“ Brand: B and Q / Type: Gas Barbecue / Push-Button Ignition / Type: Barbecue „
2 years ago, we decided we should host a family barbecue for my son's 1st birthday with one slight dilemna. We didn't own a barbecue, and we didn't have a lot of money to buy one as I had just gone back to work after maternity leave.
So, we had a good idea that we wanted a gas barbecue. Charcoal ones are ok, but they are a lot harder work especially when you are catering for a larger party. We once managed to keep one lit for over 12 hours at a student barbecue party, but it required constant watching, and cooking smaller amounts of food at a time, and we didn't feel it completely practical.
As well as catering for our party, it also needed to be suitable for us to use on a more regular basis as a small family of 4.
If money were no object, I think we would have gone for one of the Outback models, but this Westpoint model from B and Q is comparable on some of the features, if not the overall quality and price.
This is a fairly good model in my eyes, as it has attractive features, and is always on sale it seems during the summer months. Currently on the web site it is advertised as £99, reduced from £130, and this is comparable to what we paid 2 years ago.
It is 105cm tall, 125 cm wide and 59 cm in depth. It is a good height for standing at to cook.
One side has wheels, while the other side has legs. At 33Kg in weight, this helps us to manouvere it around the decking to where we want to cook.
On either side there is a small shelf so you have somewhere to put your raw meat in a dish on one side, and then cooked food can be kept seperately on the opposite side of the cooking area. This is really important to me as I worry about food hygiene when cooking outdoors.
The cooking surface is fairly generous. There is a metal plate on one side, and then a grill section on the other half of the surface. This gets sufficiently hot to cook food well. When it is done you then have a warming rack which is a narrow shelf like a cooling rack, but it keeps your food warm in the heat above the barbecue without further cooking. This helps when serving larger groups as you can get some food ready, cook the next batch and then tell people to start getting food. It is also useful when it is just us as my husband cooks us all a burger and sausage each. Myself and the kids don't eat that quickly, so we leave the food there till we are ready to eat it.
The hood is very useful. If we turn the grill off but still want to keep food warm, we can keep the lid down to keep heat in. This also stops any bugs going near. As a bonus, it protects the grill surface in poor weather.
There is a push button ignition system, so it is not tricky to light it and turn it off. The gas useage hasn't been overly excessive. We don't have a barbecue every week, but we will have maybe one per fortnight during the summer months, and we haven't had to change the bottle as yet. My hubbie reckons the gas bottle might last longer than the barbecue.
One thing that has let this barbecue down appears to be a common fault based upon the reviews on B and Qs own website. While we have covered the barbecue with a plastic cover when not in use, and the outer body has remained rust free, the cooking plates inside have not fared very well from use. We have not used any harsh cleaners on them. Mostly my husband will brush off the burnt debris with a B and Q barbecue brush. When the plates then cool down they are wiped over with a soapy cloth as we would wash oven trays and racks inside. I have never used anything stronger than washing up liquid and water.
They have become quite rusty and unattractive in appearance. But, the worst problem is the metal plate has actually got a crack in it which gets a little bigger each time we use it. We looked into buying some new ones thinking it would be a simple matter of going into B and Q and getting some, seems though they are the only stockist of the range. However, they don't sell them anymore.
I have seen some online, so I think we will need to invest about £40 into buying some new ones pretty soon.
Overall, I would say that if we get 3 summers use out of them, and then have to do some replacement of the cooking plates, this can't be that bad for £100. While it isn't the best situation, it has certainly outlasted its warranty. If we wanted outback quality, we could have spent a lot more money and bought an outback barbecue for several hundred pounds more. As it is, we can't complain really.
An ideal barbecue to cater for between 6 - 8 people (I think we have managed nearer 20 on a couple of occasions with additions of jacket spuds, bread buns and salad.) I feel we spent what money we had well. If we needed to replace it, we would probably buy the same model.