With hopes high for another sunny weekend, and the thought of sizzling sausages and chargrilled chicken on a barbecue, you may be wondering whether your small garden will fit one. Well, the new compact Weber Pulse 1000 electric barbecue could be the answer to authentically smoky food in a tight spot.
In early 2018 Weber, which is known for its high-end barbecues, launched a new style of electric barbecue. It’s designed specifically for small spaces and ‘urban living’, where smoky charcoal or gas barbecues aren’t practical.
At £549, the Weber Pulse 1000 is the third most expensive barbecue we’ve reviewed, and a pricey option for those desperate to barbecue. But is it worth it? We sent it to our test lab to find out. Read on to find out more about this barbecue, and how electric compares to coal and gas.
Barbecue Best Buys – find out which models got our experts hot under the collar.
Weber Pulse 1000 barbecue – £549
The Pulse 1000 looks more like a George Foreman grill than a traditional barbecue, and is tiny compared to other models – measuring just 61 x 66cm (W x D).
It comes with porcelain-enamel cooking grates and a grease-management system, which is designed to funnel drippings in to a drip pan. It has a single burner and can cook up to six burger patties at once, which should be plenty for a small summer gathering or family dinner.
It also has an integrated iGrill thermometer, which connects to an app on your smartphone so you can be notified when your food is cooked. It can be bought alone for £549, or with a stand for £699.
The Pulse 1000 isn’t alone in Weber’s new range of ‘smart grills’, and its larger sibling – the Pulse 2000 – has dual cooking zones.
How we test barbecues
When it comes to finding a top-notch barbecue, the proof is in the pudding… or, rather, the perfectly cooked pork sausage. To find out how well each grill works, an independent chef cooks three sausages, a marinated chicken thigh and a pork-and-vegetable kebab on each barbecue. These are rated for the evenness of the cook, how tender they are, the level of smoky flavour and the appearance.
Because we know that you don’t want to spend the beginning of a summer party faffing with a fiddly barbecue, we also assess how easy each model is to build.
We also light each barbecue to see how long it takes to reach a perfect cooking temperature, and how long each type of food takes to cook – so you can be sure that your guests won’t be left hungry for too long.
Lastly, to ensure the barbecue is safe and well-built, we assess construction and durability, and also check how easy it is to move or store.
Should I buy an electric, gas or charcoal barbecue?
The type of barbecue you pick will depend on what your top priority is – do you want that smoky chargrilled flavour, or are you looking for a model that’s quick to fire up and pre-heat?
If you’re after the authentic barbecue taste, then a charcoal barbecue is the best bet, as smoke from coals and sizzling fat infuses the food with chargrilled flavour. They tend to be cheaper than gas or electric barbecues, and lighter, so easier to move around. They can be tricky to light and slow to heat though, and cleaning up the ash can be a tedious and messy job.
For those that want a quicker and easier life, then a gas barbecue takes just 5-10 minutes to pre-heat and the heat can be easily adjusted, so you’re less likely to be left with food that’s undercooked on the inside and charred on the outside. They are bigger, more expensive, and heavier than charcoal models.
Electric barbecues don’t rely on gas or charcoal, but instead plug in to the mains. They won’t give you the same chargrilled flavour as a charcoal barbecue, and don’t even use a flame to cook the food like a gas model. Instead, they use a grill-style pan, like a George Foreman grill. They tend to be easier to maneuver and you won’t need an unsightly gas canister cluttering up your small garden or patio.
For more on which type of barbecue would suit you best, head to our guide on gas versus charcoal barbecues.