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Ultimate Guide to BBQ Equipment

03 July 2023

bbq steak

First tip – click BBQ tongs twice to make sure they’re working properly.

That unmistakable BBQ smell, floating between back gardens on balmy air, is the only confirmation we need that summer has officially arrived. Some will argue that there’s nothing quite like the taste of barbequed food, impossible to replicate in the oven. And we’d be inclined to agree. But if you’re new to grilling, or just looking for some advice as the weather warms up, you’re in the right place…

Where did the barbeque come from?

It’s a bit tricky to nail down one point in history in which an outdoor grill is used for the first time. It’s understood that when 16th-century Spanish conquistadors reached the Caribbean, natives were cooking cuts of meat over shallow fire pits. Pit cooking certainly won’t have been new at this point, but it’s thought to be the birth site of the term barbacoa, which gave us the word barbeque in the following century.

Gas vs charcoal BBQ

Charcoal versus gas…. it’s a hot topic. Some are very passionate about which grill cooks the best banger. However, as with most things, there are pros and cons for both. To help you make your mind up, and get all the facts straight, this is how they stack up.   


A gas BBQ, short for gas barbecue, is a type of outdoor cooking appliance that uses propane or natural gas as a fuel source to heat the cooking surface. It is designed for grilling and often comes with features that make it convenient and easy to use.

Gas BBQ pros

  • Little setup required and easy to use
  • You can choose and set the exact heat
  • Consistent heat that doesn’t require tending to

Gas BBQ downsides

  • If the lid’s open, you lose a lot of heat
  • Lack of an even blanket of heat
  • Little typical smoky BBQ taste.

Charcoal BBQ

A charcoal BBQ is an outdoor cooking device that uses charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal as a fuel source. The charcoal is ignited, providing high heat for grilling. Charcoal BBQs are known for imparting a smoky flavour to food, making them popular for enthusiasts who enjoy the traditional and distinctive taste of charcoal-grilled dishes.

 Charcoal BBQ pros

  • It burns hotter than gas
  • It locks in a smokier taste
  • Indirect grilling lets you cook some things slowly

Charcoal BBQ downsides

  • Takes longer to set up and get going
  • You can’t control the exact heat
  • Often features a smaller cooking area

How to set up and light a charcoal BBQ

Is there anything more frustrating than having your heart set on a tasty BBQ, only for the heat not to spread evenly, leaving you with a smoky, lukewarm mess? If you’re using a gas barbie, you can skip over this, but charcoal BBQ-ers, listen in…

  • First things first, what do you need to host a BBQ? Providing you’ve already got the actual BBQ, you will also need some tools – some tongs, a spatula, and something to move coals around. Some quality charcoal , natural firelighters, and a good box of long-stem matches.
  • Make sure you’re in the right environment. You’re outdoors, you’ve got plenty of space, and the neighbours have taken their washing in. 
  • Shop for some decent charcoal, they come in lots of variations. Cheap sacks might sound like a good idea at the time, but they often burn quicker, don’t get as hot, and could give your food an unpleasant taste.
  • Crumple newspaper into tight balls, and arrange your charcoal in a pile on top of, and around, them. If you want some extra heat to get things started, consider some natural firelighters, like wood shavings. Again, put them under the coals.
  • Light the paper and shavings with a long-stem match, and let them get your coals nice and hot. When the flames disappear, and your briquettes turn white, it’s time to start grilling. If you find that your coals are cooling before you’re ready to finish up, add some more coals to one side, and let them gradually heat before mixing in.


BBQ equipment and accessories

BBQ infographic GIF top tips

Gas BBQ accessories

Gas grills offer convenience and precision, and having the right accessories can enhance your grilling experience. Here are some must-have gas BBQ accessories:

  1. Propane Tank Gauge: Ensure you never run out of gas mid-cook by having a reliable propane tank gauge.
  2. Grill Brush: Keep your grates clean for optimal flavour by regularly brushing off residue.
  3. Drip Pans: Make cleanup easier by using drip pans to catch grease and drippings.
  4. Grill Light: Extend your grilling time into the evening with a bright LED grill light.
  5. Grilling Utensils Set: Invest in a quality set of tongs, spatula and fork for efficient grilling.
  6. Meat Thermometer: Ensure your meats are perfectly cooked by using a reliable meat thermometer.

Charcoal BBQ accessories

If you prefer the traditional charm of a charcoal BBQ, having the right accessories is key to mastering the art of charcoal grilling. Here’s a list of essential charcoal BBQ accessories:

  1. Chimney Starter: Quickly and efficiently light charcoal with a chimney starter.
  2. Charcoal Basket: Maintain an organised and even coal bed with a charcoal basket.
  3. Grill Grate Lifter: Easily adjust the height of your charcoal grates with a grill grate lifter.
  4. Ash Tool: Keep your grill clean by using an ash tool to remove ashes during and after cooking.
  5. Charcoal Tongs: Handle hot charcoal with precision using dedicated charcoal tongs.
  6. Basting Brush: Add flavour to your food with a basting brush for applying marinades and sauces.

