7 Types of BBQ: Don’t pick the wrong one

Types of BBQ

7 Types of BBQ: Don’t pick the wrong one

For many of us, investing in a BBQ can be a bit daunting especially if this is your first time choosing a “good” one.

There are several types of BBQs that you should learn about before purchasing one. Most BBQs are simple to use; however, some are more difficult to use and require skill and familiarity with the bbq. Each type of bbq has its own benefits and drawbacks, but many people have just recently started to favor a certain type.

Everyone has their favorite bbq to use, and some have spent too much money discovering which is the right type of bbq for them, whether it’s practicality or for the flavor outcome. Follow this list, and you’ll surely find the perfect bbq for you, your tastes, and your home!

Gas Powered BBQ

Gas Powered BBQ

Gas-powered BBQs are the most common type of BBQ households own in Australia. They are easy to use and are the first thing that comes to mind for many people who are having a BBQ. Gas-powered BBQs are ready to cook very quickly and are one of the easiest BBQ to use if you’re going to be grilling every day.

Gas-powered BBQs are also the best option for beginners. It’s much easier to control the temperature on a gas-powered BBQ than a charcoal BBQ or an offset smoker. Depending on the size of your gas-powered BBQ, it’s also the best option if you’re grilling in small or large quantities since you can control the burner sections. 

How to use

As it’s the easiest to use, all you have to do to get a gas-powered BBQ to start is just flick the igniter, just as you would on your stove. You do have to make sure that your BBQ is connected to a gas source. Most gas-powered BBQs use propane, butane, or natural gas.

Once you’ve ignited the burners or sections you’re going to use, close the BBQ and allow it to heat up, then add your food. If your BBQ doesn’t have an igniter, you will have to use a long match or lighter to start the fire. Gas-powered grills take about fifteen to twenty minutes to warm up.

When you’re done, there’s not much waiting for it to cool down; just turn off any switches and close the propane valve. Clean the grill grates while the BBQ is still hot; it’s the easiest to remove any leftover residues while the BBQ is still hot. 

Pros and Cons

Gas-powered BBQs offer many benefits but still have some drawbacks that can be detrimental to your grilling, whether you grill once a month or every day.

If you’re grilling small amounts on your gas-powered BBQ, a big downfall is that the heat won’t be distributed as well as if you’re cooking larger amounts. It also won’t hold onto the heat as well when you open the lid to check on and flip your food. Further, gas also doesn’t burn as hot as other materials like pellets. 

If you’re using natural gas, a plumber will hook up the gas line for your BBQ to your home, which can limit the places where you can grill. Propane tanks are relatively easy to find, but the price of propane has risen dramatically over the past few years.

ProsCons
Easy to use, ready to use within minutes.Don’t get the “wood” flavor a natural BBQ would give.
Accurate temperature measurements.Poor heat retention.
Great for small or large quantities.Limited to natural gas, which reduces where you can grill, or propane, which can be expensive if you’re grilling every day.
Can run out of propane in the middle of cooking.

The Best Gas-Powered BBQ

The Matador BBQ is by far the most popular line of gas-powered BBQs in Australia. They come in various sizes, up to six burners, and can be built into outdoor kitchens. They are known for being easy to clean and have extra safety features for propane tanks. Outdoor kitchen models also have a sink attached to the unit.

Kettle-Style Charcoal BBQ

Kettle-style charcoal BBQs are a little trickier to use than gas-powered grills. Charcoal grills come in all shapes and sizes, usually smaller, and were one of the most popular choices of BBQs before gas-powered grills. The image of the kettle-style charcoal BBQ also comes to mind when thinking about a traditional American BBQ.

The first model for a kettle-style charcoal BBQ came out in 1951, which is still famously known as the Weber. While more difficult to manage the temperature of the coals, kettle-style charcoal BBQs allow you to adjust the height of the grill, so your food can be closer or further from the heat. 

How to use

Using a kettle-style charcoal BBQ isn’t one of the easiest tasks for most people. You can light a kettle-style charcoal BBQ several ways, which can sometimes lead to frustration for some. The best way to light a charcoal grill is to use a few pieces of newspaper and a charcoal chimney. You can also use lump wood as a heat source for your charcoal grill.

Many other people prefer to use lighter fluid and to fan oxygen onto the coals; however, this method can be unreliable. If you put too much lighter fluid onto the coals, you can ruin the quality of the coals. Lighter fluid can also alter the flavor of the food.

Just as lighting a campfire, the charcoal needs to be layered in a specific way to have optimal heat while grilling. You should layer your charcoal in a pyramid or vertically. Utilize the air vents to lower the temperature inside the grill if you find your food is searing too fast.

Pros and Cons

As with many other BBQs, kettle-style charcoal BBQs provide many benefits, depending on how you use them, but those who use this kind of BBQ will quickly tell you that you need patience for lighting, cooking, and temperature management.

