Great for couples: Bodum Fyrkat Grill (£58)
Bodum products have a slightly premium price, but you certainly get what you pay for. These well-engineered, compact, charcoal grills ooze quality and are lightweight, portable and easy to use and clean.
There’s plenty of room to cook for two on the grill, more at a push, and you can do all the ‘hard work’ sitting down. The silicone handle stays cool, while silicone clips lock the lid in place for transportation. The leg design has been tweaked slightly for the newest models.
Ideal for the beach: Grill-2-Go (£39.98)
A clever idea from Calor – a single burner and hotplate, which simply clips on to a Calor 5kg Patio Gas bottle.
It’s ideal for picnics and beach fun, and lets you boil, grill and fry quickly and cleanly. The reversible porcelain enamel, cast-iron cooking griddle is quite heavy, but it’s nothing like lugging a full barbecue around, and you get more control and quicker cooking than a disposable.
It comes with a five-year limited warranty. A 5kg Patio gas cylinder costs £20.50.
Perfect pizza!: Ooni Koda (£244.99)
You’ll be the culinary king or queen of the campsite with one of these bad boys. The gas-powered Ooni reaches up to 500°C and cooks perfect pizza in 60 seconds. Take it out of its box, fold out the legs, pop in the pizza stone, connect the gas and off you go… Pizza making just got as fast as a Formula 1 pitstop!
Prep your homemade pizza bases, let everyone pick their toppings, then you’ll all be sitting down to tasty, fresh Margheritas or Vesuvios in under five minutes.
When space is tight: Lotus Grill (£130-£450)
This Lotus Grill features a battery-powered fan that blows air across burning charcoal briquettes to speed up the burning process and reach cooking temperatures more quickly (three to five minutes). It’s a neat, compact (3.7kg) and very ‘designer’ device, in some cool colours.
A metal cowl prevents dripping fat from flaring up and burning your food, and, for big eaters, there are XXL versions with more cooking surface.
Perfect for families: Outdoorchef City 420 kettle grill (£168)
The Outdoorchef City 420 is a beautifully crafted kettle barbecue that’s big enough to cook for a family of four or more. It also packs neatly into a carry bag for easy storage and transportation.
The build quality is exceptional with a tough black-enamel coating. It features push-button Piezo ignition and just one knob for controlling the temperature. Inside are funnels, which can be flipped over to ‘target’ the heat. Alternatively, pop the lid on and let the heat build up to use it like an oven. We’ve cooked a whole leg of lamb in ours, on many occasions.
It can take a little while to heat up and the funnels need to be cleaned occasionally, but for portability and versatility we find it hard to beat.
The legs can be set at standing or sitting height, and there’s a range of great accessories – such as pizza trays – to choose from.
Best for lightweight versatility: Cadac Safari Chef 2 (from £99.99)
Cadac grills have been the go-to brand for caravanners for years… but do they deserve the rep? Well, we’ve never met anyone with a bad word to say about them. They’re light (from 4kg), strong, stable and versatile, with six interchangeable cooking surfaces available. These include a pizza stone, which combined with the Safari’s ability to reach super-high temperatures, makes them ideal for cooking crispy pizzas. The Safari has folding legs and all the parts pack into a handy carry bag. This model is really easy to clean, too, and comes with a two-year warranty.
Best budget buy: Disposable barbecues (from £4 each)
These tin foil trays of charcoal are cheap and easy to use, but can take a while to get up to cooking temperature, or for the charcoal to be sufficiently burned down. We like the Bar-Be-Quick brand. Its instant barbecues can be bought in multipacks to save money. They light with a single match and are burger-ready in 20-30 minutes. They also come in a range of sizes, up to the hotdog-tastic, party-sized version.
Campsites insist these grills are raised off the ground on bricks to avoid the grass below being scorched. All the remnants should also be removed from the cooking site.
Best for budget style: Landmann Piccolino Portable (from £38.99)
Similar in looks to the Bodum, this charcoal Landmann kettle grill is significantly cheaper… as long as you buy carefully. It’s priced online from £38.99 to £76!
It measures 37cm in diameter, so there’s plenty of room to grill for two, and possibly up to four (if they’re on a diet). The Piccolino itself weights in at just 4kg, so it’s super-svelte and ultra-portable. It’s also available in a wide range of rather trendy hues, making it really easy to match with your mood, or to colour-coordinate with your awning – or even those disastrous budgie smugglers.
Best for toasting marshmallows: Outwell Cazal Fire Pit Bowl (£47.99-£79.99)
Outwell, the Danish purveyor of outdoor delights, has created the Cazal Fire Pit, a lightweight and affordable real-fire option for both cooking and singing Kumbaya around.
There’s nothing quite like gathering around a firepit as darkness falls, and this stylish option is perfect for both charcoal or wood fires. It comes with a large cooking grid, so you could grill on it or toast some marshmallows. It also features a mesh lid, which lets the heat out, but keeps the sparks in. Cazal come in medium (44.5cm) and large (56cm) sizes.
Best portable gas option: Campingaz Party Grill 400
This powerful and versatile grill runs off compact Campingaz canisters (CV300+ or CV470+), so you don’t have to lug a gas bottle around to picnics or the beach. They last for an hour and 40 minutes and three hours, respectively. It provides you with five cooking surfaces, meaning that you can grill, barbecue, boil, toast or even wok!
The 4.7kg Party Grill features push-start Piezo ignition and the lid locks on to the base, making it easy and safe to transport. Outdoor cooking doesn’t get more convenient.
Charcoal or gas?
‘Real men’ like to cook on charcoal, not gas… real men also like to put on fake smiles as they devour raw chicken in a granite-hard carbon coating! Yes, charcoal is more ‘manly’ than gas (it appeals to our inner caveman), but it’s 2020, and gas has to be the way forward for more clean and controlled outdoor cooking – and less gastro-intestinal tomfoolery to boot.