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Revealed: The hottest barbecues and outdoor grills of the season 

Aug 03, 2023

George Foreman Indoor-Outdoor grill with detachable stand, €130, multiple suppliers.

What's hot, and what's not on this year's barbecue scene? Let's look at some popular choices for feasting in the garden, or basting on the balcony this summer.

In terms of the environment, the best BBQ is not a traditional type, but an electric device. If that sounds like a flavourless compromise, think again.

Healthy approach

The latest models offer multiple cooking methods and with low carbon emissions at the point of use, this compact versatility really does taste of the future. The Ninja Woodfire 2,400W offers not just a hot grill plate for searing meat and vegetables, but the additional talents of air-frying and smoking using the clean, convenience of wood pellets for sides and gourmet wood-preserved and flavoured foods.

A convection fan evenly circulates heat and smoke around food, ensuring rich, fully developed woodfire flavours in tender brisket and other large cuts of meat or fish. The air fryer serves up seven standalone functions including seven customisable functions including air fry, roast, bake, reheat, and dehydrate and can handle both savoury dishes and desserts with 75% less oil than conventional cooking.

There's a starter pack for smoking including a pellet scoop, crisper basket and chef-created recipe guide for halloumi kebabs and more.

The large 28cm x 37cm grill plate fits eight burgers, 16 sausages, two racks of ribs or a 2kg pork shoulder, with the air frying basket holding up to 1kg of wings or 1.5kg of hand-cut wedges. From €360 from multiple suppliers

Former heavyweight champion of the world boxer George Foreman is a remarkable man (celebrated on the big screen this year). His electric grills for the garden really were first out of the corner to give fossil fuels a left hook.

Foreman grills come in a range of models, indoor or out (most can be used for both settings). Some include a very handy grip, that releases with a squeeze to take the grill plates directly to the dishwasher or sink (check the model type) and the new Immersia line can be flung straight into the dishwasher. My choice is the indoor/outdoor grill on a stand which is highly affordable and perfect to serve small urban yards or even balconies.

With a temperature gauge, a high dome lid and variable temperature control, you can handle 15 portions of meat/vegetables at a time. The Foreman signature angled cooking plates are finished with a durable non-stick coating which drains surplus fat and grease from foods into an integrated, handy drip tray. Pop it off the stand, and as there's no charcoal or propane to deal with, you can use it right on the counter indoors. From €130 from multiple suppliers.

Egg-shaped models

Charcoal (lump-wood) egg-shaped grills have a cult following. With their eye-catching enamelled bodies and ease of use, the kamado-style BBQ is based on an ancient Japanese outdoor cooking stove.

With the base filled with fuel, the thick enamel-coated body can be closed up firmly for long, economical cooking times and truly succulent meat. There is a range of these grills at a higher and lower price points, and with dupes of the much-loved (and violently expensive) Big Green Egg from South Africa, some are better than others. Top models can be jigged to handle bread and pizza.

I would suggest examining something like the Oscar Camado ceramic grills (currently on offer at Co-Op SuperStore outlets), a Buffalo, or a Kamado Joe. Take in the build quality, features and performance of these €650-plus grandees (45cm) then take bargain egg grills through the rattle test.

I’m going to vouch for the Kamado Luna for 2023 with its dimpled or diamond faceted body, stainless steel dual-flip grates (with handles for ease of adding charcoal), heat deflectors for larger models, plus two polished bamboo side tables. Tabletops from €272.40, standing versions from €782 (with pizza oven),

Whatever kamado-style grill you choose, look for a heavy, robust trolley with firm brakes (outside of table-tops), and buy up to the "divide-and-conquer" cook system to enjoy different temperatures on the same grill plate.

Staying with real-flame cooking, with a masonry grill you have a range of choices, and this starts with a simple DIY build kit. Very (formerly Littlewoods Direct) offers a traditional brick BBQ (sans bricks) from just €60, ideal for a quaint feature to stage container planting when it's off duty (

Pizza oven boxes start at €80 with a pizza paddle over at Woodies DIY as a useful add-on to your classic BBQ steak spot (

For something truly architectural, enjoy stunning styling with a 2m high proper Mediterranean Buschbeck BBQ from €645 for their Toscana — not bad for a hot spot to loll around by all year, as it functions both as an outdoor fireplace as well as a formal, towering cook spot.

Built with white quartz (composite) the Toscana features a contrasting terracotta fire box and fuel storage area with a copper insert. The double-skinned construction of the Buschbeck stoves means they can burn several different types of fuel, allowing you to start off cooking on charcoal and then move on to logs or firewood when you want to enjoy the shifting flames. In terms of cooking, it's straightforward old-style searing, with four cook heights on a heavy-duty aluminium grill.

You can expect in the order of 20 years from this model without serious signs of age — just break out the power hose to freshen it up every spring. Gas burner inserts from €220 and a variety of styles from €650 to €699,

The big shots

Three names dominate the quality BBQs again this summer in gas, charcoal and even electric, Weber, Char-broil, and of course, Outback.

Yes, you’ll pay as much as 50% more for a quality frame, and burners you can rely on, but properly cared for, well-branded BBQs will take you through a decade or more, while others just atrophy in grease, smile at the joints, rust and fall apart (hopefully not in a fiery smash while in service!). My choice for a tough, well-designed entry-level, but serious BBQ to last more than two-three seasons is the Char-Broil Performance 220-S 2.

Made by a legendary American firm established in 1948, it offers precise control to two burners, a hefty stainless steel lid, an integrated temperature gauge (don't bother with a BBQ without one), two tough shelves and a really useful storage cupboard for the base for the tank and accessories.

Its TRU-Infrared technology can "tame the flame" with a patented emitter plate absorbing the natural infrared heat of the flames and radiating it back to the food from below. €399.95, with Char-Broil modular kitchen components starting at €1,699, suppliers include

If you have a sliver of space and fancy trying your hand at smoking meats and other foodstuffs, Weber's Smokey Mountain has everything you need to take it really slow at any time of year with pulled pork and fall-off-the-bone racks of ribs.

With an upright body, you can place it safely off to one side of a patio, it includes everything you need to get started, including a tough porcelain enamel lid, two cooking grates for smoking multiple items at once, easy-to-use dampers that adjust easily for ultimate control, and a silicone temperature grommet monitors the internal temperature of your smoker. From €419 for a 37cm model. Check prices with multiple suppliers.

Again, whatever your budget, stick with the proven names for a sound buy. For a solid kettle BBQ with masses of grill room for four souls — vouch for a quality Weber 57cm Compact, just €215 at Weber agents including Woodies DIY,

I’m not in favour of over-engineering outdoor feasts, but Weber's Connect Smart Grilling Hub is such a handy bit of culinary kit.

Built around a probe set into the food, it sends notifications directly to your smartphone, on everything from a food-readiness countdown, to when it's time to "flip-and-serve". All it takes is a glance at your phone while you chat with your chums to know that your mouth-watering triumph is safely on its way. From €169, suppliers include

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