Summer’s coming. Is that a whiff of barbecue in the air? Read on to review key features, safety tips and five great gas BBQs you could buy.
Lucky you! Not only do you have a caravan or motorhome, it also has an exterior gas outlet.*
That means you can hook up a barbecue and use your vehicle’s gas supply for some al fresco cooking, whenever you like, with instant heat to get sizzling your food! Read on to see our round-up of top gas barbecues that are perfect for touring trips.
Before lighting up, do spare a thought for your neighbours, before the smoke wafts across others’ pitches – they may not be as fond of barbecued food as you are. Then again, it could be a great way to meet new friends…!
Also, just be wary of having any barbecue too close to your vehicle – a lot of heat can be given off and you wouldn’t want to damage your bodywork.
*Okay, if you don’t have such a fitting (or even want one added as an aftermarket addition), there are still gas barbecue alternatives that will perfectly suit your needs. Read on.
Buying considerations and key features of gas barbecues
Gas barbecues come in all shapes and sizes, so before you buy, consider how much space you have in your motorhome, caravan, or towing car for your outdoor cooking grill. Look for removable legs or a barbecue that will safely sit on a table-top so you’re sizzling your food in a comfortable position.
Features on a gas barbecue can also vary, from a basic cooking grate to durable porcelain-enamelled grills, with griddles, lids, warming racks, fat collectors and more! It all depends on how much you plan to cook outdoors on a barbecue, how many you’re cooking for and how adventurous you want to be.
Some compact gas barbecues will allow for cooking all manner of meals in a variety of styles, whether it be traditional grilling, roasting, boiling or even baking. You can also look out for extras, such as pizza stones and special cook pans if you really want to put your culinary skills to the test.
If you’re wanting a gas barbecue that’s easy to clean then look for a cooking surface made of cast iron or porcelain-enamelled – but do consider that they’ll be heavier eating into your payload. Fat trays or collectors will also make cleaning easier. Griddles can be easier to clean than a rack, and will give you greater cooking versality, allowing you to fry, saute and stir fry all manner of foods.
Lids on barbecues are great for acting as a windbreak, as well as keeping food warm. Some lids can also be used for cooking and those with an in-built thermostat will let you know when the barbecue is reading for cooking, as well as allowing for roasting and even baking. Plus a domed lid is great for steaming or even smoking food, for extra flavour.
If you like to cook with plenty of sauces and spices and have your utensils and dishes to hand then check out barbecues with storage shelves or racks. And the amount of people you’re generally cooking for with determine the size of your cooking surface.
Top safety tips
- Never cook in an enclosed space like an awning. Don’t even take a cooling barbecue into your awning for extra heat.
- Keep a fire extinguisher and/or fire blanket, plus first aid kit, handy – just in case! A windbreak can also protect your barbecue on a breezy day as well as cordoning off a cooking area from pets, children etc.
- Always check your chosen campsite is okay with barbecues. Most are, but there are occasional exceptions.
Cadac Carri Chef 2/Chef Pan Combo
Cadacs are big favourites with leisure vehicle users – just look around any campsite! And like most gas barbecues, this is light, easy to clean, as well as stowing away neatly for travel.
The Carri Chef 2 has a stainless-steel burner with piezo ignition, plus a removable lid that clips on for wind protection. Keep the enamel lid on and you can oven roast or smoke your meats or veggies, or even try a bit of baking! Take it off for traditional barbecuing and grilling.
The Carri Chef 2/Chef Pan Combo comes with a barbecue grid and lightweight full-diameter pan, both with a non-stick finish, plus a pot stand.
The cooking area on the barbecue top is 46 cm diameter. Options include a pizza stone, skottel, paella pan and more – or, look out for different Carri Chef variants. Comes with a two-year guarantee.
Price from £215
Key features Anodised aluminium legs, thermometer in lid, heat-resistant handle, lots of accessories and cooking options.
More info www.cadacinternational.com
Weber Gas Go-Anywhere
Here’s a gas barbecue, from one of the big names in the market, that doesn’t rely on a connection to your vehicle. Instead it operates from easily attached cartridges.
The cooking area is 41cm x 26cm, supplied via a single burner.
The base and lid have the added protection of porcelain enamelling, while the legs fold over to lock everything into place for travel. Dimensions with the lid closed are 36.9cm x 53.4cm x 31cm. It comes with a 10-year guarantee.
Price from £139.99
Key features Porcelain-enamelled steel grate, stainless-steel burner, plated steel legs, spark ignition, GRP handles, full range of extra accessories.
More info www.weber.com
Campingaz Party Grill 600
More than just a barbecue, this will also grill and griddle and operate as a conventional stove. You can even extend its abilities further with the pizza stone and paella pan options.
It’s also particularly easy to transport, thanks to its detachable legs and locking lid.
This runs on butane or propane, weighs some 10.72g, has an overall diameter of 52cm (suggesting a wide cooking area) and stands 99cm tall when up.
The Party Grill is also available in smaller sizes, 400 and 200.
Price from £179.99
Key features Non-stick coating to grill and griddle, piezo ignition, grease collector, carrybag.
More info www.campingaz.com
A distinctive looking tabletop barbecue from Outwell, the Corte packs down to a very compact 65.5cm x 44cm x 32.5cm, opening up to 96cm x 44cm x 32.5cm – size enough to feed a family.
The two-piece grill comes in two sections in cast iron, with stainless-steel burner. Total weight is 7.56kg.
It also has removable side sections that act as mini worktops/food storage areas for the chef. Other features include a temperature gauge, drip tray, heat-resistant lid and piezo ignition.
Price from £129.99
Key features Cast iron grills, variable heat control, ventilation holes in the lid, heat-resistant handles
More info www.outwell.com
Keep it simple with this bargain ‘barbie’, which still uses a layer for lava rock coals for authenticity, too – not just for looks, they also impart a “smoky” flavour. It’s a classic design, with fold-over legs that also act to hold lid and barbecue together for transportation (pack size is 48cm x 29.5cm x 28.5cm).
The cooking area is some 41cm x 26.5cm, so there’s plenty of space for the family’s sausages, burgers and more. Overall dimensions are 48cm x 29.5cm x 28.5cm.
Price from £49.99
Key features Steel body, chrome-plated grid, heat-resistant handles, can run on butane or propane (pipe and regulator not included)
More info www.crusaderproducts.co.uk
Over to you….
Got any advice on gas barbecues and barbecuing to pass on to others? Feel free to add your comments below. And for more information about charcoal barbecues see our earlier gear guide.