While kettle-style charcoal BBQs are versatile, allowing you to cook virtually anything on, you still have to stick to the one thing you’re cooking because it would take a long time to adjust the BBQ temperature if you’re cooking multiple things.

It may also be tempting to use starter logs because they are easy to light. However, they usually contain toxic additives that will leech into your food, which is known to reduce the food’s quality and safety.

ProsCons
The unique charred flavor.It can be tricky to get the temperature right due to a lack of temperature control.
Can cook your food as slow as a slow-cook method for brisket or as fast as searing tuna steaks.Difficult to start. Also, using lighter fluid to start the charcoal can affect the flavor of the food.
You need to be more vigilant of your food because of the direct heat source, and not many charcoal grills come with cooling racks.
Coal is a non-renewable resource, and the biomass options aren’t safe for food.

The Best Kettle-Style Charcoal BBQs

The father of the kettle-style charcoal grill has reigned as the best kettle-style charcoal BBQ since developing the first BBQ in this style. Weber charcoal BBQs are available in various shapes, sizes and even have easy, portable models. Weber also has a line of accessories to make using your BBQ easier.

Electric BBQ

Electric BBQ

Electric BBQs are widely popular for people grilling on balconies in apartments. You can use them indoors too, so if it’s raining outside and you’re craving something cooked on the BBQ, there’s no need to sit outside in the rain to get the meal you want.

How to use

It’s almost as easy as plugging it in and pressing a button! Some older electric BBQ models don’t have many settings, but newer models can also be multifunctioning, allowing you to use them as an air fryer. They even have customizable options depending on what you’re cooking.

Electric grills also have drip trays to catch any juices, leading to an easier cleanup and less residue leftover in your grill.

Pros and Cons

While cooking with an electric grill, it’s important to note that there’s a small learning curve. Most electric grills will come with guides for what temperature to set and for how long to grill whatever you’re BBQing, but cooking times may vary, so you might have to do some guess and check work throughout cooking.

ProsCons
Great for apartments and everyday grilling.Smaller in size, so you can’t BBQ as much.
Can cook virtually anywhere with an outlet.Bigger electric BBQs don’t get hot enough.
A small learning curve, depending on your model and what you’re cooking.
Lose the “grilled” flavor that you would have cooking on almost any other type of BBQ.

The Best Electric BBQs

Weber isn’t only known for its kettle-style charcoal BBQs. They also have one of the most popular lines of electric BBQs. The Weber Q line offers two sizes and has removable and easy-to-clean grease trap pans. They’re also common and accepted on apartment balconies. There’s no need to sacrifice a nice summer BBQ if you don’t have a yard with a Weber electric BBQ.

Pellet Smoker

Pellet smokers have started to rise in popularity in recent years when it comes to smokers. They are known for smoking, grilling, and even acting as an oven. They strictly use wood pellets, so you won’t have to worry about harming the environment or using a non-renewable resource to fuel your BBQ.

Some pellet smokers also offer the option to use direct or indirect heat. Pellet smokers use fans to heat and send smoke from the combustion area into the cooking chamber. 

How to use

Pellet smokers are structurally similar to offset burners; however, pellet smokers have an ignition chamber below the cooking chamber. The burning chamber is also called the hopper. Pellet smokers are often ready to use in as little as ten minutes. 

After you have prepared the pellet smoker, you have to turn it on and then place your food inside the BBQ. 

Pros and cons

Pellet smokers are becoming the choice for smoking meats and BBQ for many reasons. In many cases, they’re far better than other types of BBQs because they’re easier to use, and you don’t have to keep a close eye on your food. They are also quickly ready, and you don’t have to monitor the fuel constantly. 

ProsCons
Easy to use.Require electricity. 
Versatile and can use for grilling, smoking, and baking.Not recommended for use in a wet environment.
Uses wood pellets, a renewable resource.
Easy to control temperature and well insulated, letting you BBQ in cold weather.
You don’t need to monitor or constantly refill the burning chamber.

The Best Pellet Smoker

Weber has a wonderful line of easy-to-use and affordable pellet smokers. They’re sleek in design and easy to move around. Their temperature range also goes higher than the average pellet smoker at six hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Fill the pellet reservoir, set your temperature, and enjoy the party while BBQing on a Weber pellet smoker. 

Offset Smoker / Stick Burner

Offset Smoker / Stick Burner

Offset smokers, and stick burners have a popular design and have surged in popularity over the past decade with BBQ connoisseurs. They are difficult to learn how to master but have a wide variability with the flavor quality depending on what you’re burning to produce the heat. Offset smokers and stick burners are often used for larger meals and cooking for a big crowd.

Offset smokers and stick burners cook the food in a smoking chamber, while to the side of the chamber where the food is placed in a burning chamber that funnels the heat and smoke into the food chamber. This promotes even cooking, and you’ll never have to worry about your food touching the flame directly.

