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Outdoor Cooking FAQ

How does my BBQ arrive?
All BBQs, if courier delivered, arrive robustly packed in a box, and require assembly. Full instructions are provided and only basic tools are needed.

Where should I site my BBQ?
Both gas and, particularly, charcoal BBQs should be placed in a sheltered spot, clear of close by wooden fences and overhanging trees or shrubs. Never use a barbecue inside.

Do I need a cover for my BBQ?
Barbecues can live outside quite happily, without a cover, but covers do help to keep your barbecue cleaner, especially in winter. Do though always store your charcoal in a cool dry place. Gas too can live outside, but be aware that if you do use Butane it can freeze at low temperatures. We have covers for Gas canisters too.

What's the difference between butane, propane & other patio gases?
Butane is used primarily for indoor heaters, as it freezes at low temps. Some older barbecues do use it however. Most patio gas is propane by another name, however it has a different 'snap on' regulator designed for barbecues and so is not interchangeable. Many barbecues are set up to use Patio Gas, which burns at a higher temperature than butane. Always use the gas that your BBQ was designed for.

My gas consumption has suddenly increased and/or I smell gas when I use my BBQ
Caution, you probably have a leak. Be very careful. The most likely cause is from the hose. Do not use the BBQ again until the leak source is identified and resolved. All gas suppliers have an emergency help line if in doubt. The Calor emergency contact number is 08457 444 999.

Is barbecued food bad for me? The short answer is no. Cooking on a barbecue is no different to cooking on a stove or in an oven; only burnt food is bad for you. Whilst cheap barbecues may burn food easily, cooking on a quality barbecue means there is far less chance that the food will burn. In fact, cooking outdoors has a positive effect on meat, since the air flow makes it more succulent. But barbecuing need not be restricted to meat. There are a number of delicious recipes available for vegetarian meals cooked on a barbecue.

What's the use of a thermometer?
Many BBQs have a built in thermometer that allows you to monitor and then control the temperature inside the grill when cooking, using the indirect method. This will help you cook to your food to perfection every time. Food thermometers are actually inserted into food to asses their 'doneness'. The UK FSA recommend all sausages and chicken are cooked to at least 70C. Such thermometers can offer great comfort and avoid either underdone meat or over doing it just to be sure.

What size grill do I need?
This really depends upon how nay you cook for, and if you want to serve a veritable feast all at once or in courses. However as a guide and don't forget warming racks will keep food from going cold., and provide space for heating garlic bread for instance

  • For 2 people, you'll need a small cooking area of 1000cm² to 1500cm².
  • For 4 people, you'll need a cooking area generally around 1600 to 2000mm².
  • For 6 people, a larger area of 2000mm² to 3000mm² is usually considered about right.
  • For 8 people, the larger gas barbecues 3000mm² to 4000mm² will be enough.
  • Party animals? Griddles over 4000mm² are available.

Of course, if your guests vary in number, cooking on a larger gas grill with multiple burners gives you the flexibility to use only 1 or 2 burners so that you won't waste too much gas.

When to start a charcoal BBQ?
Light your barbecue well in advance, at least 45 minutes, and longer in colder weather as the briquettes take longer to heat up. Place the ignited briquettes in the barbecue and remember to open all the vents fully. Whilst we would say this, the Weber Premium Briquettes are the best, as they light well, and burn evenly for up to 4 hours. Some charcoal or lump wood, especially if slightly damp will take longer to get up to a good temperature. Use a quality BBQ firestarter block to help get the fire going, and avoid the cheaper products designed for domestic fires as they may taint the flavour of your food. To greatly shorten the start time use Weber Charcoal Starter, that will get your coals ready to BBQ in around 20 minutes.

What do I do with those air vents?
Always open the air vents when starting a BBQ. Make sure that the top and bottom air vents are open at all times during cooking. The only time you need to fully close the air vents is to extinguish the charcoal after you've finished barbecuing.

Fresh air needs to flow constantly through the barbecue to provide oxygen for the fuel. You should therefore not remove the lid to lower the temperature, as it increases the air flow. The most effective way to control the temperature is to change the amount of fuel you use. If you want less heat in the barbecue, do not touch the lid or the air vents – simply use fewer briquettes. This is the only method that works. And part of the charm of using briquettes is learning how to control the temperature and mastering the perfect barbecuing technique.