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Which? weighs in on the £1,500 Heston Blumenthal Hub grill

We tried out the Heston Blumenthal Everdure Hub charcoal barbecue to see how it stacks up

The sleek design of the Heston Blumenthal Everdure Hub is certainly eye-catching, but is the £1,500 price tag worth paying? It’s almost twice as expensive as the most expensive grill we’ve tested to date.

The Heston Everdure barbecue range includes the £1,500 Hub down to the £150 Cube, all with eye-catching modern styling. There are both charcoal and gas options.

With many sizes and formats there’s an option for every preference, but we were most curious about the £1,500 charcoal Hub grill, as it’s almost twice as expensive as the most expensive grill we’ve tested to date.

The manufacturer and distributor of the Everdure range, Kettler, arranged for us to try out a Hub to see if it was all it cracked up to be.

Head over to all of our barbecue reviews to find out which grills have topped our tests.

What makes the Hub charcoal BBQ different?

It is clear from looking the Hub that it’s different than your average grill.

More like a piece of mid-century modern furniture, it is an enormous charcoal barbecue with an electric-powered rotisserie large enough to hold a suckling pig (or any meat up to 40kg). With such a huge capacity, the Hub can cook for a whole party of people.

The Hub’s other standout feature is the electric start. Instead of fiddling with firelighters, you set your charcoal alight with the assistance of an electric element in the base of the firebox.

Not only does this make the grill easier to start up, but it makes it quicker, too. While we’ve found that most charcoal grills take about 30 minutes to be ready to grill, Everdure claims the Hub cuts this down to 10 minutes.

Is the Hub BBQ any good?

Just because the Hub looks good and is easy to start doesn’t mean that it can cook well.

However, this grill spent months being tested by Blumenthal and was developed with the help of Blumenthal and his team, so you’d expect it to be good.

We tried out the Hub with many different kinds of foods and made sure to test both quick to cook foods like steaks, slow roasted chickens and pork and plenty of vegetarian options as well. Head over to our review of the Hub to see what we thought of this grill’s barbecuing ability.

BBQ without additives

Because of the Hub’s electric start, you don’t need firelighters or anything additional to light or maintain your charcoal fire.

Charcoal briquettes vs lumpwood 

The Hub, like other high-end charcoal grills, such as the Green Egg, is meant to be used with lumpwood charcoal (image on right above). Good lumpwood charcoal should be pure wood, while charcoal briquettes (image on left above) are held together with binders and have additives to make them burn longer or light easier.

We tried out the Everdure lumpwood charcoal, which is 100% natural and free from additives or chemicals. If you know your way around a grill or are a food aficionado, you’ll notice the difference between cooking with lumpwood charcoal and briquette charcoal.

All natural grilling with lumpwood charcoal

The Everdure lumpwood charcoal isn’t the only option as there are many choices when it comes to finding high-quality low impact charcoal.

For example, the Big Green Egg has a natural lumpwood charcoal made from American oak and hickory wood, with no additives or chemical fillers. Many barbecue manufacturers that specify the use of lumpwood charcoal (like the Big Green Egg) will often make their own charcoal, but shop around and you can find a whole variety of lumpwood out there.

If you want a charcoal that doesn’t have to travel far to get to you, then there are British charcoal makers, like the Oxford Charcoal company. These charcoals are, like the others, free from additives and chemicals. They have the added benefit of being made in Britain and are compliant with UK Forestry Standards.

Not only are they totally natural and made right here in the UK, but they also offer a huge range of wood ‘flavours’; from ash to orange wood to birch. These woods each give off a unique smokey flavour and are great for adding some extra jazz to your grill. Or, if you are looking to smoke food then these will impart  delicious and subtle hints of flavour to your smoked foods.

Use our advice guide on charcoal barbecues to learn all you need to know before delving into the world of charcoal grilling.

The full Heston Blumenthal Everdure grill range

From the tiny, portable Cube to the three-burner gas Furnace, the Everdure range has a grill for all tastes.

Cube portable charcoal grill, £149

The Cube is small, measuring 23x43x35cm (HxWxD), and is made to be portable – great if you want to take it the beach or a park.

It features the same chrome cooking grate as the Hub and the same sleek, minimalist design. It has carrying handles, and top clips off into two pieces – a storage box and bamboo tray – both accessories deigned to make food prep and presentation on the go an easy task.

Force  2 burner gas grill, £599

A two-burner gas grill with the characteristic stylish Everdure simplicity. The dual controls mean you can operate the burners independently of each other. This grill would be big enough to cook for about four people, depending on what you are grilling.

There are two side tables to put plates and platters while you are grilling and a storage shelf underneath the grill.

The extra-high hood means you can roast a turkey up to 6kg on the Force. And you can choose from one of four colours: graphite, stone, mint or red.

Furnace 3 burner gas grill, £699 

If you’re after a slightly larger grill then the three-burner Furnace can cook for six to eight people at one time (again, depending on what you are grilling).

The independently controlled burners mean you can create different cooking zones on your grill – keeping some areas hotter and some areas cooler, which is a method that a lot of grill experts recommend using to get a good, thorough and even finish to your food.

The Furnace comes with all the same convenience and features as the Force, but with the addition of a larger cooking area. It is available in graphite, stone, mint or orange.

Fusion charcoal grill with stand, £899 

Like the Hub, but smaller, the Fusion comes with a pedestal, but can be taken off and used off the pedestal if required. It features the same design, the same porcelain-enamel firebox and chrome grill grates as the Hub.

Like the Hub, it too has an electric start and a rotisserie, which can hold up to 15kg of food (compared to the Hub’s 40kg capacity).

The smaller size and price make it more accessible than the Hub; more suitable for you if you like to grill often, but don’t need to cook in huge volumes.

*Prices correct as of June 2018

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