Summer has arrived in the UK, and that means it’s time for a BBQ! Nothing better than some home-cooked burgers, fish or halloumi - add in some coleslaw, a cold beer, some sun and you’ve got yourself a great afternoon!
So to get you in the mood for grilling season, we’re running down some of the best small BBQs you can get right now. We’re not concentrating on the gigantic, feed-an-army, patio-filling BBQs today - these are small, can be easily packed away, and aimed at small families and couples.
Unfortunately, the impact of COVID-19 and the global quarantine has caused supply problems across most kitchen appliances - this includes BBQs. So while all of the products reviewed here were available at the time of writing, unfortunately we can’t guarantee stock levels for the future.
So if there is a BBQ you’re interested in, but it’s currently out of stock, set up a price alert - we’ll email you the minute we detect a retailer has restocked.
Let’s start off with a simple - but effective - charcoal BBQ. The Weber Compact is designed for one thing - cooking food over charcoal until it’s tasty. As such it doesn’t come with any real extras - there are no side shelves, no smokers, no gadgets or gizmos.
Instead, you get a very easy to use (and easy to clean) bbq that is extremely durable and hard-wearing. The coating is rust-resistant, and fully weatherproofed - meaning you can leave it outside during the winter with no problems. All of this for a very reasonable price.
While the cooking room on the Compact is limited, the durability and low-price make it an excellent option for small families - just don’t expect too many shiny extras.
Staying with Weber: If you lack a garden, or want BBQ on holiday, then the Smokey Joe may be a good option. It’s a high-quality portable BBQ - a small kettle-style charcoal grill with a carrying handle, designed to be easily picked up and moved around.
Because of this, the Smokey Joe is extremely lightweight, but is also severely lacking in space - it will struggle to cook food for more than 2 people at once. This may well be a dealbreaker if you have a large family or routinely cook for groups - however it would be a perfect small BBQ for a couple.
The Smokey Joe is reasonably expensive for the size - especially given the lack of extras - but as with Weber’s other BBQs they are extremely well made and durable. While you could buy a similarly-sized portable BBQ for less, you know you’re getting a really good quality product with these guys.
If you need something bigger than the compact BBQ - but don’t want the expense of an enormous, do-everything beast - then the ‘Toronto’ by Tepro may be the answer. This is a BBQ that punches far above its weight: it has a compact footprint, but has a generous amount of both cooking and storage space.
The cooking space is very reasonable - and means you can easily cook for groups of people without having to crowd the grill or cook in batches. Even better, there is a storage rack under the grill, and a convenient flip-out shelf for holding plates, sauces, etc. Inside it has an adjustable grill top, which means you can easily adjust the cooking temperature by altering the height between the charcoal and the food. It even has a built-in thermometer to make sure you get exactly the right heat!
All of this comes at a very low price point - the Toronto is cheaper than the Weber Compact, but offers far more cooking space and extras. Unfortunately the build quality isn’t the best - the materials used don’t measure up to the ultra-durable Weber models - and you have to assemble it yourself, which might be a bit of a struggle. Despite these downsides, there is a lot to like about the Toronto. It offers an excellent family BBQ at a great price - recommended!
Finally: if you’re wanting something different - and have the money to spare - take a look at the Big Green Egg. This is a uniquely designed BBQ: the unusual egg-shaped design (inspired by Japanese Kamado cookers) immediately draws the eye, as does the deep green paint job! This may be a plus or a minus, depending on your tastes - personally I adore the design, but my wife can’t stand them. It is the Marmite of the BBQ world!
Look beyond the design though, and there is a very good BBQ waiting for you. The ceramic design allows for excellent cooking - the heat is even and predictable, removing the uncertainty from grilling. The medium egg reviewed here cooks enough for 8 people - it can cook 2 whole chickens simultaneously!
It is also extremely durable, and supports a number of accessories (not included) - such as a baking stone for making pizza and bread, or a smoker attachment. However, there is one large problem: the price. The Big Green Eggs are very expensive - nearly 8 times the cost of the Tepro Toronto, and 10 times the cost of the Weber Smokey Joe! Granted, you’re getting an extremely high-quality BBQ, and a design statement - but the eye-watering price will be a dealbreaker for many people. That said, if you have the cash, and don’t want a gigantic BBQ taking up your whole patio, this is the BBQ for you!