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Best BBQ in 2021 – Buying Guide and Top Picks

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Barbecuing is a strange phenomenon. No matter how good, bad, fanatical or disinterested anyone is in the kitchen, nearly everyone loves the idea of a BBQ.

The flames, the aromas, the inherently social side to gathering friends in the garden for drinks and grilled meat are universally appealing.

That being said, disastrous results are commonplace, and a large majority of barbecues probably never get used to their full potential.

In fairness to most aspiring grill chefs out there, our ever-changing, unpredictable weather doesn’t lend itself to pre-planning such outdoor culinary activities.

Nonetheless, as with all things cooking – our appetite for barbecuing, including smoking, roasting, beer can chicken, and the like – is growing also in Europe.

The growing desire for more than a burnt sausage and some suspiciously pink chicken is a good thing to our minds. The variety of cooking methods BBQs offer and their flavors can result in a fantastic dining experience.

best bbq

Of course, there is also the pure and primal lure of cooking over open flame as hundreds of generations have done so before us.

Perhaps this apparent simplicity of flame grilling makes it seem so easy and prevents many of us from looking past simply chucking things on a grill. Yet the barbecue can offer infinitely more.

Some of the earliest written mentions of BBQs are in the bible and, while I don’t suggest getting any tips from there. I have found that a couple of really good barbecue books are worth their weight in gold when it comes to really get the most out of any of the models I’ve tested.

I already considered myself a proficient griller, of course. Still, a couple of good barbecuing books offer some additional invaluable information.

From the basics such as the hand test for the cooking temperature to zonal cooking, methods of smoking and slow cooking, and all manner of other hints and tips that aim to get the best out of this most appealing of ways to cook your food.

The Char-Broil Kettleman is a Kettle-style BBQ, as the name suggests. This means you can slow-roast food as well as the usual grilling.

Char Broil TRU Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill 22.5 Inch

Its inventive grill helps prevent fat from dripping back onto the coals, effectively eliminating flare-ups and preventing your food from burning on the outside. It’s well-made too, easy to clean and produces great-looking and -tasting food.

If you’ve got $150 to spend on a BBQ, then this is one to buy.

2. Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch

Weber is among the most well-known makers of kettle-style BBQs in the world. That means two things for you.

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill

Prices are highly competitive between retailers, so this BBQ can be bought for well below its $200 price if you shop around, a fact we’ve taken into account in our review.

It also means there’s a huge range of accessories available for this BBQ if that sort of thing interests you. Back to basics, this is a well-made BBQ that is easy to get the best out of, though it doesn’t quite have the Char-Broil’s clever grill or heftiness.

For the money, though, it’s a great buy.

3. Cuisinart CCG-290, Kettle Charcoal Grill, 18-Inch

Another kettle-style BBQ for your consideration. The reason being that this design is simply the best for most uses, allowing for both simple grilling and lengthier cooking methods.

As well as being a little cheaper than the Weber,

this 18-inch diameter, chrome-plated grill grate has a hinge, allowing you to add more coals during a long grilling session. The lid has a damper, which will enable you to precisely dial in the airflow and heat retention.

Cuisinart CCG-290, Kettle Charcoal Grill, 18-Inch

At first, the lid thermometer doesn’t seem like it’s all that special. You’ll find lid thermometers are relatively rare if you look around at other kettle grills in this size and price range. The internal thermal probe will give you an accurate internal temperature reading without having to lift the lid as long as you keep it clean.

The four-legged base is another one of those features that’s worth a nod. It makes the CCG-290 feel more stable, and it also gives you a genuinely functional lower shelf.

The lower ash can collector is large for a grill this size. The easy to control sliding dampers allow you to dial in the airflow just right for the type of fire you want to feed.

It’s not quite as well made, admittedly, and there’s a couple of little annoyances, an afterthought of a lid hook, and a little hard to remove the grill.

That said, it has everything you need for just $100 and so deserves to appear here.

Buying Guide for the Best BBQ

BBQing has exploded in popularity in recent years. Yes, chucking some meat on the BBQ has always been popular. But serious American-style BBQ has never been bigger. You can even pick up pulled pork ready-meals in M&S these days.

For the real deal, though, you’ll have to pay through the nose or get creative in your own garden.

Now long, slow cooks aren’t for everyone, but even the most casual of BBQ users may want to tackle something a little more rewarding than simple grilling.

This new-found variety of BBQ methods means there’s a far wider variety of BBQs on the market. Simple grills are still available but in increasingly varied forms.

