If you follow my Instagram account, you’ll know how fond I am of having a barbeque in Australia. (Don’t follow me already? Find me here!)
We have a Weber gas BBQ at home on our deck and use it all the time. We bought the gas BBQ when we were living in the UK as we knew a Weber BBQ was a solid investment and it was something we planned on getting a lot of use out of. Unfortunately, in the UK we didn’t get to use it as much as we would have liked but we loved it so much that we shipped it to Australia when we moved as we knew it would be the perfect Australia bbq for our new home. It has been a really good product that has lasted us well given the amount of use it gets (we barbecue in Australia at least once a week and usually more in summer!) and I’m a huge fan of the Weber BBQ brand. It will come as no surprise that they are a strong contender for the best portable BBQ in Australia but there are other brands to check out too, especially if you’re looking for a cheap small BBQ in Australia to get you started and see how much you’re going to use it!
Since moving to Australia, we’ve spent a lot of time cooking food on the outdoor BBQ at our local park and at the beach too. We love cooking outdoors and it’s really handy to be able to take food so we can finish our day out with some food cooked on a free BBQ hotplate at a park (it does take a bit of planning as you need to think ahead and pack up a big cool bag full of food to cook and all of your BBQ cooking gear, but it’s still worth it and it makes a perfect end to a day at the beach).
I love that the outdoor BBQs in public places in Australia are (mostly) free to use and are kept so clean. Recently though, we’ve been meeting friends at the beach and they have their own portable BBQ. Taking a small gas BBQ along for our days out together has been a game-changer as it opens up so many more places – owning a mini barbeque means you’re no longer tied to going somewhere that has a bbq point because you can just grab your small BBQ out of the car boot and set up where you like! But where do you begin when it comes to choosing the best portable gas BBQ in Australia?
I’m updating this post about the ‘best portable BBQ Australia 2021‘ at a time when the world looks like a very different place to when I first wrote it. Now more than ever, it’s great being able to take your own little BBQ with you. You don’t need to wait in a line to cook on a public beach BBQ, you don’t need to worry about whether the surfaces around you are clean – you can go anywhere you like and know that you’re safe in your own little BBQ bubble! I think if you were on the fence about shopping for the best portable bbq before, the current situation is likely to be a reminder about why now is the best time to invest in the best Australian barbeque for days outs.
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Why spend money buying the best small BBQ in Australia when there are free bbqs everywhere?
We’ve lived happily for years in Australia without owning a portable grill or camping cooker. A portable BBQ is by no means an essential piece of kit. We don’t camp (rather I don’t camp unless it’s a glamping site with all the mod cons that include a toilet and a real bed!), so shopping for the best portable BBQ for camping in Australia was never really on our agenda.
We’ve always been happy using the free public BBQ and they are fabulous. However, there are a few things that I’ve recently come to love about the experience of cooking on your own camping BBQ or outdoor portable BBQ…
If you love camping, be sure to check out this post about camping essentials where I talk about the best camping BBQ in Australia plus lots of other camping gear recommendations with contributions from lots of travel bloggers.
Reasons to own the best portable BBQ…
You know where your own small BBQ has been and how clean it is.
While the council does an amazing job of keeping the public barbeques clean, sometimes we arrive to cook on one of the BBQ hotplates and it hasn’t yet been cleaned and the people before us may have left it in a mess. Even when we cook on them and clean it up, we know we aren’t able to clean it as well as we’d like as often there isn’t a sink or water around so we’re relying on BBQ wipes and some bottled water and scrapers to clean it up.
You know exactly what has been cooked on your own small bbq and it is as clean as you make it! We don’t have any food allergies in our family, but we have friends whose child has a serious peanut allergy. We love cooking satay chicken when we BBQ at home, so I’m pretty sure that people with severe food allergies can’t use public BBQs because they don’t know what has been cooked on them before them. There’s a lot to be said for having your own small bbq and being in charge of cleaning it.
You don’t have to clean up right away when you have your own portable gas BBQ.
