directly above each burner. These solid sections protect the burners from dripping fats while allowing naked flames to kiss the food for authentic charcoal-style flavour and texture.
Another unique innovation is the way it’s cleaned. Aside from the removable dishwasher-safe backplates, a water tray beneath the barbecue catches all the fats which basically float on the water. All you do is remove the tray and pour away the fatty water.
If budget is a consideration and you’re looking for a large, highly versatile gas BBQ that will whip up a bacon and eggs breakfast as well as a full-blown al fresco BBQ banquet, then step right this way.
Read our Campingaz 3 Series Premium S review for more details.
This stainless steel-clad, two-burner gas model is an absolute cracker. The Professional Pro S2 comes with a chunky 47.8 x 44.5cm porcelain-coated, cast-iron grate and uses Char-Broil’s renowned ‘TRU-infrared’ technology – essentially a couple of perforated corrugated steel sheets above the two burners – to ensure an even cooking temperature across the entire grill surface. Amazingly, it also comes with a side steak searer which, in our test, produced a fillet with a superb caramelised crust and succulent pink centre. For added ambience, this model also features illuminated dials in bright red for night-time use.
Like most gas barbecues, the Char-Broil Professional Pro S2 fires off a 5kg Patio Gas bottle (refills around £30) which tucks neatly away in a cupboard underneath. No question, this is one of the best-built gas BBQs we’ve reviewed but, being of complicated gas origin, you should figure in about three hours to build it.
Alternatively, those with more mouths to feed might prefer this barbecue's bigger stablemate, the equally competent Char-Broil Professional Pro S3, which comes with three main burner, a larger grilling grate and the same great steak sear burner on the side.
To see how the Char-Broil Professional Pro S2 grill compares to a top competitor from rival firm Weber, be sure to check out our Weber Genesis II EX-335 GBS Smart Barbecue vs Char-Broil Professional Pro S2 comparison feature.
The gas-fired Genesis II EX-335 GBS comes with a whole bunch of smart tech that monitors the whole cook using the Weber Connect app. This is a brilliant system for novice chefs and for those who would rather entertain guests than be chained to a grill. To some degree it behaves like one of the best pellet smokers to make grilling as hassle free as possible with real-time Bluetooth and WiFi monitoring via the built in thermometer, included food probe (there are ports for two) and the Weber Connect app.
The Genesis II is equipped with three main gas burners, a Sear Station burner sandwiched between the two right-hand burners for higher steak-searing temperatures, and a side burner for pot and pan-based cooking. Its heavy-duty 68cm x 48cm porcelain-enamelled cast iron grill grate provides ample space for up to 10 hungry gannets and can be used with any accessories from Weber’s Gourmet BBQ System. It’s a shame you can’t store the gas bottle in the cupboard below but at least there’s a place for it just below the side burner. For night-time use, the Genesis II comes with bright red back-lit burner knobs and a clever clip-on LED grill lamp that automatically switches on when you raise the lid.
If you have many mouths to feed and hate being manacled to the grill while everyone else is having a good time, then consider this reliable and unequivocally high-tech option. Just be aware that it arrives on a palette and takes over three hours to assemble.
Read more about this gas barbecue in our Weber Genesis II EX-335 GBS vs Char-Broil Professional Pro S2 comparison piece.
The Very 2 Ring Gas BBQ doesn't deliver any fancy features but, providing you're happy with its compact size and grill area, it's a super affordable choice of gas BBQ.
At well under £100 that price is very hard to overlook because you get two burners, with a useful side-burner allowing you to fry onions, create sauces for your meat, veg and fish, or cook other sides, as well as a 45 x 34 cm grilling area that is suitable for individuals, couples and small families.
Assembly is relatively straight forward, too, and as it's compact, the whole grill is light and easy to manoeuvre, even if its wheels are a bit plasticky and don't rotate. Its build quality is not where the premium gas grills are and its design is as plain as plain can be, but for this money we don't think you can complain at all.
Best pellet grills
Many American barbecue aficionados swear by pellet grilling because it infuses food with a truly authentic wood smoke flavour that is difficult to attain using charcoal, let alone gas. It is also arguably the easiest type of barbecuing because it’s all controlled by a computer leaving you, the host, to chill out and relax safe in the knowledge that the food will be cooked to perfection with almost zero intervention. It’s also ideal for a range of cooking styles, from fast grilling to slow smoking and roasting.
Like all pellet grills, compressed wood pellets are transported from a large hopper (in this case 9kgs) via an electrically-powered auger (basically a large corkscrew) to a small furnace pot beneath the main grill grate. The whole pellet delivery process is controlled by a computer processor – Traeger’s own D2 Direct Drive – that ensures consistency and reliability, just like an indoor oven. Hence, once you’ve set the temperature on the Traeger’s display panel or its superlative app, it remains at that temperature for as long as there are pellets in the hopper.
