Blue skies, scorching sunshine and the excitement of the grill – cooking outdoors must be one of the best parts of summer.
Whether you choose to light the grill or use a pizza oven, eat vegetarian or full-on carnivores, host a casual cooking or a gourmet reunion, outdoor meals just feel special.
“The addition of a grill adds a whole new dimension to your outdoor space, encouraging you to make the most of warmer weather and cooking outdoors,” said Nadia McCowan Hill, Wayfair Style Advisor.
“The simplicity of lighting the grill and inviting friends and family to impromptu gatherings goes hand in hand with the summer season.”
In fact, searches for grills have increased by 16% year on year at John Lewis & Partners, and although there are plenty of styles out there to choose from, function and style are key.
“Homeowners want technologically advanced BBQs that not only work on the cooking front but fit into the aesthetics of the home, as well as more options over what type of food they can cook,” says Brendon Haxby, co-founder of interior design specialists Naken.
Today’s BBQ extends from the traditional, where coal remains king, to the contemporary, where gas alternatives reign.
“Some have built-in refrigerators or heating racks, but all are designed with a look in mind,” says Haxby.
For those who want more choices, Haxby says that pizza ovens have proven to be a popular alternative to BBQs, while those with larger budgets choose tailor-made outdoor kitchens.
Of course, there are plenty of smaller, more basic BBQs to get your outdoor party started without hassle or too much expense.
But for those who want to go up a level, here are some other sizzling hot outdoor cooking options to check out …
1. VonHaus 64 cm charcoal grill, £ 124.49, Wayfair
Made of cast iron, this freestanding charcoal grill offers two ways to cook your meat fish or vegetables – either grill them or switch to a smoker by turning off the ventilation and stacking chips under the grill. The two spacious side shelves also come in handy.
McCowan Hill says, “The 2-in-1 feature means you can cook over the BBQ flames or in the wood-burner – giving you the opportunity to increase your outdoor cooking skills.”
2. Weber Classic Kettle Charcoal Barbecue 47cm, black, € 167.99, Weber
“I can not think of many things in life that you buy and then immediately set fire to. However, this is true with a new BBQ,” says Dan Cooper, Weber’s grill master. “For this reason, it is extremely important that your grill has an exceptional build quality. Lids, bowls and grilles should all be made of the best possible materials for the job.”
Cooper recommends that you avoid a BBQ that is painted, as well as models that feel light and thin. This classic carbon is built to last and comes with a 10 year warranty.
3. Norfolk Grills N Outdoor Gas BBQ, £ 683, Naked
Haxby says that this Norfolk Grills model has all the aesthetic appeal of a traditional charcoal-powered BBQ but the benefits of a gas grill.
“It’s quick and easy to clean and you have much more control over the grill. In addition, you do not have to light it hours before you want to eat – unlike a charcoal grill, it does not take an age to reach cooking temperature,” says Haxby.
4. Ooni Karu 16 Multi Fuel Outdoor Pizza Oven, € 549
Pizzas will undoubtedly be first on your menu, but this large grill surface of this oven can also be used to fry pieces of meat, fried fish or vegetables, or bake bread. Equally flexible, you can cook with wood or charcoal or, with the addition of the compatible gas adapter (sold separately), gas.
It is “one of the coolest pizza ovens on the market,” according to Alice Rice, an outdoor buyer at John Lewis & Partners, who promises: “Wow your guests with 16-inch pizzas cooked to perfection in just 60 seconds.”
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