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How does the Big Green Egg compare with ordinary charcoal BBQs?

Is it worth spending more than £800 on a barbecue?

The Big Green Egg barbecue is a real foodie favourite, but with the largest model retailing for almost £3,000, can it justify its high price?

Coming from the US, where barbecuing is serious business, this kamado-style griller is aimed at food fanatics wanting to create an authentic, rich flavour.

But if you’re on a tight budget, what are your options when it comes to charcoal barbecues? Below, we run through the various differences between the premium Big Green Egg and more-affordable alternatives.

Best Buy barbecues – a top-notch barbecue for every budget

Big Green Egg vs other charcoal barbecues

Although the Big Green Egg uses charcoal, it’s different from your typical charcoal barbecue.

Modelled on a Japanese-style grill, The Big Green Egg’s unique, dome-shaped shell is made of ceramic and aims to lock in heat. This means it can reach particularly high temperatures, making it well-suited to smoking, roasting and searing meats.

This comes at a high price, though – medium-sized kamado-style barbecues tend to cost around £875.

Above: The Big Green Egg (left) alongside a traditional charcoal barbecue (right)

Although traditional charcoal barbecues take a relatively long time to reach an ideal cooking temperature and won’t provide the same cooking flexibility of a kamado-style barbecue, they are much cheaper. This may be a better option if you’re only looking to cook hamburgers and hot dogs rather than pulled pork and slow-cooked brisket.

Did the Big Green Egg outperform our range of Best Buy barbecues? See our Big Green Egg review for the details.

Cheap barbecues under £250

You don’t have to break the bank to pick up a charcoal kettle barbecue. Kettle barbecues have circular bodies and a hood that fits tightly over the grill, heating the air trapped inside. Compared with hefty gas barbecues, they’re compact, light and easy to move around, which is good news if you need to barbecue in different spots around your patio.

We’ve taken a look at a number of affordable kettle barbecues for buyers on a budget, so keep scrolling for some suggestions right in time for summer.

Weber Master-Touch 57cm Charcoal, £240

This premium kettle barbecue is designed to cook for up to eight people at a time, and has a porcelain-coated lid and an adjustable air vent.

It’s compatible with a couple of optional accessories, including a pizza stone and chicken roaster. A tripod base means that wheeling this barbecue across the patio a is hassle-free task, while a temperature gauge nestled inside the lid lets you know when it’s ready to cook.

This Weber is rather pricey for a charcoal model, so is it worth it? See how we rated it in our lab by checking our Weber Master-Touch 57cm Charcoal review.

Cadac Charcoal Pro 57cm, £100

Unlike many affordable kettle barbecues, the Cadac Charcoal Pro has a pair of air vents that help control the temperature. Opening the vents increases the heat and makes the charcoal burn faster.

This Cadac model doesn’t have a warming rack or hooks to hang your utensils on  features that you would expect to feature on a premium alternative.

If you’re tempted by this charcoal barbecue, read our Cadac Charcoal Pro 57cm review to see whether it’s a Best Buy.

Weber Compact 47cm kettle, £72

This sub-£100 barbecue is one of the cheapest we’ve tested, but it does lack some features that you’ll find on barbecues from rival brands. For example, there’s no thermometer built into the hood, so monitoring the temperature for accurate roasting and pre-heating is that little bit trickier.

The Weber Compact has a porcelain-enamelled bowl, rather than the ceramic you’d get on kamado-style barbecues that are built to last a lifetime. Even so, it does come with a 10-year Weber warranty.

Does this barbecue deserve a spot in your garden? See our Weber Compact 47cm Kettle review for our expert verdict.

Barbecues in the Which? test lab

Our independent lab tests take the risk out of choosing a new barbecue. Even a barbecue that has a range of high-spec features can leave you with tasteless food, while a basic-looking model may cook you a delicious feast.

To find out exactly how each grill cooks, our independent chef cooks three sausages, a marinated chicken thigh and a pork-and-vegetable kebab on each barbecue. We look for succulent food that is tender and moist, evenly cooked and consistently brown.

We also score each barbecue on how easy it is to use, along with overall build quality. We’ve come across low-scoring models that risk leaving your guests hungry, as they take around 50 minutes to reach a perfect cooking temperature.

You don’t always need to spend a lot to land yourself a Best Buy – we’ve uncovered some brilliant options for around £100.

Our Best Buy barbecues page reveals which models soared through our tests.

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