Barbecues and Camping: A Quick Fire Guide to Choosing Your Equipment.

Posted on: 20 June 2016

There are many simple pleasures to be found in the great outdoors: clean, fresh air; a level of peace and tranquillity that is seldom achieved in modern urban life; the majesty of a starry night sky unpolluted by electric light. Equal or greater than any of these pleasures, without question, is a well-executed camp barbecue. With this in mind, take a moment to consider the following guide to camping barbecues to ensure that you get the most out of your barbecue experience.

Will disposable do? Portable barbecues take a number of forms, but for camping, you will likely be looking at one of three options: disposable barbecues, folding/bucket varieties, or basically a miniaturised version of what you will typically employ for regular garden barbecues. For very rudimentary cooking (sausages, skewered vegetables and so on), disposable barbecues will typically work well and offer the convenience of being easily lit, with charcoals included and ready to go. For convenience they are unmatched; however, disposable barbecues are typically rather limited in the cooking time that they offer.

Thinking bigger? Think reusable. For more ambitious meals—particularly for larger cuts of meat—you will require something more substantial than a single use barbecue. Folding barbecues can expand impressively from the proportions of a mid-sized tablet computer to offer up to a 30cm squared cooking surface—so if space is at a premium, this may be the choice for you. Once set up, there is little difference between folding barbecues and the bucket variety: both offer an adequate cooking experience that will comfortably feed a small family or group of friends with a minimum of fuss. As a middle ground, these are ideal for the casual cook.

Master chef in the making? Think portable.

An upgrade from the bucket variety, portable mini barbecue units offer the closest possible results to full-sized home units. Look for a barbecue with a lid and adjustable vents, offering control of both the heat and the flame, whilst also giving the option to retain a smoky flavour in your food. Typically standing around 30cm tall at the grill, free-standing portable barbecues offer all the functionality of larger charcoal barbecues, with the only compromise being a smaller cooking surface. If you have a little extra space in the car and have high hopes for your dining experience, opt for this variety. Entry level models can be found for as little as $30, so you also won't break the bank, and you will be amazed at what is possible.

Bonus tip: The use of firelighters can lead to an unpleasant chemical taste finding its way into your food. Instead, to get your barbecue started, try pouring regular vegetable oil on a few squares of kitchen roll and placing these amongst your coals. You will find that the paper lights easily and has no negative effect on the taste of your food. Good luck, and enjoy!