Then there are more-and-more models that include fitted lids, allowing for far more varied techniques. In short, choosing the right BBQ for you isn’t as straightforward as it once was.

Fuel

The first choice you have is whether to go with charcoal or gas as a fuel. We’re traditional types here, so we think you need charcoal for it to be a proper BBQ (or another solid, combustible fuel).

We will be covering Gas BBQs in the future, as some can be used with wood chips to good effect, but we’ve concentrated on charcoal models to date.

best bbq 2021

Design

We’re convinced that Kettle BBQs are the best design for most people, and they look smart too. The lid means you can cook things at pretty much any temperature you want.

This is in part thanks to the adjustable vents that let you control the airflow through the BBQ. You then place charcoal as required, either off to one side to create a convection oven-like effect or to allow for hotter and cooler cooking areas across the grill.

It’s not the only design with a lid. Of course, you could also try the Outback Omega 200 if you fancy having built-in space to work off around your grill.

Then there’s more traditional-looking, lid-free grills, which are great if you want to cook a lot of simple food quickly – such as the Buffalo Resto.

Size

The bigger the BBQ, the more people you can cook for in one go, obvious really. You can cook for larger numbers on a small device. But only if some are happy to wait while others eat.

Fine for a lazy afternoon with friends, less good if you and the kids think of dining al fresco this evening and don’t want it to drag on all night.

A small portable BBQ will generally make dinner for two to four people depending on appetites. Medium-sized BBQs like our three kettles below are around 22.5 inches across and should be fine to serve 6-8 people.

Big open grills can be bought in practically any size and will give you the ability to cook and keep warm huge amounts of burgers and the like. You’ll want something at least 540 square inches in size to cater to a small public event.

However, a larger BBQ will generally require more charcoal to get going. Although some can be easily subdivided so that you can just fire up a part of it. 3-5lbs of charcoal is pretty typical to keep a medium-sized BBQ going for a couple of hours.

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Last update on 2021-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Garden & Outdoors

These patio heaters will warm up spring evenings – get yours before they go

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Patio heaters are the ultimate buy at this time of year for homeowners looking for an excuse to prolong evenings al fresco. 

There’s no denying that a patio heater is a stylish garden staple, with the ability to transform an outdoor space into a year-round escape. Plus, with the possibility of tighter restrictions creeping in, patio heater searches are going through the roof, so you’re going to want to bag yours ASAP. 

There’s so much to choose from, from the traditional chiminea to wall-fixed heaters and freestanding electrical models, so we thought we’d save you some time and do the legwork for you.

So, have a gander of the buys below – and check out our round-up of the best patio heater 2021 for more best buy picks. 

Sunrite by Mr. Heater Single Tank Top Heater

Check it out on Amazon

This heater has over 1000 reviews and is ranking super high on Amazon. Temperature regulation is simple with the multi-output valve. Plus, it comes with a convenient piezo ignition built right into the rotation of the knob for one-handed ignition.

A versatile buy, you can permanently mount this heater to the wall or the floor with included mounting brackets and fasteners. Safe and durable.

Dr. Infrared Heater DR-978 Dual Heating Hybrid Space Heater, 1500W with remote

This heater has a super high output for a super low cost.

The large blower pushes out larger air volume without making much noise. Plus, there are no exposed heating elements, making this patio heater perfect for a home with pets and kids.

The thermostat regulates the heater and cycles on and off to maintain the set temperature—a 12-hour timer.

TRUSTECH Patio Heater

This is the ultimate home gadget – equipped with a remote control. A wall-mounted heater, this bit of kit is perfect for an open area – suitable indoors and out. It’s quick to heat up (one second).

The internal carbon fiber heating tube and energy conversion efficiency mean you will save a lot of electricity, too! Three heating modes and a 12-hour timer.

BALI OUTDOORS Outdoor Fireplace Wooden Fire Pit

We love a classic chiminea because they add some traditional style to your garden space.

This model has a round wire mesh screening designed to enable 360 visibility fire at chiminea and a sliding door and ashtray for ease of use.

The fire cage area has a generous capacity, measuring 22-inch diameter by 20 inches high.

RMYHOME Infrared Freestanding Patio Heater

A sleek model, this freestanding patio heater can be adjusted to your ideal height and is made from stainless steel. You don’t need to worry about rust or corrosion.

The heating range is 10-15 feet, and it only takes a few seconds to heat this space to the temperature you need. Not only is this model energy-efficient, but it’s also weather and dustproof with a safe design that has power-off protection.