When we cook a beach barbecue on the free beach BBQs there are sometimes other people waiting to cook after us. And even if there aren’t, we always do our best to clean the bbq hotplate right away after finishing cooking in case anyone else comes along. This means our food goes cold while we spend time cleaning. If you have your own small bbq, you can just leave it, eat your food and either clean it after or take it home to clean rather than having it interrupt your day out. I love that it gives you that flexibility. It also means you can leave food keeping warm on your portable BBQ while you eat so you can come back and keep eating hot food (rather than needing to take everything off and to the table as you do with the free public BBQs).
You know your own small BBQ will work when you want to cook your BBQ.
With a public BBQ, you have no way of knowing if you’re going to get there and press the button to turn it on only to find that it doesn’t work. The local councils are really good at maintaining the BBQs here so it’s not often that happens but we have had it happen before. If you take your own small BBQ to the beach, you know it will work when you’re ready to cook!
I recently promised my kids we’d cook a BBQ at our local park and we got there with all of our stuff only to find that neither of the hotplates were working. We had to pack it all up and go back home again to cook the BBQ instead. Trust me, it’s not fun (the kids were absolutely gutted)! With your own portable gas BBQ or portable charcoal BBQ, you know it’s going to be ready to work when you need it!
The convenience of being able to cook your portable BBQ outside your accommodation when you’re on holiday.
Even though I’m not a camper, we often stay at holiday parks in cabins or apartments, and during our holidays we always cook a meal on the resort BBQs. As I’m carrying our gear to the shared BBQ area, I always see families gathered around their own portable camping BBQs cooking, sitting on their camping chairs and drinking a beer outside their tent, caravan or unit and it makes me jealous! The idea of being able to set up your small BBQ outside your accommodation is just so convenient – it saves so much fetching and carrying to and from the shared area (which can sometimes be a long walk from your apartment)!
You can eat anywhere you like when you bring your own camping stove or portable bbq to cook on.
I think this is the biggest game-changer around with owning a small bbq – when you have your own portable gas BBQ or portable charcoal BBQ, you can decide where and when you want to cook and eat. You are no longer tied by the restrictions of where the public BBQs are based or whether there are people using them already. This means you can go to quieter places to enjoy cooking and eating your BBQ rather than having to go where all the people are. For me, this is the main reason to do some research and buy the best portable bbq in Australia now as you’ll get so much use out of it!
Types of small BBQ or portable cooking facilities available
There are three main options for you to choose from when you start looking at buying a small bbq/camping BBQ:
A portable BBQ
You can get a mini BBQ/small portable BBQ/camping BBQ – this does pretty much everything you could need. They have a grill for cooking and some have a hotplate area too (great if you like cooking up sliced vegetables or eggs). If they don’t come with a hotplate, you can usually buy one as an add-on or you can use a frying pan on them too ( which is how we cook pancakes for breakfast at the beach!)
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Who has a portable bbq? We usually cook on the free beach bbqs but after enjoying breakfast out with our friends this morning cooked on their @zieglerbrown #ziggybbq I really want to buy one for beach days. It was so lovely cooking pancakes ???? and bacon ???? on our own bbq and not worrying about how long it took, who was waiting or worrying about cleaning it right away. It made such a difference to the day. Do you cook on the free bbqs or take your own to the beach or park for days out? ???? ???? ???????????? Which brand of #portablebbq do you own? Would you recommend it? #bbq #beachbbq #barbecue #barbeque #grill #ziggy #cooking #eatoutdoors #makingmemories #childhoodunplugged #beachdays #daysout #familytime #pomsinoz #expatadventures #pancakes #lazysunday
Portable BBQs can be either a gas BBQ, a charcoal BBQ or even an electric BBQ, so it’s important to think about where and when you’re planning on using it. A gas BBQ is flexible – you take your own small gas bottle with your BBQ which means you can cook anywhere. An electric BBQ really limits your options as you need access to electricity, and a charcoal BBQ takes a long time to get the coals ready and also takes time to cool down when you’re ready to clean up. While I always think a portable charcoal bbq makes the best-tasting food (who doesn’t love food cooked on a charcoal barbie?!), I also find it a faff as I like the convenience of a small BBQ powered by gas.
Please note: During total fire bans in Australia you cannot use charcoal BBQs (even portable charcoal BBQs). There are also some restrictions around using gas BBQs too during a fire ban – read this post for more advice and check out this post about the dangers of bushfires in Australia and being prepared for an emergency situation.
