Value for Money
OIL DRUM CHARCOAL WHEELS €67.49
This steel barbecue has a pleasingly old-school design, and, at this price, it is very good value for money. Be warned, however, that when we found it in Argos last week it was selling at half price – at full whack we would have been much less impressed. It comes with a warming rack above the substantial cooking area, which gives you a chance to stop your food from burning, which is particularly important given that the presence of charcoal rather than gas makes it harder to control the temperature. It does make the food taste better, however.
Verdict: Cumbersome but good.
Star rating: ***
WEBER COMPACT €79.99
Weber is the king of the barbecue and sells them in all shapes and sizes. They are not cheap but they do tend to last. We like this compact version because it is easy to assemble and does not take up much space, and let’s face it, the need for a massive barbecue in any Irish garden is limited due to the miserable summers we tend to have. It is made with a black porcelain enamel bowl and lid and comes with a “weather-proof handle” – plastic to you and us. You get more than 20 per cent less cooking area than the oil drum, and no warming tray. It is also supposedly selling in Woodie’s at a discount of €20. The full price, would be, we reckon, ridiculous.
Verdict: Too dear.
Star rating: **
OMAHA CHARCOAL KETTLE €49.99
We reckon the full price of the Weber barbecue is ridiculous because of this product. It does not have the brand recognition, but that hardly matters when it comes to a product that will only be used sporadically. As with the Weber, the bowl and lid are porcelain enamelled, and like its rival, it has two shelves underneath the bowl that can be used to stack plates or, more likely, barbecue detritus. The bottom line, however, is the bottom line. At €49.99 this is half the price of the Weber when it’s not on special, and three barbecue implements are thrown in for good measure. The cooking area is bigger too, which gives us more scope to burn our food and render it inedible.
Verdict: Good value.
Star rating: ****
There is nothing we like about this product. Okay, it is very portable so you can bring it with you on a picnic – which you probably would not manage with the oil drum – and the investment is comparatively small. And it will light handily enough and cook a small amount of food. But a tenner is a tenner, and that is too much to pay for a few chunks of charcoal, a flimsy grid and a foil tray. Then there is the irritating sexism on the box. “Mum’s night off! Let’s barbecue!” Because only women cook and men barbecue, right? Wrong.
Star rating: **