The heavyweight Traeger Ironwood 650 features wi-fi connectivity and comes with a 418 square inch main grill (enough space for eight chickens of five rib racks) and a removable 231 square inch warming grill above. It’s also equipped with a specialised ‘Super Smoke’ button that operates between 73˚C and 107˚C (ideal for those who like brisket and ribs), a ‘Keep Warm’ function and a meat probe that tells the processor when the food has reached the correct level of doneness. This grill is also capable of searing steaks at temperatures up to 260˚C (500˚F) but not quite as successfully as the hotter Broil King Regal 500 we review below.
Traeger is one of the world’s most popular pellet grill manufacturers and this tank-like model is a brilliant example of the high level of workmanship that goes into its products.
How does the Traeger Ironwood 650 fare against the mighty Weber Smokefire EX4? Well, you can find out in our dedicated Weber Smokefire EX4 vs Traeger Ironwood 650 comparison feature.
If you want the full picture of this grill, you can find out what we thought of this BBQ when we built and tested it in our Traeger Ironwood 650 review.
Constructed from 2mm,14 gauge steel, this pellet-smoking beast is as heavy and as solid as a locomotive and yet, along with the similarly excellent Traeger Ironwood 650 reviewed above, it was one of the easiest barbecues to assemble.
The Regal 500 comes with acres of grilling estate – 865 square inches of it. All pellet grills produce a lot of ash from the burnt pellets and these need to be cleaned out preferably before every grilling session but, rather ingeniously, this model comes with a fire pot cleaning agitator that empties the burnt ashes into a container below. The Regal also includes an efficient drip tray system for the excess fats that slow-and-low cooking inevitably creates. When it comes to pellet usage, this model seems more economical than other models we’ve tested and it comes with a huge 10kg pellet hopper, too.
The Regal 500’s controller is fitted with a huge display that you can read from several metres away. Like the best pellet grills, you can also use it with an app so it can be controlled remotely from anywhere you like. And if you’re a fan of rotisserie chicken, lamb or beef, then you’ll be pleased to know that this model also ships with a full rotisserie set.
If you’re in the market for an outrageously well-built pellet grill that comes with a set of features unique to Broil King, this is the model for you. And if you want to see just how good this grill is in action, head over to our favourite UK pitmaster YouTube channel, Will’s Grill Shack.
Now read our full in-depth review of the Broil King Regal 500.
The SmokeFire is a heavyweight pellet-burning beast that arrived in a box big enough to live in. The main stainless steel grate measures a substantial 61cm x 46cm (good for a party of eight to possibly ten) and there’s another smaller warming rack above it. A stainless steel shelf on the side provides space for ingredients, etc.
The whole shebang is controlled using a simple push-button LCD display replete with four meat probe ports (the unit comes with one probe). Simply select the required temperature (in Fahrenheit), push the big button, and wait about 10 to 25 minutes for the grill to reach optimum cooking temperature. Now slap on the food, close the lid and go chat to your mates.
Weber’s completely thrown the rule book out the window with this model and replaced the wide steel heat reflector common to other pellet models with its famous stainless steel ‘Flavorizer’ bars. This means that, at its highest heat setting (315˚C), the edges of the roaring flame in the fire pot below are clearly visible either side of the heat baffle rather than hidden from view, and that in turn means any steak thrown on the grill receives a good searing. You can also connect this grill to your phone via Bluetooth or wi-fi and control the whole process from a deck chair using the Weber Connect app.
Now, it has to be said that the earliest run of SmokeFires did have some teething problems, namely a poorly designed pellet hopper slide, but this has since been redesigned. What isn’t in doubt is the build quality which is frankly excellent across the board, from the beautifully finished porcelain enamelled lid and tactile opening mechanism to the sturdy legs and lockable castor wheels.
If you’re looking for a large and exceedingly competent pellet barbecue that can smoke, slow roast and sear then give this one some consideration.
Read our full Weber Smokefire EX4 review for more details.
As we note in our Traeger Pro 575 review, this is more like an outdoor oven than a barbecue. Like all pellet grills, it uses little wood pellets, an electrically-powered auger to deliver them to a fire pot, a temperature probe and advanced computer technology to make cooking much easier for everyone from newbies to pros.
Traeger’s nailed its algorithm so well that if you pick a temperature of, say, 180ºC, it will actually stay at that temperature for as long as required, or until the meat probe it comes with signals the end of the cooking process. Purists can call that cheating all they like but I have never burned a single thing on this grill and I'm more than happy with that. A superbly designed iOS and Android app adds a multitude of hints and tips, and hundreds of exotic barbecue recipes for beef, poultry, pork, fish. Traeger also produces a wide range of different wood pellets and some of the best dry-rub seasonings in the business.
The Traeger Pro 575 is excellent at smoking and slow cooking, and it's highly reliable for conventional grilling, too. For incompetent barbecuists and those who’d like to spend more time with the guests rather than being chained to a grill, this model is more than worth its price.