Barbecue fans divide off into two camps. There are those who love the primitive caveman thrill of charcoal, and there are those who favour the more controllable, instantaneous cooking provided by gas. There are absolutely none who say, "Nah mate, what you want is an electric barbecue."
However, we've got hands on with a Weber Pulse 1000 this weekend, and results have been pretty damn impressive. If you're looking for a way to cook on your balcony without breaking the terms of your lease (although you will still potentially aggravate your next-door and upstairs neighbours), this could be the answer.
Designed for, or at least marketed to, people who want to BBQ on the balcony without breaking the terms of their lease, or causing their neighbours to come and KILL them, the Weber Pulse 1000 is an electric barbecue.
At 1.8 Kilowatts, it's actually less powerful than some electric grills, but with its huge size and capacious under-lid area, it's a very powerful cooking device.
It's got a bright temperature display and decent control over heat – the precision is far greater than charcoal, although gas doesn't have anything to worry about. Maybe the real killer feature however is the inclusion of a Bluetooth, plug-in probe for monitoring the internal temperature of your meat and fish.
Used via Weber's iOS and Android app this works so well, it almost takes the fun out of cooking. Everything from chicken to a side of salmon comes out perfectly done, so long as you properly pre-heat the grill and then follow the simple instructions (turn once, no peaking!).
As well as being perfectly cooked every time (so long as you keep an eye on the app), food done on the Pulse 1000 does seem to have a more barbecue taste to it than what you'd get from a standard electric grill. Weber reckons that's down to its porcelain enamelled cast iron plates, but maybe it's just the fresh air.
As there's no charcoal smoke or gas canisters involved, the Pulse 1000 is much more balcony-friendly than most BBQs, although clearly, due to science, smoke and fumes will still come off your food and annoy your neighbours.
Still, never mind them. The Pulse 1000 is easy to clean (for a barbecue), has a 5-year warranty, and the electric/electronic elements are easy to hoik out and store indoors, while the main body of the grill can be left to dwell outside.