T3 SMARTER LIVING: The best portable barbecue 2018: mini gas grills and lightweight charcoal BBQs for taking everywhere

T3 SMARTER LIVING: The best portable barbecue 2018: mini gas grills and lightweight charcoal BBQs for taking everywhere
Welcome to our roundup of the best portable BBQs around (or 'barbecues' if you're French). Just shove them in the boot of your car, head somewhere picturesque, and cook like nature intended. If you're reading this in the UK you're probably thinking, 'hang on, it's winter,' but bear in mind that it's always sunny somewhere. And so, to our Australian readers, we say, "G'day, cobbers. Put a dag on the barbie.'

Everdure 'by' Heston Blumenthal has disrupted the barbecue market to highly impressive effect in recent years. For the not inconsiderable feat of making what is essentially a metal box that you put charcoal in stylish, the Everdure Cube is our #1 pick.

First of all you'll need to decide if you want to use charcoal or gas. This makes a difference in terms of flavour, as gas doesn't create the smoky flavours that you only get with charcoal and wood. Gas certainly has its place in terms of consistency and convenience when cooking outside, but it does also reduce the authenticity of the results.

Secondly, you need to look out for the grill size with these portable units - as well as how much they weigh if you really are after something you can carry down to the beach. Equally, you don't want something you can carry, but you can't cook what needs to be cooked - especially if it means you need to do two or three batches of cooking. That's no fun.There are different methods of cooking on a barbecue. Without a lid is known as grilling or direct cooking.

You'll need to keep an eye on the food as it's hard and fast and there's a danger of over cooking or burning quickly. Indirect cooking under a lid is what purists call proper barbecuing - using the smoke to flavour and slow cooking process. Try using a plant spray or mister to tame any flare-ups.

Ben Tish, Chef Director of the Salt Yard Group, gives his verdict on that age old question - what's best? Charcoal or briquettes? "Lump wood charcoal is superior in flavour to briquettes due to the fact there aren't any chemicals or binders in there to mask or skew the flavours. "Most charcoal is from South Africa and will have been compressed so it travels better and doesn't break up in transit. I'd suggest British charcoal which is much lighter and burns better. Apple, hazel and oak all have their differing flavour qualities."

Best portable charcoal BBQ – so stylish

The Cube is the cheapest and smallest model in a sextet of Heston Blumenthal-branded charcoal and gas barbecues that screams style and sophistication. This eminently portable charcoal burner doesn’t sport any groundbreaking technological features because it is, to all intents and purposes, just a square container with a shallow charcoal tray and a steel grill on top.
However, there are plenty of refined Heston touches here to whet the appetite, including a beautifully molded porcelain enamel interior with walls that are raised about an inch above the grill so sausages can’t roll off and a heat guard fitted to the bottom so it doesn’t scorch grass or ruin the patio table. The firmly secured lid, too, is a clever design flourish since it encompasses both a sealed plastic storage tray with room for a few cuts of meat and a bamboo food prep board.
So what you have is a proper barbecue that is also properly portable – most of the others in this list, although excellent at cooking, are either a little flimsy, or not actually all that portable once removed from the boot of your car.
As a result, the Everdure admittedly, only provides enough real estate for a romantic picnic for two… But what a stylish and tasty picnic it will be.

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