The Ultimate BBQ Area 2022

15 Minute Read

On the first passably warm weekend of the summer, floating in the air is the scent of delicious barbecue treats – burgers, sausages, halloumi, and tasty vegetarian and vegan grills. While there are temporary ways to have a barbecue, your garden deserves far, far better than a cheap supermarket barbecue balanced in the corner, and disposable ones, although convenient, are not great for the planet. If you and your family love barbecuing in the summer, and you have young children, then you really deserve a dedicated grilling area that means you can barbecue safely throughout the warmer months, with everything you need to hand.

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The Barbecue

There is a huge debate amongst serious grillers about the type of barbecue that is best. Charcoal is the traditional option, and many hardcore barbecue fans will claim that it gives the best flavour, but gas barbecues are super convenient and allow you to cook outdoors at the flick of a switch.

There is no one correct answer when it comes to which barbecue is best – because it depends on your needs. It really is a matter of personal opinion too when we’re thinking about taste. We’ve tasted amazing results on both types of barbecue, so do plenty of research, and think about the type of cooking you’re likely to do, before you make your decision. You’ll probably want to do a lot more research before you make a decision as to which one is right for you – but here’s a quick overview of the pros and cons of each type of barbecue.

Advantages Of Gas Barbecues

- Super easy to set up 👍 – simply attach the gas and switch on.
- Fast and effective – it depends on the model, but usually you’ll be cooking within 10 minutes.
- Easy to control temperatures – allowing for more consistent results.

Challenges Of Gas Barbecues 

- Retaining heat can be difficult – even with extras such as lava rocks or ceramic plates.
- Gas is cooler than charcoal – so can be less efficient.
- Options for (indirect cooking) are restricted – offering fewer options for experimenting.
- Can be expensive for gas refills (especially these days).

Advantages Of Charcoal Barbecues

- There are more cooking options – searing hot and fast, slow cooking over lower heats.
- Taste can be influenced – adding flavoured wood chips to the coals.
- Indirect grilling (cooking with the heat to the side) is easier.
- You can build a permanent brick barbecue 🔥

Challenges Of Charcoal Barbecues 

- Getting a fire started can be tricky – although a charcoal chimney can make it easier.
- Heat control is harder than with gas – and there’s an art to topping up the coals.
- Larger heat source – allowing for a larger cooking area
- You’ll need to store charcoal and wood.

Whichever type of barbecue you decide to buy, you’ll need space to store your fuel. Gas bottles are pretty sizeable, so it might be that you keep them in the garage or shed – and wherever you store them, keep safety in mind, away from any potential sparks or naked flames. Bags of charcoal are also pretty big (especially if you’re a keen griller – small bags work out much more expensive in the long term!) and need to be kept dry, so you’ll need to either work your charcoal storage into your space, or establish where makes sense to keep them.

The Barbecue Cooking Extras 

When you’re cooking on a barbecue, you can keep it simple, letting the flames and the food provide the flavour, or you can experiment, achieving some even more incredible tastes. Setting an area that you can have pots of fresh herbs, and jars of spice mixes to add to your cooking means that you’ll be able to elevate those plainer dishes to something really special, very quickly and easily. If you’re cooking indirectly (also known as smoking) then playing with soaked, flavoured wood chips is likely to be on your agenda – so make sure you have space to keep all your barbecue cooking extras. Outdoor shelves are ideal for this purpose, especially if you’re under a cover.

In addition to your barbecue, and the barbecue tools that you find most useful, you might want to upgrade your barbecue area into a full outdoor kitchen, complete with cooking methods such as a wood fired pizza oven, a sink, and more. We took a dive into everything about outdoor kitchens in this post – and if you’re serious about your outdoor cooking, then you’ll almost certainly want to consider some of the ideas that we talked about there.

The Dining Table

Although there’s something that makes eating a burger even more delicious when you’re sat on a picnic blanket, if you’re barbecuing regularly, and have children, you’re likely to want a decent outdoor table with seating. You might already have a great outdoor dining table and chairs, but if you don’t, then investing is definitely well worth it to complete your barbecue area.

Wooden tables and benches is a big trend for barbecue areas this year – although they tend to always be popular. Our range is perfectly designed to be on trend, but the styles are classic enough, and hardwearing that you won’t feel the need to replace them each year. In addition, because we hand make our range to order, you can choose the perfect sized furniture for your space, without compromising on quality.

You can read a lot more about our range of wooden tables and benches here, and you can browse the range here.

The Overhead Cover

While the summer months are undoubtedly the most popular time for barbecuing in the UK, it is possible to get year-round grilling by adding a roof to your barbecue area. Whether your structure is brick or wood, building an overhead cover makes for a bigger project, but it means that you’ll be able to get more value from your barbecue – some die-hard grillers are even out cooking on their barbecue between Christmas and new year! That might not be for you, but an overhead cover for your barbecue area means that you can take a chance and fire up the coals on days that look a bit iffy, weather-wise. Even if you end up eating indoors due to the weather turning, you’ll be able to finish cooking without getting wet, or having to turn the oven on to finish the job.

If your budget is smaller, or you’re only likely to be using your barbecue area during the summer months, then building a roof might not be the most appropriate solution. Where that is the case, a sturdy gazebo, or a pull-out awning that is attached at the side of the house might be enough. If you’re going down this route, think safety first – it needs to be high enough above the flames to not risk fire, and bear in mind that you might need to be prepared to take it down ahead of summer storms. 

The Bar Area

Standing over a barbecue grilling is thirsty work! When you’re out grilling whatever you’ve picked for that particular day, you don’t want to have to pop back indoors to grab a drink and accidentally end up burning something due to an unexpected flare up. Having an outdoor bar area within, or next to your barbecue area just makes sense. Whether you decide to fully stock the bar in your barbecue area, or you’re strictly soft drinks only, having a bar in your barbecue space means that you’ll be able to keep grilling longer, and entertain family and friends while you’re doing so. Stock up on your favourite drinks, an ice tub, and glasses – you won’t regret it.

Barbecue Area Safety

We can’t talk about barbecuing without mentioning safety – and that is especially the case when there are children in the home. When you’re designing your barbecue area, keep potential risks minimised, such as ensuring that little ones can’t run around the back of the barbecue. That isn’t the only thing to keep in mind though – it is well worth having fire extinguishers, or fire blankets to hand, just in case, and a bucket of water.

In addition to fire safety equipment, making sure you have first aid equipment handy is a good idea too. Although treating accidental burns is best with cold water and at the hospital if necessary, having your first aid equipment nearby is always a good plan – it is much better to have it and not need it than the reverse! 

Final Thoughts

If, like us, you can’t wait to get your barbecue fired up during the warm weather, then get your barbecue area sorted sooner than later. With a bit of effort, and a few key pieces, you’ll be able to keep your family safe during cooking, and for you all to enjoy the delicious benefits of having a designated barbecue area.

If you’re looking for the perfect outdoor table, or outdoor shelves for your barbecue area, check out our range. We’re certain that you’ll find what you’re looking for, but if you don’t, then get in touch – as we make everything to order, we’re able to accommodate bespoke size requests. Then, when you’ve completed your barbecue area and you’re out enjoying the space, don’t forget to tag us in your Instagram posts (@bensimpsonfurniture) so we can share your place looking great in the sunshine! 

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