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Saturday 30 August 2014

BEST BUY... Barbecues

Peter Flanagan

Published 02/02/2014 | 02:30

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From left: B&Q Blooma Russel, Weber Spirit Classic E-210, Weber Smokey Joe
From left: B&Q Blooma Russel, Weber Spirit Classic E-210, Weber Smokey Joe

IT may still be winter, but the days are getting longer and it won't be long before it's time to get the barbecue out and start cooking up those steaks again.

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B&Q Blooma Russel €52

The B&Q Blooma Russel is very much at the low end of the BBQ market. At a shade over €50 this is certainly one of the cheapest – and most basic – devices going. The charcoal kettle barbecue has nothing on the high falutin' stoves that can cost nine or 10 times as much as it, but contains all the basics a wannabe chef needs.

Both the hood and basin are enamelled, which is said to allow more even cooking across the grill, while the grill itself is large enough to account for a party of several people.

The build quality is good for the most part, although some parts, such as the ashtray, have a distinctly "cheap" feel.

This barbecue gets the basics right, however. The food comes out tasty and succulent, and evenly cooked. For many people, that will be enough.

WEBER SPIRIT CLASSIC E-210 €550

If the Blooma Russel is the Ford Fiesta of barbecues, the Weber Spirit Classic E-210 is the Rolls Royce of the market.

At €550, this isn't cheap, but if you are looking for a top-of-the-range barbecue with all the bells and whistles, and you plan on hosting parties all the time, then this could be the grill for you.

The gas-powered BBQ contains things that seem like small improvements on the face of it, but taken together constitute an enormous upgrade from the basic device, such as enamelled grille, and a built-in thermometer.

The grill heats quickly and gets very hot. That can be a double-edged sword, however. On the one hand it makes cooking food relatively straight forward, but on the other it can be hard to control the temperature, especially for first-timers. Build quality is excellent throughout and the device feels sturdy and strong.

WEBER SMOKEY JOE €70

The Weber Smokey Joe is a charcoal grill with a difference. It has all the features of a standard kettle barbecue, but with a short frame rather than full legs, it is aimed at people who want something portable and can be taken on picnics or other outings.

The barbecue is well put together as you would expect from Weber, with the parts slotting in comfortably and it is easy to assemble.

It also features a few nice touches, such as adjustable air vents which help particularly with roasting meat.

The food it produces is excellent. Sausages are succulent and full of flavour, while chicken and beef came out roasted to perfection.

This is a tricky market for the Smokey Joe, however. Disposable barbecues can be bought in supermarkets for a few euro, and for many people those will be more than adequate. No matter what the quality of the food it produces, at €70 this may be too pricey for all but die-hard barbecuers.

Irish Independent

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