If you’ve read my story on the ‘about me‘ page you will know that I sell Weber Barbecues as part of my daily job. A big part of this is making sure our customers leave us feeling happy with the grill they have bought. More often than not, our customers know they want to buy a new barbecue but can’t decide which one is best for them.
I wanted to share the 3 key questions you should ask yourself when choosing a barbecue to help you get one that you are not only happy with, but will use over and over again.
Question One: How many people will I be cooking for on a regular basis?
The answer to this question will help you choose the size of your grill. Think about your immediate family circle. If you will be cooking for 2-4 people for most of the year, then some of the smaller charcoal grills or the Weber Q range will be perfect for you. Some of the smaller charcoal barbecues have very few features however Weber have released a new 47cm Weber Kettle Plus for 2017 which has some great features. The Weber Q2200 is a great little gas grill if you are catering for smaller numbers of people but still has the ability to handle larger cooks when needed.
If you are cooking for 5-6 people plus then in the charcoal range you will probably be looking at anything from the Weber Kettle Original 57cm upwards. In the gas range, the Weber Family Q3200 and upwards will work for you.
I’ve catered for large groups of people on small grills before and it isn’t fun so be realistic when you answer this question but don’t go over board. You don’t want to end up paying for some of the larger grills only to turn on a single burner each time you use it.
Question Two: When do you intend on using your BBQ most?
I would hope that you will be using your grill 7 days a week but for many beginners that isn’t the case. We are all busy people with jobs, family and friends so your BBQ should fit into your life as seamlessly as possible. If you hope to cook a few evening meals throughout the week and then invite some friends over at the weekend, I would suggest a gas grill. If your aim is to barbecue at the weekends with your family then a charcoal grill is a great option.
The reason I suggest a gas grill to use through the week is down to convenience. If you get home from work at 5.30pm and light your gas grill you can be ready to cook in 10 minutes. With the invention of the charcoal chimney starter, lighting a charcoal barbecue is easier than ever but it still takes a little more time. If you are barbecuing at the weekend you will likely have more time to enjoy the experience so a charcoal grill would be the better choice.
If you are a beginner, I want you to use your BBQ as often as possible and if you find the charcoal grill too inconvenient to fire up during the week then you ultimately won’t use it. Chances are that you will end up owning more than one grill anyway when you catch the barbecue bug.
Question Three: What kind of food do you hope to cook on your BBQ?
When I’m helping my customers with their BBQ selection, I always ask what they hope to cook rather than what they currently cook. Maybe you have never roasted a chicken on a barbecue before or slow cooked a pork shoulder but if this is something you hope to do more of, it will affect which grill is right for you. Any BBQ in the Weber range, both gas and charcoal, is suitable for grilling (cooking directly over the heat source) but when it comes to roasting there are some features you should look out for.
- A hood / Lid Thermometer is key if you want to know what the ambient temperature is inside your barbecue. Whilst all the gas grills have hood thermometer, the smaller charcoal BBQ’s do not (Smokey Joe, Go-Anywhere, Compact). It is possible to roast / slow cook without a hood thermometer however having one makes the experience a lot easier and therefore more enjoyable.
- There isn’t a lot of room under the hoods of the smaller charcoal grills and the charcoal bowl isn’t as deep meaning the coals are a lot closer to the cooking grate. If you have a large chicken or joint of meat on these barbecues there can be issues with the lid fitting on properly. If the cooking grate is too close to the coals, you may run into difficulties controlling the temperature. Any charcoal BBQ from the Weber Kettle Original 57cm upwards has a deep charcoal bowl and a higher lid giving you more space.The same can be said for the Weber Q range. The hoods on these grills are quite shallow and whilst you can still use them for roasting, I would suggest looking at something like the Weber Spirit Classic range. Temperature control isn’t really an issue on a gas BBQ however the Q range has a single burner making it hard to get an area of indirect heat. You will need to use a heat shield and roasting rack to get the best results on these grills.
Choose a BBQ that suits your needs
There are many other factors that may affect which barbecue you choose but I feel answering these three questions will give you a better understanding of which grill will suit your needs. Buying the right grill will encourage you to use it more and the more you use it, the better you will get at cooking mouth watering barbecue.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this! What affected your choices when you were buying your grill (or grills )? Let me know in the comments below.