Summer is the time for outdoor socialising and there’s nothing better than getting everybody over for a barbecue in the sunshine. But when chances to cook outdoors are limited it's all to easy to get stuck in a grilling rut, relying on the same food favourites every time.
There's where we can help. We've got a few ideas to revitalise your barbecue menu, as well as advice on caring for it to get the best out of your grill season after season.
Not bought your barbecue yet? Check out our buying guide for help picking the perfect model for you.
There are some absolute must-have items that every enthusiastic barbecue chef needs. Cooking and serving tools are pretty universal, regardless of what type of barbecue you have or how epic the al fresco feast will be. From tongs to spatulas, forks to digital thermometers, these utensils help with everything from flipping burgers to serving sausages. They're incredibly versatile, ready to use with different foods and cooking jobs and we have a selection of them to help. Browse our range.
Don't waste time waiting for the fire to light when you're busy entertaining guests. We offer lighting gel and firelighters that can start a coal barbecue quickly, conveniently and safely. Check out our Instant Light Charcoal Bag which gets going with a single match and there's no need for a firelighter – you don’t even have to open the bag.
Another easy way to get perfectly lit coals glowing quickly is to use a chimney starter (pictured, front). This is a clever metal can fitted with a wire rack inside and a handle on the outside. Simply fill the space above the rack with charcoal or briquettes and place scrunched-up newspaper or a couple of lighter cubes beneath the rack. Light the newspaper and then once the charcoal or briquettes are covered in a light ash, safely pick up the chimney starter by the handle and distribute the coals on your barbecue.
We love the delicious taste of barbecued food, but why stop there? Ramp up the flavour further with a smoke box (pictured), smoking chamber or smoker.
Smoke boxes are compact metal containers that sit on top of the grill. Simply fill with wood chips, place on top of the grill and then close the lid to help all the smoky flavour gently infuse the food. Coat the wood chips in your favourite marinade for a personal touch that adds more zing.
Smoking chambers use a similar technique, albeit the food itself is also placed in the chamber - great for smoking fish and seafood.
Alternatively, consider investing in a gas barbecue with built-in smoker, such as the Charbroil The Big Easy Smoker 1 Burner Gas Barbecue. This gas barbecue is a smoker, roaster and grill all in one and comes with plenty of accessories to help achieve mouth-watering meals.
Introduce the flavours and aromas of your garden with some home-grown, hearty herbs. Woody varieties, like rosemary, thyme and sage, work brilliantly with barbecues. Store these herbs when cutting them back and then add them to the charcoal barbecue for some extra (and free) flavour. The woody stems will burn quickly, so keep adding them to help the flavour infuse the food, while the heady aromas will also be sure to delight your guests.
You can even use fresh herbs to create your own basting brush. Make your own by cutting a few five to ten centimetre (cm) sprigs of a hearty herb and tie it together with kitchen twine or string. Simply dip into your favourite sauces or marinades and then baste the food while grilling.
For more on growing herbs, head to our how to article.
Get cooking quickly thanks to our hot plate-style plancha grills. These offer a flat surface so there's no need to worry about food slipping through - ideal for delicate and flaky foods like vegetables and fish.
We offer them in two styles - a plate that is added to your existing grill or a standalone barbecue. The plates are made from cast iron so retain all the heat from the flames, while the gas barbecues reach cooking heat super fast and with a consistent, even and precise heat across the entire flat surface of the grill. The barbecues also drain any fat away from the cooking food into an easy-to-clean mug making planchas a great choice for healthy summer meals.
Don't waste a mouthful with a grill basket, grill topper or pan. Like planchas, these tools prevent small items from slipping through the grill and can also be used to create whole dishes too. Why not try slices of cooked potato and asparagus layered with basil, or Thai fish fillets marinated with lime leaves and lemongrass?
Looking for more bite-size barbecue food? Prepare and enjoy grilled meat and vegetables kebabs with our range of skewer sets. Choose between reusable stainless steel multipacks of six and disposable bamboo sets of 50. We love the Blooma Skewers with Wooden Handle - a stylish choice for al fresco cooking.
Soak bamboo skewers in water before hitting the grill to help prevent them from crisping up on the barbecue. A long soak overnight works best, but aim for at least 30 minutes for the water to work its magic.
Burgers are always a barbecue favourite and there are so many different types available. Keep everyone happy with the Charbroil Double Barbecue Hamburger Press. This nifty kitchen gadget helps you to create consistently-shaped burgers two at a time - perfect when feeding the hungry hordes. Put your spin on traditional beef patties or experiment with tofu, vegetables or pulled pork to put your personal spin on this popular classic.
Cleaning up after your barbecue is never fun, but we believe that it doesn’t have to be a chore with the right tools. Our brushes will do most of the hard work for you. Use wire brushes to clean the grill when it has cooled down and occasionally clean the inside of the barbecue with soapy water to remove grease.
For stubborn burnt-on food and grease, pick up a barbecue cleaning spray. The Jeyes Barbecue Cleaning Spray also kills E. coli, listeria and salmonella for anti-bacterial protection.
Before adding food to the barbecue, brush or spray the grates with a non-stick spray or a little olive oil to keep the food from sticking – it will cut down on your cleaning time afterwards. Be sure to do so away from the barbecue or before it's lit.
If you’re going to store your barbecue outside, a water-repellent barbecue cover is a simple, yet effective way to protect it from the rain. Remember that most covers are unique to particular models and sizes for a perfect fit, so be sure to make a note of this before you buy. And only use the cover once the barbecue has cooled down completely.