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Last update on 2021-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Garden & Outdoors

11 Backyard Bird Feeders to Let Your Feathered Friends Feast

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These 11 bird feeders provide a posh place for birds to perch and peck to their hearts’ content.

Good Directions Fly-Thru Bird Feeder

A distinctive design for backyard display, this copper-colored feeder lets your feathered friends fly through and perch in the inner ring, and allows them to feed from the small cut-out below.

Perky Pet Squirrel-Be-Gone Country Style Bird Feeder

This vibrant red metal feeder serves as a country retreat for your backyard birds — the bottom’s trough design thwarts any squirrel’s attempt to sneak away some seeds!

Nature’s Rhythm Metal Hopper Bird Feeder

Whether you’re looking for a feeder that blends in with your lake or marshland surroundings, or you’d prefer a pole-mounted design to a hanging one, this trio of cattails does the trick.

Each mesh feeder easily twists off at the top and can hold a different kind of birdseed, so you have a variety of birds paying these long stalks a visit.

Audubon Squirrel Proof Tube Type Bird Feeder

Let small birds dine safely by hanging this user-favorite feeder in your yard (over 700 reviews strong!).

The openings of the globe-shaped cage are just large enough for finches and chickadees, but small enough to prevent squirrels and blue jays from eating up the seed stash first.

Whitehall Metal Tube Bird Feeder

Encourage more winged visitors to stop by at a time — six feeding perches and a circular trough at the bottom will have them coming back for seconds, plus the shaped metal frame is weather-resistant and has a lovely, upscale look for year-round display.

Duncraft Super Songbird Mirrored Feeder

Suction this feeder to your window to get a prime birdwatching view from your living room couch.

While there are more inexpensive options for window feeders, we like this one since the mirrored film allows you to watch the birds without them seeing you, and it prevents them from flying right into your window!

National Geographic Modernist Bird Feeder

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Need a real squirrel deterrent? This feeder is easy for you and the birds to get to, but less so for those pesky seed stealers. The slanted green roof also slides rain and moisture off of the unit to keep the seeds from getting soggy!

OurPets Colonial Bird Feeder

Your birds can’t live in this Colonial-style estate, but they can dine here to their hearts’ content. The house holds up to 10 pounds of seed and is constructed for durability and for keeping their feeding area dry.

Plow & Hearth Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder

This leaf-detailed bird feeder will seem enticing to the squirrels — but their weight on the unit closes all of the feed holes so they can’t swipe any seeds inside. A chew-and-rust-proof cage lets birds happily peck at the rounded seed slots in between the gridded bars.

Target Bronze Small Panorama Seed Feeder

This simple, covered feeder provides an elegant home base for birds to feed. Hang it right outside of a main kitchen window so you can have your own dinner and a show every night!

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Last update on 2021-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Garden & Outdoors

Top 8 Best Grills in 2021

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Any holiday that takes place during the warmer months means two things: Grilling and beer. Be it Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Easter, Father’s Day, Flag Day, or Saturday, the best way to celebrate is by charring some flesh over an open flame.

Whether you prefer holding a luau, throwing a shrimp on the bbq, or even trying to make grilled tofu, it is an undeniably enjoyable way to cook.

Everything from kebabs to steak to foil-wrapped vegetables just tastes better when they’ve been grilled.

Since grilling is so popular and the only way a man should truly eat, there are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a grill.

Do you like the clean taste that you get from a gas grill, or do you like the smoky flavor of charcoal mixed into your meat?

Do you want something that can sit on the deck for ages or a portable wonder that can ride in your trunk for visits to the in-laws where they’re going to try to make you eat indoors like some kind of “dapper gent”?

Well, whatever you need, we’ve got you covered with our 8 best grills.

Kamado Joe Classic Charcoal Grill

Kamado Dragon: Before you, Big Green Egg fanatics, send in your hate mail, hear us out.

The Kamado Joe has a shell that is slightly thicker all the way around for better heat retention.

The gasket is superior and will last you years – that’s right, years – longer than the BGE or any other Kamado out there.

It has a stainless steel hinged cooking surface that lets you get at your coals any time your meat-clogged heart desires and is easy to clean.

The thermostat is one of the most accurate and goes up to 750 degrees.

Add in a heat deflector that will let you change from searing meat to grilling up a pizza, and you have a Kamado to make you scream with joy.