BBQ smoker accessories

If you’re a barbecue enthusiast who loves the slow and smoky cooking process, having the right accessories for your smoker is essential. Here’s a list of BBQ smoker accessories to elevate your smoking game:

  1. Wood Chips Variety Pack: Experiment with different wood flavours to enhance the taste of your smoked meats.
  2. Smoker Box for Pellets: Easily add wood pellets to your smoker for a convenient smoky flavour.
  3. Drip Bucket: Collect drippings to keep your smoker clean and prevent flare-ups.
  4. Smoker Cover: Protect your smoker from the elements with a weather-resistant cover.
  5. Rib Rack: Maximise cooking space by using a rib rack for vertical placement of ribs.
  6. BBQ Gloves: Handle hot grates and accessories safely with heat-resistant BBQ gloves.

What to cook on a BBQ

Far be it from us to tell you what you should be putting on the grill this weekend, but if you’re looking for a few ideas, here are our favourites – with some top tips to boot.

  • Burgers – an absolute BBQ staple. Remove them from the fridge and let them come to room temperature before you stick them on the grill. When they’re on there, flip them just once, as constant turning will dry them out. For a medium finish, give them about two minutes per side. If you’re doing cheeseburgers, let your cheese of choice sit on top for the last two minutes, while the burger’s still on the grill. 
  • Sausages – it isn’t a British BBQ without a few bangers. For best results, you’ve got to be delicate with sausages. Put them somewhere on the grill that isn’t receiving direct heat, and leave them to sizzle away for about eight minutes. Flip and repeat. 
  • Chicken – kebabs, skewers, thighs, breasts, drumsticks. There’s a lot to consider when cooking chicken on the barbie, but the number one rule is this… make sure it’s cooked all the way through before serving. That means no pink bits when you cut into it. Allow all your flames to die down before cooking any chicken, as you’ll just end up burning the skin, and not cooking the middle. If you’re doing kebabs, think about adding the likes of colourful peppers, red onion, tomatoes, halloumi or courgette.
  • Steak – you can’t go wrong with a good cut of steak on the grill. It can be served rare, medium, or well done, and it’s tasty every time. One of our favourite BBQ steak accompaniments is a Brazilian flour called cassava. Dip your steak in this after it’s cooked and rested for a bit, and thank us later.
  • Garlic bread – yes you read that right. Grab a supermarket baguette (or make your own, with some garlic butter), and wrap it up in kitchen foil so it looks a bit like a Christmas cracker. Stick in on a cooler part of the grill and turn occasionally.
  • Halloumi – the squeakiest cheese there is. For newbies, halloumi is a delicious Cypriot cheese that doesn’t melt on the BBQ, making it a brilliant meat substitute. For best results, rub a bit of olive oil on each side to stop it sticking, and heat gently for two or three minutes on each side until golden brown.
  • Onion – what’s a good burger without some sweet white onion? To soften and cook a whole onion on the grill, peel and quarter, and wrap it up in foil.
  • Corn on the cob – an undeniable barbie classic. Make it extra special by muddling together some butter, honey, garlic and salt and pepper, slather it all over your corn, and double-wrap each one in foil. Chuck it on the grill for about 30 mins, and enjoy. 

Also, a missed opportunity would be to discuss what to pair your meats with…rice salads and coleslaw! Try our Courgette Rice Salad or our Italian Rice Salad, both of which make amazing accompaniments for whatever you choose to throw on your summer BBQ.  

BBQ tips for beginners

Embarking on your BBQ journey? Here are some essential tips for beginners to ensure your grilling experience is a sizzling success:

  1. Start with the Basics: Begin with simple recipes like burgers or sausages to familiarise yourself with your grill and its controls.
  2. Preheat Your Grill: Allow your grill to preheat before placing food on it. This ensures even cooking and helps prevent sticking.
  3. Invest in Quality Tools: Get a good set of grilling tools, including tongs, a spatula, and a meat thermometer. Quality tools make the cooking process easier and more enjoyable.
  4. Practice Temperature Control: Learn to control the temperature of your grill. For gas grills, adjust the burner knobs, and for charcoal, master the art of arranging and managing the coals.
  5. Experiment with Flavours: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different marinades, rubs and sauces to enhance the flavour of your grilled dishes.
  6. Safety First: Place your grill in a well-ventilated outdoor area, away from flammable materials. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, and never leave your grill unattended.
  7. Clean Your Grill: Regularly clean your grill grates and remove any residue. This not only improves the taste of your food but also extends the life of your grill.
  8. Patience is Key: Avoid constantly flipping or moving your food. Let it cook undisturbed for a better sear and flavour.
  9. Try Different Cuts of Meat: Explore various cuts of meat to discover your favourites. From steaks to chicken thighs, each cut requires its own grilling approach.
  10. Keep it Simple: As a beginner, focus on mastering the basics before attempting complex recipes. Simple dishes can still be incredibly delicious.

Already looking up the weather this weekend? We don’t blame you. Happy grilling, and for more recipes and product guides, check out our blog.