What type of BBQ is best for your garden?

From pellet smokers to Japanese Kamado-style BBQ grills, we’re exploring the different types on sale in the UK and asking which is best for your garden…

Here at Lazy Susan, we currently have all our fingers and toes crossed for a good summer - No rain and lots of sunshine, please! Yes, that means we can sell lots of garden furniture, but it also means we can get out on our patios and fire up our grills. Barbecues are the best way of getting friends and families together and enjoying some great freshly cooked food at our garden tables.

Barbecue, or BBQ for short, has become increasingly popular in the UK over the last 30 years. Traditionally associated with American cuisine, we have now embraced barbecue culture, and whilst we have much to learn and a challenging climate, outdoor grilling is now a common feature of the great British summertime.

Leading market research company, Mordor Intelligence™ estimates that the UK BBQ market is worth around £167 million, stating in their latest report that:

“The UK Barbecue Grill Market size is estimated to be worth around USD 0.21 billion in 2024, and is expected to reach USD 0.25 billion by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 3.70% during the forecast period (2024-2029).”

We’ve certainly seen a rise in BBQ-centric TV shows over the last few years or so too, with British chefs like Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthal and James Martin all promoting outdoor cooking in their outdoor kitchens. Not to mention the fact we’ve seen an influx of both supermarket and artisanal seasoning, sauces, rubs, and marinades that are further helping popularise a host of new grilling techniques and flavours.

Of course, the unpredictability of our climate can make things tricky. However, at the same time maybe that’s what makes us really appreciate the time we do get to spend in our gardens during the summer. It also allows us the opportunity to cook food that just isn’t the same when cooked inside. The "quadrillage" as the French call it and smokey flavour, for example - from traditional burgers and sausages to more adventurous dishes like smoked ribs and brisket - is just best achieved with a BBQ.

We've also seen, and rightly so, a big shift towards the use of locally sourced and high-quality ingredients in the UK, which has extended to the barbecue as well. Leading chefs and BBQ enthusiasts alike take great pride in using locally sourced produce to create flavourful dishes. Yes, we might not have the same historical roots as our friends over the pond, but it has certainly gained widespread popularity and become an integral part of British food culture.

What are the different types of BBQ?

What are the different types of BBQ?

If you’re new to barbecue or in the market to up your grill game, the big question we’re left asking is "What type of grill is best for your garden?" From pellet smokers to Kamado-style grills, the choice can be a little overwhelming. They all come with their own unique features and cooking methods - some are better for one style of cooking, others for another.

The top 10 best-selling types of BBQ grills on sale in the UK today are as follows:

  1. Charcoal
    Charcoal grills use charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal as their primary fuel source. They give the classic smokey barbecue flavour, are affordable, and are loved by enthusiasts for that authentic taste and classic experience.

  2. Gas
    Gas grills are powered by propane or natural gas. They offer convenience, quick ignition, and simple temperature control. Gas grills are popular for their ease of use, lower maintenance and efficient cooking.

  3. Electric
    Electric grills use electricity to generate heat for cooking. They are suitable for indoor and outdoor use and are easy to clean and maintain. Many purists will argue that, while practical, they lack the smell and flavour of the real thing. That said, this is a market that is improving and developing.

  4. Pellet
    Pellet grills use wood pellets for fuel, and they deliver a distinct wood-fired flavour to food. Jack Daniels oak barrel smoking woodchips anyone? With this type of grill you get a consistent temperature and versatility, allowing you to smoke, grill, roast, and even bake.

  5. Offset
    Offset smokers have a separate firebox attached to the side of the cooking chamber. They produce indirect heat and smoke, so they are perfect for low and slow-cooking large cuts of meat. Offset smokers are the go-to choice of barbecue purists looking for authentic Texas-style BBQ.

  6. Kamado
    Japanese Kamado grills are made from a ceramic material and feature a round, often egg-shaped design. They are highly versatile and highly efficient at retaining heat.

  7. Portable
    Portable grills are compact and lightweight, making them the perfect solution for camping, picnics, or for those with limited outdoor space. They come in various fuel types, including charcoal, gas, and electric, and provide a convenient on-the-go solution.

  8. Vertical
    Vertical smokers are a serious bit of kit. They have multiple racks for cooking food vertically and are designed for slow smoking at low temperatures, making them ideal for producing tender and flavourful classic Texas-style barbecue.

  9. Barrel
    Barrel smokers, also known as drum smokers, are constructed from steel barrels. They feature a cylindrical shape with a lid on top and offer ample cooking space. Also popular among barbecue enthusiasts, their simplicity and effectiveness in producing delicious smoked meats make them a great DIY alternative to Offset and Vertical smokers.

  10. Infrared
    Infrared grills are the new kid on the block and they use infrared technology to produce intense heat. This results in faster cooking times and evenly seared food, and while they are on the pricey side, they are one of the best types of grill for achieving restaurant-quality sear marks on veg, fish and meat.

