Smoking hot: eight great barbecue cookers

Best in class: Barbecue cookers

Big Green Egg

1. The Big Green Egg (BGE), a ceramic kamado-style cooker, has developed such a fan base that it is known as the Aga of the outdoors. Its moist heat delivers tender, delicious bites. The small (13 inches in diameter) BGE weighing a hefty 40kg costs €800. The medium (15 inches) is €1,399 and is set on a metal legstand. The large one (about 18 inches) can fit eight steaks at once and weighs 75kg. It is by far the most popular seller, in part because it can accommodate a beer can chicken or even the Christmas turkey. With a metal legstand it costs €1,599. The extra-large BGE (24 inches) is set upon a table rather than metal legs and costs €2,899. Investing in a convector to create oven-like conditions within the unit is an additional €89.99, while another useful accessory is a pizza stone, €69.99. In the image the BGE has been styled to sit atop a custom-built station but The Garden House, Malahide counsel against setting the egg onto any wooden surface as the base gets relatively hot.

2. The Ozpig is a campfire cum cooker all rolled into one. Developed in Queensland, Australia it is a portable device you can take camping or to the beach. You can bake with it, chargrill, deep-fry, cook on a wok, use to do rotisserie or just boil the kettle for a cuppa. Its screw-in legs mean that the fire is safely off the ground and minimising the chance of inadvertently starting a fire. The cute design also has a tall chimney to siphon off smoke. It costs €299 from A Room Outside, which has stores in Limerick and Wexford.


3. Danish grill maestros Morso has just launched its first gas-operated grill. The Forno has a moulded aluminium outer shell and solid cast-iron grilling grid with a helpful integrated temperature gauge and rotary ignition, making lighting easy. It has a slick contemporary globular shape that includes a high-dome hood that can fit large joints of meat, all solidly supported by four splayed legs. The minimalist and heatproof handle makes it easy to use. It can be set atop a table or on a trolly on wheels so you can bring the barbecue to you. The tabletop design costs €743 from TJ O'Mahony in Ballymount, Dublin.;


4. If you want to go the whole hog, Swedish brand Roshults offers a super sleek set-up barbecue grill in stainless steel that has been given auto-industry level rust protection. Designed by architect duo Mats Broberg and Johan Ridderstråle, the barbecue comes in a variety of sizes and features thick stainless steel grates that store heat and give the characteristic grilling stripes. The fat and oils that drip through the grill are collected in a removable bottom tray that can be filled with sand and easily cleaned and disposed of after use. A full outdoor kitchen, as pictured, which includes a four-burner barbecue, sink, sideboard and trolly, and in either gas or charcoal versions, will respectively cost €12,680 and €11,260, excluding delivery and installation, through Dublin design store Minima Home. The design duo's range for the brand also includes a slick-looking pizza oven in steel, marble and wood and also available through Minima and the brand's website. Minimahome;


5. If your outdoor space is really tight then a tabletop grill might be just the answer. Bridgman's Red Devil is a ceramic cooker that has incredible heat insulation. This 30-cm diameter design doesn't get as hot as traditional metal barbecues, which makes it safer to use, especially if you have children around. The striking red coloured shell looks good and wipes clean. Inside residual heat burns away any left-over grease, which can then be brushed away with a bristled brush for easy maintenance. Normally about €585, ex delivery from UK-based Bridgman, it is currently reduced in its summer sale to about €450, ex delivery.

Bridgeman tabletop Red Devil

6. Architect Sandra O'Riordan of O'Carroll O'Riordan is a big fan of Spanish outdoor oven brand Josper, which is considered to be one of the hottest barbecues available and favoured by upmarket restaurants and hotels. It has a front door that, when closed, keeps the natural moisture from escaping. It works as a grill but can also be used as an oven. O'Riordan has imported several directly from the Barcelona-based firm to form the centre point of her signature outdoor kitchens, a trend that is gaining popularity. The domestic HJX20 is the baby of the bunch and sits on a table. It costs from about €7,990, ex delivery. Prices for the most popular mid-range HJX45 start at about €14,286 through UK agents Jestic.;;


7. This new Pulse by barbecue brand Weber is electric rather than the traditional charcoal or gas and while grill masters may scorn its lack of nuance it will appeal to anyone living in an apartment block or townhouse set-up where you don't want the smoke from your brunch or evening meal blowing on to neighbours' balconies and terraces. The fact that it's electric will dial down the amount of smoke it generates. You don't even have to stay toiling over a hot stove. You can also sync its thermometer to an app and it will notify you when the food is done. It comes in two sizes; the 1,000 has one burner and costs €699; the 2,000 version has two burners and comes with a cart and costs €999 at Arboretum garden centres in Co Carlow and Kilquade, Co Wicklow. It is also on sale at other good Weber outlets.;

Weber Pulse

8. If you don't want to commit to the full-time care of a barbecue you can just rent one when the weather forecast is good. Caterhire's Masterchef is one of the easiest grills to use and is ideal for anyone who fancies having friends round but has no interest in ownership or investment. Rentals of the fold-away unit have more than doubled during this hot spell, says MD Gavin Divilly who also counsels you to set it up where a soft breeze can help carry away the smoke but away from a chilling wind that will cool food. A simple drain hole lets grease flow into a container below. The grill can be wheeled into position and costs from €89 to hire. Best of all Caterhire will do the end-of-the-party cleaning and heavy de-greasing. What's not to like?

BBQ from Caterhire