Nothing says ‘summer’ like a good BBQ, but with so many different types out there, how can you find the right one for you?

Whether you’re cooking under the stars, in the backyard or on a balcony, there are different BBQs available for every occasion. Here are our tips for choosing the right one.

For family get-togethers

Before you decide on a BBQ for your backyard, it’s important to know there are different fuel types: gas, charcoal and electric.

Gas BBQs are the best option for backyard and family dos, as they are relatively easy to use, ignite quickly and cook food faster. They are also generally less expensive to use than other BBQ options and much easier to clean.

Charcoal BBQs can also be used for this purpose, but they do take a lot longer to prepare and about 20-30 minutes to fully get hot. They also tend to get quite messy, as the coals need to be cleaned out after each use. On the plus side, the charcoal does give your food a delicious smoky, char grilled flavour.

Electric BBQs need to be placed near a power point, so they’re probably best suited to a small courtyard or balcony.

Once you’ve determined what fuel type is best suited to your situation, you’ll need to determine what size BBQ you’ll need.

If you’re cooking for a large family, you can judge the amount a BBQ can cater for by the number of burners. Two burners will easily cater for up to four people or you can get serious with six or eight burners. You can also get extras and add on things like side burners, if you need more cooking space.

For the balcony

If you’ve got a balcony or a small courtyard, an electric BBQ is a great choice. Electric BBQs are relatively cheap to run, but need to be located near a power point. They heat up fairly quickly, but don’t get quite as hot as gas or charcoal BBQs – so it’s probably best not to cook a roast on it.

You could also use a small gas BBQ on your balcony; however you will need to check the by-laws for your complex as many do have restrictions. It may be a good idea to check with your neighbours as well, as they may not enjoy the smell of bacon in the morning as much as you do.

You will also need to make sure your balcony is well ventilated. And never, ever store your gas bottles indoors.

On the move

Enjoying a hot meal under the stars is often one of the best things about camping, and that’s why portable BBQs are great for these sorts of trips and outdoor adventures. They’re also really good for those hot summer days at the beach when there are no public BBQs available.

Portable BBQs come in both gas and charcoal fuel types.

Portable gas BBQs are a luxury camping item, they’re easy to travel with and quick to assemble. They also heat up fairly quickly, which is great for a quick meal when you’re out and about.

If you’re after more of that camp fire feel, portable charcoal BBQs are a great option and give your food an incredible smoky flavour.  Although charcoal does take quite a lot of time to heat up, and if it’s a windy day, it may be hard to keep the flame going.

For the aspiring chef

If you’re an aspiring chef, love creating masterpieces in the kitchen or just want to cook something other than steaks and snags on the barbie, then a hooded BBQ is for you.

These days you can get hooded BBQs that can roast, bake, steam and smoke. How does pork roast, baked potatoes, steamed vegies and smoked garlic for dinner, sound? You can even use them to bake cakes!

But if that’s not enough for you, you can also get extras like a rotisserie for a pig on the spit, side burners for cooking stir-fries, built-in thermometers, hood lights and even glass windows to check on your cooking.

If you really want to get serious, you could always get an outdoor kitchen. Made for the big occasions, an outdoor kitchen has everything you would find in a luxury kitchen, with up to eight burners, marble bench tops, storage, sinks, side burners and rotisseries. Yikes!