The tricky part now is deciding which is the best for your garden... Do you have a particular style of barbecue you enjoy cooking or would an all-rounder/combination-style grill be a better solution?

How do you choose a new barbecue grill?

How do you choose a new barbecue grill?

The best type of barbecue for your garden depends on various factors, including your cooking preferences, the available free space in your garden or on your patio area, your budget, and the level of cooking and/or cleaning convenience you’re looking for.

To help you decide, consider the following criteria, much of which, funnily enough, applies to shopping for new garden furniture too:

  1. Space
    How much free space do you have in your for the grill? Measure and check the dimensions before you buy. If you have a small garden or patio, a compact grill like a portable gas or charcoal grill might be more suitable. For larger gardens, you could opt for a freestanding gas grill with a smoker.

  2. Fuel
    Establish which fuel type you prefer based on convenience, flavour, and availability. Charcoal grills provide the traditional smokey flavour but require more time and effort to light and maintain. Gas grills offer convenience, quick ignition, and precise temperature control.

  3. Cooking
    Consider your cooking style and the types of food you enjoy grilling. If you like slow-cooked barbecue ribs or brisket, then a barrel or offset smoker might be the best choice. If you prefer to grill burgers, steaks, and veg, then the speed and convenience of a gas or charcoal grill is the way to go.

  4. Versatility
    Many modern grills offer the versatility of combined cooking capabilities, allowing you to grill, smoke, roast, and bake all in one unit. The better pellet and gas grills also offer greater versatility and the ability to handle a wide range of cooking techniques.

  5. Budget
    Determine your budget for purchasing a barbecue grill. Prices vary dramatically depending on the type, size, brand, and features of the grill. Consider your budget and look for a barbecue grill that offers you a combination of features, durability and value for money.

  6. Durability
    Speaking of durability, it is important in our opinion to purchase a barbecue grill that is made with high-quality materials that can withstand outdoor elements and frequent use. You can buy it cheaper but watch how quickly it rusts. Look for materials like coated or stainless steel with cast iron or porcelain-coated grates.

  7. Maintenance 
    One many overlook but it is important to consider the ease of cleaning and maintenance. Some grill types will require significantly more upkeep than others. Gas, electric and infrared grills can be cleaned much like you would an oven inside the home. Pellet and charcoal grills have the addition of a burnt waste material so they can be a little on the messy side. However, regardless of grill type, it's essential to clean it regularly to ensure its longevity and optimal cooking performance.

  8. Storage
    As well as fit in your garden, it is also important to consider where you will store your grill? If you want to pop it away in a shed or garage, you also need to measure the space where you plan to put it. If you plan to store your grill outdoors, look for one that is built to withstand the elements and invest in a good quality grill cover to protect it from the rain, etc.

At the end of the day, the best type of barbecue grill for your garden is one that meets your cooking needs, fits your outdoor space, and aligns with your budget. Take the time to research the different options, shop around, and read consumer reviews before making a decision.

Our final thoughts on what type of BBQ is best for the UK?

Our final thoughts on what type of BBQ is best for the UK?

As we’ve already touched on, as much as we love a barbecue here in the UK, we can’t ignore our less-than-perfect climate. When choosing a grill for the UK, as well as the criteria above, we also think it is important to purchase one that is well-suited to our 4-seasons-in-one-day climate and the type of outdoor lifestyle we tend to have.

Given our inclement weather, it is important to choose a barbecue grill that is made from durable and weather-resistant materials. And while not always a necessity, easy movement (i.e. on wheels or easy to pick up) can be beneficial, especially if you need to move the grill to a sheltered part of the garden in bad weather or store it indoors when you’re not using it.

The two best-selling types of grill are the gas and charcoal. Gas is popular due to its convenience, quick ignition, and precise temperature control, which can be particularly helpful if there’s a passing summer shower. However, charcoal grills give that authentic smokey flavour that makes grilled food taste great.

If you’re looking for something a little more versatile, then the Japanese Kamado-style grills are the latest outdoor cooking trend. They offer a wide range of cooking options, meaning you can grill, smoke, roast, and even bake your food. They’re a little more expensive than the average gas grill, and they can be tricky to master cooking-wise, but they pack a lot of punch into a small appliance. Plus, once you get used to them, the flexibility of these ceramic egg-shaped beauties will have you cooking everything from low and slow to wok-style-high-heat-sears.

For the team here at Lazy Susan, we think the best type of BBQ grill for your garden is the one that gets you outside in the sunshine, cooking tasty nutritious food, and enjoying good company at your garden table. Look for a grill that meets your specific needs and preferences. Take a little time to research the different options and consider the factors we listed above such as durability, size, fuel type, versatility, etc before making your final purchase decision.

If you have any photos of your Lazy Susan Garden Furniture at your next family barbecue, we’d love to see a few for our Do Some Good charity campaign. You can tag us @LazySusanFurniture on Instagram or Facebook or Upload Here.

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