There’s nothing quite like a barbecue for showing off your culinary skills. You’re literally cooking for an audience (an audience which is particularly engaged, as they are hungry). If you’re going to be barbecuing this summer, you want to make sure you’ve got a barbecue that will help you achieve the best culinary results. Carry on reading to discover the best gas barbecues for summer 2021.
What are the benefits of gas barbecues?
If you’ve been searching Google for more information on barbecues, then you’ll no doubt have seen many arguments for and against gas barbecues (and other fuel types). Here at Direct Stoves we sell all types of barbecues, so we’re not biased. In our experience, gas barbecues offer the following benefits:
- Easy to ignite, generally with a push-button ignition. This means you can start cooking quickly and don’t have to mess around with firelighters etc.
- Easier to control the flame and heat, meaning you can cook more evenly.
- Low maintenance and minimal cleaning. Gas offers one of the cleanest ways to cook outdoors.
- Certain models with multiple burners allow you to cook at different temperatures on different parts of the grill, which is great if you want to cook multiple foods at once.
- Gas fuel tends to be better value than other fuels such as charcoal.
- Gas barbecues tend to give off steam during cooking, meaning that they can add moisture to any meat you are cooking.
Those are some of the main benefits associated with gas barbecues. If they sound like the kind of benefits you want from your barbecue, then keep reading!
Gas barbecue buying advice
Before we take a look at the best gas barbecues on the market for summer 2021, we’d like to provide you with some buying advice that’ll help you select the best barbecue for your requirements.
When you start to look at the various options available, you’ll be surprised about the number of things you need to think about when making a purchase, so keep reading to discover our top gas barbecue buying tips.
What size barbecue should I buy?
One of the first things you should think about when selecting a gas barbecue is the size.
What size is best for you will be determined by a number of factors such as available space in your garden/yard, how many people you’ll be cooking for and how much you want to spend.
Let’s take a look at the different sizes available.
If you intend to regularly cook for around four to six people, then a standard sized barbecue will easily meet your needs. A standard sized gas barbecue will normally have two burners. If you’re hoping to cook for larger numbers of people though, you’ll need to step up a size.
When you need to cook for eight or more people, then a large barbecue will do the job. Large gas barbecues usually have three or four burners, providing you with the extra capacity you need to cook larger volumes of food. Large barbecues tend to be more expensive to purchase and will have higher long-term fuel costs, so you need to be sure you’ll be regularly cooking for eight plus guests if you’re going to get value for your money.
If you’re someone who likes to regularly go camping or take day trips to the countryside, then a portable barbecue may be a good option. Naturally, a portable barbecue, by its very nature, offers only a small cooking area, so don’t expect to be able to cook for more than two to three people on the average portable barbecue.
Check your cooking area
As well as thinking about cooking capacity, you also need to think about the location for your barbecue. Many gas barbecues feature side shelves for storage. Additionally, many gas barbecues feature a grill which opens out beyond the initial footprint of the barbecue. So, make sure you’ve got plenty of space.
The general rule of thumb is that you should place your gas barbecue at least 2 metres (5-6 feet) away from your house or other flammable materials.
Storing and moving your gas barbecue
Another important consideration when buying a gas barbecue is how you’ll be storing and moving your barbecue.
Large barbecues in particular can be quite heavy and difficult to move. If you’re willing to buy a cover and store it outside, then that’s not really a problem. However, if you need to store your barbecue in a shed or garage after every use, then you may want to buy a standard sized barbecue instead.
When thinking about moving and storing your barbecue, bear the following things in mind:
- How many people will it take to move your barbecue?
- How far do you have to transport it to reach your shed or garage? (And what’s the terrain over which you’ll need to travel e.g. gravel, grass, paving stones).
- How much space it will take up in your shed or garage (including any accessories).
If you’re particularly concerned about storing and moving your barbecue, look for models which are fitted with dedicated carrying handles and collapsible sections (such as storage shelves).
How much BTU or heat output do I need for my gas barbecue?
Once you’ve established how much space you’ve got for your gas barbecue, you should think about how much heat output you’ll need.
The heat output of gas barbecues is often measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). This is a standard measurement which will help you determine how much heat you’ll need your barbecue to produce.
When thinking about how much heat output you’ll need, you should think about the size of the primary cooking area and the BTUs per square inch.
To find your grilling surface BTUs, use this formula:
Total BTUs for the main burner / The primary cooking area in square inches = Grilling surface BTUs
The industry standard for BTUs needed for a grill is between 75 and 100 BTUs per square inch of heating surface.
You should think about your cooking style in relation to heat output. For example, you could buy a gas barbecue which has a heat output in the lower BTU range. This will result in lower temperatures and longer cooking times. Conversely, you could buy a gas barbeque which has a heat output in the higher BTU range and you’ll have quicker cooking times, but the higher temperature generated could char your meat.
So, it’s about getting the right balance for you and your cooking style.
What type of barbecue burners are best?
Once you’ve figured out what BTU range you want from your gas barbecue, you should give some thought to what type of burners you want on your barbecue. Burners are the very heart of the barbecue – they’re what provide the heat. So, if you don’t get a barbecue with good burners, you’ll be wasting your money!
