“ Brand: BeefEater / Type: Barbecue „
I seem to have picked a great Summer to decide to finally invest in a gas bbq; I've been really pleased with this, my choice after quite a lot of time spent looking for the perfect appliance. This two burner bbq is solid, has plenty of cooking space for a family of four and a few guests, and we've found it produces great results every time. I paid £128 for it from my local garden centre, it's currently retailing for £314 on the Beef Eater site, the company (not to be confused with the restaurants), is an Australian manufacturer - they say they are the largest bbq makers in Australia, the brand is perhaps less known here than Weber or Outback but if my experience is anything to go by they produce quality bbq's with some great features.......and rather rubbish assembly instructions. Overall though I've been really impressed with my bbq in the time that I have owned it.
Out of the Box:
The bbq came in a rather big box that definitely didn't fit into my Ford Fiesta boot, but was easily transported in a Focus, and contained instructions for assembly and some info on use and care, as well as a three year warranty. The bbq is pretty well as pictured, although mine has two side shelves and not the burner - the photo is of the deluxe 2 burner 900 series and not the classic as per this category. The dimensions by my measurements are 130cm wide from shelf end to shelf end, 54 cm deep and 120cm high, there's a cooking area of about 47cm by 47cm.
I'm not going to lie assembling the bbq was a total nightmare. Although the hood and burner part came assembled, adding the legs (in two parts), the shelves and the wheels was not easy, intuitive or well explained. Part of the issue was the fact that there was no indication which way round to have the legs and also there were a lot of bolts and screws. Once made, in approximately one and a half hours, by two adults and two increasingly hungry child onlookers, the bbq is reassuringly solid and the build quality is excellent, and far better than other non-branded gas bbq's that I had looked at in stores whilst hunting down this one.
What you get:
The bbq has two parts to it, half the cooking area is a reversible enamel plate with one ridged and one flat side, and the other half is a traditional grill, again in coated black enamel. The more open grill has a "vaporizer" under it - more about this later. There's a warming rack for cooked food and also a hood so that you can get an oven effect as well as cooking on the grills. The ignition requires no batteries, and there is, as you would expect, a safety valve to connect to the gas. The gas cylinder and can be stored on the shelf at the bottom which has a removable velcro "door" on it, assuming you buy a smaller bottle of gas and not the patio size that I did. It's not the most beautiful of items as you would expect but everything is fairly compact and there are nice features like reassuringly chunky wheels, one fixed pair and one rotating pair. This means wheeling the bbq around for, say, storage, a breeze. You can also purchase a cover and rotisserie add on for this item, along with a number of cooking tools.
We're Cooking on Gas:
Despite being new to gas bbq's I've found this item amazingly easy to use. Once you have turned the ignition on the right burner control, which has worked every time for me, and then added the left one you are good to go. For best results it is recommended to leave the bbq ten minutes before cooking. I've found that doing this does mean that food sears more quickly and so doesn't stick as much to the enamel coated grills. It's great to have two different ways of cooking - prawns on skewers and steaks seem to work best on the griddle, while sausages are cooked to perfection on the grill side. The vaporizer under the grill is supposed to evaporate fat and juices back onto the meat for improved flavour - I'm not sure whether this is an essential feature but in any case though the food is somewhat lacking that bbq taste I used to get from using a charcoal kettle grill, this is more than made up for in my opinion by the fact that it's far easier to regulate the temperature and ensure food is cooked through thoroughly.
I do find the bbq heats up to 220 degrees (according to the dial on the hood) quite quickly, and it's really easy to see how hot the cooking area is. I tend to cook with the hood down a lot, so appreciate having a hefty handle to lift and see my food. There does seem to be a "hot spot" on the grill, to the middle, but I don't find this a problem when cooking, and also we don't seem to get flame flare ups with this bbq, meaning I feel happy to cook quality steak on it as much as sausages and hamburgers for the kids. You do have to make sure you don't place food too far to the side or fat seems to escape the drip tray and go straight to the bottom shelf, but again this is a minor niggle. Overall cooking with this is, on the scale of cooking with a bbq, a pleasure and we have been surprised quite how often we have used it. The removable plates/grills are relatively easy to keep clean (they are not dishwasher safe), but again they seem to be of good quality, and the whole thing has been well made from the cast iron burners, to the solid knobs and the extremely tough and practical shelves - I don't miss having a side burner as I don't feel the need to heat beans or onions on this, and it's more than adequate for catering to our needs. This bbq does seem to be entry level for this company - you can spend thousands on a built in bbq or one similar to this with more burners, this is more than adequate for most people's use I would say and we've had several parties with it and found that it has coped well.
As you can probably tell I'm delighted with my purchase; I really love cooking and this is up to the task with no compromises at all. It would seem churlish to remove a star for the poor instructions, given that I'm sure this will last years and that it's just so well designed and built, and in real life just oozes the quality that the others I'd seen for this price range, particularly those with a celebrity chef's name attached to them did not. We've had a lot of pleasure and good food from this, and currently I guess you could say we are living the Australian dream! I highly recommend this bbq.