Offset smokers and stick burners have widely become popular in the US because not only do they have a special flavor profile, but they also come in many different shapes and designs that people enjoy renting for parties, such as this one. They’re also very popular with BBQ competitions.

How to use

First, you’d have to figure out what you’re going to use to burn for heat. Many grill masters soak wood chips to burn in a solution to give their food an extra special flavor. Once you have your fuel established, you will light it on fire, close all the lids and the smokestack with the exhaust dampener. 

If you don’t want to use wood, you can also use charcoal. You can also use a combination of coal and wood in the firebox. This only applies to an offset smoker. If you use a stick burner, you must use wood. Grill masters who use stick burners say that burning wood gives the food a cleaner taste than using charcoal or gas.

If you need to lower the temperature inside the smoker, just open up the smokestack. If you need to raise the temperature, add more fuel to the firebox. You should also use water pans inside the cooking chamber to prevent the meat you’re smoking from drying out. 

Additionally, not all smokers come with a drip pan to collect the grease, so if your smoker doesn’t have a grease pan, you should place something under the smoker to catch the excess grease because it is a fire hazard.

Pros and cons

Offset smokers and stick burners are considered some of the most difficult BBQs to use because of the learning curve associated with them. 

These BBQs also retain heat extremely well due to being made with thick steel. 

ProsCons
Excellent heat retention.Not easy to use.
Versatile flavor profile.It wouldn’t be a BBQ to use every other day.
You don’t need to risk lowering the BBQ temperature by opening the cooking chamber constantly to check the flame.Heavy and can be difficult to move.
It takes a longer time to cook.
Need to maintain and watch the flame and add wood throughout cooking.
Higher start-up costs.

Kamado BBQ

Kamado BBQ

Kamado grills are charcoal grills invented in Japan that are made of ceramic shells shaped like an egg. Kamado grills are also known to be used not only for BBQing and smoking but also for baking and making pizzas.

You can use wood or charcoal as fuel for your kamado BBQ, so you get that grill flavor. Kamado grills also have the added benefit of being sealed the tightest compared to other BBQs, so your food stays moist and juicy. 

How to use

When arranging the coal or wood, make sure that it’s in a pyramid shape. This will ensure your Kamado BBQ will be cooking efficiently. It takes about fifteen to thirty minutes to heat up this type of BBQ. You can also slow cook or sear your food in a Kamado BBQ.

Kamado BBQs are relatively easy to learn how to use, but initially, they can be difficult when controlling the temperature. These BBQs hold onto heat very well, so you can quickly overcook your food. A basic rule of thumb for controlling the heat in a Kamado BBQ is similar to any other BBQ; you let more air in, the cooler the BBQ will get. 

Pros and cons

Kamado BBQs have recently gained popularity due to their versatility, ease of use, and ability to be used in the winter, which isn’t as important in Australia since winters tend to be milder.

ProsCons
Great for barbecuing in cold weather due to ceramic insulation.It takes some time to learn how to control the temperature.
Versatile in cooking styles.Heavy, so they’re difficult to move.
It retains heat better than metal BBQs.Take a long time to cool down. 
Difficult to cook multiple things in at different temperatures.

Infrared BBQ

Infrared BBQs are newer to the market than most mentioned. It works similarly to a gas grill because it uses some form of gas to get started. However, instead of flames cooking your food, a ceramic tile is heated with an infrared element or a glass panel, which will then cook the food. This way, your food never has to touch a flame.

Infrared BBQs are better than gas-powered BBQs because they contain the heat better, and they’re better than charcoal BBQs because they have significantly better temperature control. They also retain the moisture in the food better than a gas-powered or charcoal BBQ.

How to use

Infrared BBQs are easy to start up. You should coat the grates with high-heat oil, such as canola oil, to prevent your food from sticking. After that, simply turn on the grill and pre-heat it on high. It should take about ten to fifteen minutes to heat up. 

If you want a smoky flavor, most models have space where you can add wood pellets between the cooking grates.

Pros and cons

Even though infrared grills are becoming increasingly popular, they aren’t the best on the market. They require more vigilance than most gas grills. However, they are safer to use than cooking over an open flame, so you won’t have to worry about flare-ups.

ProsCons
Heats up very fast.Easy to burn food if the temperature gets too high. 
Smokeless.Expensive to buy and replace parts.
Less likely to have a flare-up.Many designs can be difficult to clean.

The Best Infrared BBQs

Ziegler and Brown have a versatile line of infrared BBQs through their Turbo series. They are one of the most efficient designs for infrared BBQs on the market, using radiant quartz technology (RQT). You can even have your infrared grill hooked up to your house, just like a normal gas BBQ.

Conclusion

In the thousands of years that BBQing has existed, we have come a long way with discovering different BBQing methods. Before purchasing a BBQ, it is essential to know the type of BBQ you want to purchase and your commitment to learning, and your desired outcome.

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