There are a number of different types of burners that are usually fitted to barbecues.
Stainless steel burners
The most common burners you’ll see fitted to gas barbecues are stainless steel burners. These are perforated steel tubes that provide a nice blue flame. Stainless steel burners have a long-life and will normally last for years.
Cast iron burners
Less common, are cast iron burners. Due to the properties of cast iron, they can provide heat quickly and will continue to radiate heat even after you’ve turned off the gas. However, cast iron burners can rust quickly.
You’ll generally only find tin burners on very cheap or basic portable barbecues. Due to the properties of tin, tin burners are not particularly effective and are also extremely prone to rust.
Infrared burners are sometimes fitted as an extra to a gas barbecue. An infrared burner is normally used at the end of the cooking process to give the meat a very intense, short blast of heat to create meat with crunchy edges and to caramelise onions etc. However, they are a bit of a blunt instrument. Use them for even a minute too long and you can ruin your meat.
Barbecue features to look for
With all of those considerations out of the way, you’re a step closer to buying the perfect gas barbecue. But before we get to the best gas barbecues on the market for summer 2021, we thought we’d outline a few final features you should look for in your gas barbecue.
- Hood – a hood will help you to retain heat and can improve the way you grill, roast or bake your food.
- Temperature gauge – when you’re trying to cook something that requires a level of precision, then a temperature gauge can be invaluable.
- Fat drip tray – a fat drip tray, as the name suggests, will catch drips of fat, preventing any flare ups whilst also keeping your barbecue clean.
- Storage shelves – cooking can often involve plenty of condiments, sauces and utensils. Storage shelves will make your life much easier and save repeated trips to the kitchen.
- Tool hooks – as with storage shelves, tool hooks can make your life much easier. You’ll be able to swap easily between tongs and spatulas without having to find somewhere to store them.
- Side burner – this isn’t an essential, but some gas barbecues are fitted with side burners which can be used to heat sauces etc away from the main burners.
- Griddle – some barbecues come with a griddle, which will help you to fry, saute and braise meats.
Those are some of the things you should take into account when buying a gas barbecue.
Now, on to the best gas barbecues for summer 2021.
The best gas barbecues for summer 2021
Whether you’re looking for a small portable gas barbecue or a full-blown large-scale gas barbecue, we’ve outlined the best ones below.
Lifestyle Portable Gas Barbecue
If you want to grill on the go, then you can’t do better than the Lifestyle Portable Gas Barbecue. Featuring one paddle burner, a chrome cooking grill, an integrated heat deflector shield, fold away chrome legs and lava rock, this is the perfect compact, portable gas barbecue.
Lifestyle Cuba Gas Barbecue
Think of a classic gas barbecue and it’ll probably look something like the Lifestyle Cuba Gas Barbecue. Offering everything you need for a quick grill up, the Lifestyle Cuba Gas Barbecue comes with an enamelled cooking grill, warming rack, flame tamers, a porcelain-coated hood, integrated temperature gauge, a piezo ignition and more.
If you’re looking for a compact yet powerful gas barbecue, you’ve just found it.
Morso Forno Gas Piccolo Barbecue Grill
If you’re looking for a barbecue with a more minimalist design, then the Morso Forno Gas Piccolo Barbecue Grill could be for you.
The outer shell of the Morso Forno is made from moulded aluminium and features a solid cast iron grilling grid, making it perfect for the more adventurous barbecue chef. The Morso Forno sits on four legs which offer excellent stability and the integrated handle makes it easy to move and store this attractive looking barbecue.
Lifestyle Grenada Gas Barbecue
For those of you who will be regularly entertaining a larger number of guests, the Lifestyle Grenada Gas Barbecue is the perfect choice. Fitted with 4 main burners and 1 side burner, the Lifestyle Grenada is able to cook large amounts of food to a high standard.
It’s also packed with features. The Lifestyle Grenada comes with a double skinned roasting hood, integrated temperature gauge, cast iron cooking grill and griddle, a side shelf and is fitted with wheels and a trolley handle for ease of movement.
Lifestyle Bahama Island Steel Gas Barbecue
The ultimate gas barbecue, the Lifestyle Bahama will not only create an impressive focal point for your garden, but is absolutely packed with features. With a fully stainless steel construction and 5 main burners with flame tamers, this barbecue is for those of you who want to take your outdoor cooking to the next level.
It has a rotisserie back burner and double skinned roasting hood with a temperature gauge, so you’ll be able to cook meat and vegetables to perfection. It also features an infrared sizzle burner for searing steaks and sealing in juicy flavours.
That’s not all. The Lifestyle Bahama Island Steel Gas Barbecue also comes with two sliding preparation shelves, cabinet storage, an optional electric rotisserie, warming racks, two halogen bulbs in the grilling area and blue LED lighting for the control panel.
This a gas barbecue which truly does it all…
Those are five of our top gas barbecues for summer 2021. However, we’ve got plenty more options available…
If you’re looking for more barbecue and outdoor cooking advice, read more on the Direct Stoves blog…