How to choose the perfect barbecue

Whether you’ve got a spacious deck, compact courtyard or a petite balcony, there’s a barbecue that’s just right for you.

Bunnings magazine, August 2020

Everyone loves a barbecue – it’s a sociable way of cooking that draws us outside and creates a sense of occasion. When choosing a barbecue, think about your cooking style, the size of your space and whether you’ll be catering for a crowd. Read on to find your perfect match.

Fuel up

Barbecues can be categorised into three fuel types: gas, charcoal or electric. Your choice should include consideration of your cooking needs and styles, the barbecue’s location (backyard or balcony) and your fuel options. For speed and convenience, choose an electric or gas model. If you’re prepared to wait for it to heat up, a charcoal barbecue can impart a lovely unique smoky flavour.

It’s also a good idea to factor in the cost of fuel when choosing your barbecue – bags of charcoal can add up compared with an electric barbecue which, as long as you can access an outdoor power outlet, has the added benefit of never running out of fuel mid-cook. If opting for gas, plumbed natural gas can be cost effective for a built-in outdoor kitchen; alternatively, LPG bottles give you the flexibility to move the barbecue around.

Small options

If you have limited outdoor space, first measure up where you plan to position the barbecue, allowing for generous ventilation and clearance from flammable materials. If setting up on a balcony, you’ll also need to check relevant regulations with your body corporate or local council. Then look for a model to suit the space and situation – portable and tabletop barbecues can be taken with you if you move. Trolley-style models often include storage for gas bottles underneath and fixed or fold-down side shelves to keep cooking accessories and serving plates at hand. Another small-space solution is a domed kettle barbecue, with models like the Matador Radiant Pro a touch over 700mm in length. Charcoal barbecues do tend to produce more smoke than gas models, so consider how it may affect your neighbours. They may not be permitted on balconies. 

Family friendly

When shopping for a family barbecue, the first question is how many people you’ll cook for. While a model with two or three burners will comfortably cater for a small family of up to four people, a more popular choice is one with four burners (two under the plate and two under the grill). This size enables you to cook for four to six people and offers more flexibility in cooking styles.
Other considerations include whether to opt for a freestanding or built-in model, and which features and accessories will be most useful for your cooking needs. A rangehood viewing window allows you to check food without constantly lifting the lid, and a side burner is great for cooking an array of vegie dishes. An accessory like a rotisserie kit can make your weekend roast an alfresco affair.


The entertainer

If you have plenty of space and love to host a crowd, go big. The largest barbecue on the market is a six burner, yet you can still produce a feast on a four burner with additional side or back burners. For a fully equipped outdoor cooking set-up, consider a barbecue kitchen. The Jumbuck ‘Stardom’ kitchen is a budget-friendly, four-burner option and includes storage, wok burner and a sink. If you’re looking for extra luxuries, premium models like the six-burner Matador ‘Boss’ kitchen come with a granite benchtop, self-cleaning hood, soft-close drawers, internal gas bottle storage, cupboards and a sink.

To add smoked meats to your repertoire and impress guests with a slow-cooked brisket, consider a barbecue with smoker attachment – or a smoker box – which is an accessory that can often be used with an existing barbecue to infuse food with a delicious smoky flavour.

Camping companions

Even when you’re away from home, you can still enjoy a barbecue feast, with portable models designed for camping or a picnic in the park. The Everdure by Heston Blumenthal ‘CUBE’ charcoal barbecue combines good looks with functionality and portability, and offers an authentic charcoal cooking experience. For gas, a small burner with a collapsible frame that can be easily packed into the car is the best option. Just keep in mind the petite proportions of these barbecues limit the quantity of food you can cook at any one time – they’re perfect for a few, yet larger groups will have to wait for enough sausages to go round. 

Looking for a smoker?

Follow this guide on how to choose a smoker

Photo Credit: James Moffatt, Matador 

More D.I.Y. Advice

smoke 02:36

BBQ How to choose a smoker We’ve got all the tips about our different types of smokers to help you decide which is the one for you.

american style beef brisket 01:49

BBQ How to smoke brisket When it comes to smoked meats, American beef brisket is the holy grail of the low and slow movement. Tender, full of flavour and super easy to make, beef brisket is cut from the beef flank and a cut above. This is one of those crowd-pleaser dishe...

kettle bbq

BBQ How to use smoking chips Smoking chips are one of the easiest ways to introduce that delicious smoky flavour to your barbecuing. We’ll take you through some of the basics to help you introduce smoking chips to your repertoire.

smoke chicken 01:23

BBQ How to smoke chicken The great thing about smoking chicken is it only takes half the time of large cuts of meat like brisket and pork. Less time smoking means more time eating and more time watching people delight in the food you’ve made.

pellet smoker and bunnings team member 00:56

BBQ How to use a pellet smoker A pellet smoker makes smoking a bit easier by automatically feeding wood pellets from the hopper into the fire. That’s right, a pellet smoker feeds itself, so you can focus on feeding everyone else. It’s easy to maintain an even cooking temperature ...

eye fillet cooked on a smoker 01:02

BBQ How to reverse sear an eye fillet steak After cooking this mouth-watering juicy eye fillet steak, you might find your backyard smoker becoming a neighbourhood tourist attraction. A reverse seared eye fillet is one of those cuts that no matter how you cook it, people will still say “well d...

smoker pulled pork 01:53

BBQ How to smoke pulled pork When people notice pulled pork’s on the menu, they don’t bother reading further. While it may take a little longer to cook than your average meal, you’ll be rewarded with a delicious feast guaranteed to please your guests. Follow our simple recipe ...

Smoked Salmon 01:21

BBQ How to smoke salmon Smoked salmon is a great dish to start your smoking adventure if you’re a beginner. Unlike other smoked dishes it doesn’t take all day to cook, but just like other smoked dishes it does taste amazing!

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
Top of the content