Broil King  Porta-Chef

1001 Cooking Options: The Porta-Chef is not only royalty because of its quantity of features but also due to its flexibility.

Many gas grills rely wholly on propane and won’t use anything else, which can bother those that prefer greener gases.

The Porta-Chef still uses the propane standby but works equally well with natural gas.

It comes with more features than most kitchens, including an infinity burner for searing, a rotisserie burner that makes poultry succulent, and a stainless steel side burner.

The exterior is 100% weather-resistant aluminum, so don’t worry if it has to spend its life in the yard.

The part that will make your mouth water will surely be the cast iron cooking grids wrapped in porcelain.

They’ll take care of all your backyard grilling needs but can also carry enough heat to rapidly cook the most exquisite of meats.

Char-Broil Performance Series

Truly Even Cooking: This is the grillenator. It has been sent back through time for one purpose: to avoid uneven or improperly cooked meat.

It uses special infrared plates in the hood to absorb and then evenly distribute heat so that you don’t end up with hot or cold spots that ruin your flawless grilling style, wreck your bbq, and force your family to move to another state in shame.

These plates do more than just cook your meat evenly. They also help you find and maintain greater cooking levels, whether slow cooking, searing, or targeted intensity.

It also saves gas consumption since it maximizes the use of your heat.

REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill

Woodsy Goodies: It’s technically a smoker, but grill fanatics that like the woodsy flavor of wood pellets can use it just as easily for some damn succulent grillin’.

It can also sear and even do a little backyard baking if that is to your liking. It can hold a temperature between 200 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit that increases by 5-degree increments.

Like most grills that begin their lives as a smoker, it is most adept at cooking up ribs and brisket, as well as anything else that takes a little longer.

That isn’t to say it can’t whip up burgers and brats with the best of ‘em.

It’s a little pricey but just as good as pellet grills that cost twice as much.

Breville BGR820XL Smart Grill

Electric Indoor Grill System: Do you hang your hat in the Pacific Northwest, where it only rains twice a year, for 6 months each time?

Maybe you hail from the frozen north where summer was that one day in 1984.

Either way, backyard grilling might not be the easiest thing, but you still crave some sweetmeat grilled to perfection.

For that, there is the Smart Grill for electric cooking you can do inside. Nearly every part of the Smart Grill is dishwasher safe to limit the work of greasy cleanup.

It has an 1800 watt element and flat grill style that allow you to perfectly control the temperature whether you’re making grilled cheese the way it was meant to be or searing a filet mignon.

It even has a drip tray so you can save or discard your leavings. Can work just as well outdoors as in if you get a break in the weather.

Sungmor Heavy Duty Cast Iron BBQ Grill

Powerful and Portable: Hibachi and Travel grills are a dime a dozen, so if you want an inferior product, go ahead and find one of those nancy little aluminum messes that don’t retain heat properly, either burn your glorious meat, dry it out, or stick you with a mouthful of raw flesh right in the center.

Once you are done trying to make those work, you’ll buy a Sungmor Cast Iron grill and be happy for the rest of your days. It’s only 13 pounds of cast iron, but the heat retention is so good you really shouldn’t leave it on wood.

The size is perfect for packing while camping or making steaks during a romantic cookout as you savor one of the best microbrews in the land.

A necessary accessory for the go-everywhere grillsman.

Bison Stainless Steel Grill Head

Stationary Charcoal: Most charcoal grills are meant to be mobile.

Weber perfected the kettle grill that can be rolled anywhere like a wheelbarrow, and there are now tons of foldable and Hibachi-style grills that can go anywhere.

But not every grillmaster wants his charcoal grill on the go. For these tong twirling maestros, there is the Bison Stainless.

The hood and the firebox have the necessary vents for temperature control.

It gives you much more cooking space than the average kettle or Hibachi charcoal and the room to maneuver your briquettes to create different heating environments across the surface.

It even lets you adjust the height of the coal for quick heating and cooling.

Weber Kettle

Cheap, Classic, Perfect: One day, you will need to take over the role of grillmaster from your father, and when that time comes, the only way you can be ready is with the same basic, tried-and-true piece of hardware that he used: A Weber Kettle.

No matter what new technology is on the horizon or what strange voodoo the grill geniuses concoct, few things can outperform the old standby.

They still have the steel cooking grills and aluminum ash catchers to make your cleanup easy.

The excellent hood vent system and a built-in thermometer will give you a perfect atmosphere every time.

In an array of sizes and affordable prices, there are few reasons not to have one.

Last update on 2021-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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