A camping cooker/camping grill
The other option is you can get a camping stove / camping grill / camping cooker. These can offer a stove burner or a grill and stove top. These are good for heating things up, or for cooking sausages and bacon. They offer a fairly flexible option, but don’t be fooled into thinking you can’t do all of this and more on a portable bbq as you absolutely can and a portable BBQ will likely be more powerful and more durable too. You’d be surprised that you can even cook a full roast dinner on a portable BBQ, so for this post our focus is going to be on portable BBQs as I think it is a more flexible option than even the best camping stove.
>> Shop for camping stoves on Amazon Australia
Finally, you have the option of small disposable BBQs which you light and cook on and then throw away. These have advantages in that you don’t need to clean them and they get ready really quickly once you light them. The big downsides are that they are such a waste to the environment – you throw the whole thing away after one use and the foil tray is not environmentally friendly. Not to mention the risk around starting fires (and as I mentioned above, be aware of fire bans). They lose their heat really quickly too, and if you cook outside often like we do, they would end up costing you a small fortune. There are a lot of restrictions around where and when you might be able to use them given the fire risk in Australia. Personally, I think for an Australian BBQ day out they are a terrible idea!
It’s a good idea to think about what you want from a small BBQ before you go to the BBQ shop or start looking for the best small BBQ online. For us, a small gas BBQ offers the ultimate flexibility for family days out.
Choosing the best portable BBQ Australia has to offer
When you’re looking for the best small bbq, you need to accept that it will be a step down from your usual family BBQ grill at home (this is something I know my husband struggles with as he hates the idea of cooking on a small BBQ for our family of five but getting a full-sized BBQ just wouldn’t be doable for days out!).
A portable BBQ grill is not going to be as big or have all the bells and whistles that your regular BBQ offers and that’s OK. You’re going to be looking for different things in a portable small bbq too like durability, weight, grill size, handles and sturdiness. You also want the option of getting a BBQ stand so you can cook standing up and set it up wherever you like. Whether you want to find the best portable gas bbq for camping trips or for days out at the beach or park, you want an outdoor grill that is going to last you for the long term.
Gas-powered Weber grills
Weber grills are probably the best-known brand of BBQs around and many people will tell you they make the best Australian BBQ. Whether you’re looking for a portable charcoal grill to take for days out at the beach or a portable camping BBQ powered by gas that you can cook on for weekends away, they offer a range of solid products to choose from. I’m so happy with our big Weber BBQ and really do feel it is the best bbq brand around. Weber grills also come with a five-year warranty from the manufacturer for added peace of mind.
I love their tag line for the Baby Q series: Big enough to roast an entire chicken, yet compact enough to pack in the boot of your car. That is exactly what you want from the best portable gas BBQ Australia has to offer!
Best portable BBQ 2021: Weber Baby Q series
The Weber Q series comes in a variety of sizes. The two small BBQ options are:
- Baby Weber Q1000 (plus there is a Q1200 premium model)
- Weber Q2000 (plus there is a Q2200 premium model)
The Weber portable BBQ range of portable BBQ grills is called the Weber Q Series. The Weber Q barbies comes in a range of sizes with the Weber Baby Q1000 being the smallest. The Weber Q1000 offers a stainless steel burner, a durable cast aluminum lid and body, a lid that is cool to the touch and it’s a compact size without compromising on quality.
This mini Weber BBQ looks smart and stylish, while also having optional add ons such as a stand, add on hot plates and a cover so you can choose to expand your BBQ gear to suit how you plan to use it. I rank it as the best portable BBQ in Australia for so many reasons – it’s solid, durable, sturdy and will last you for many years. You can also get a Weber stand for it to make it much easier to use when out and about (I know lots of people who use their Weber Q as their main BBQ and just take it out and about when they need a portable BBQ. For my family, we’d find the Baby Q1000 too small as our main family BBQ though).
A small weber BBQ is a great way to still get a quality product while also choosing something portable that you can take out and about. The Weber Q1000 comes with an Australian standard 3/8″ gas hose and regulator, it weighs 10.75kg so is pretty easy to move around and it offers a powerful 9.0MJ/h quality solid stainless steel burner. It has a cooking area of 1200 cm2.
The premium version – the Weber Q1200 offers side tables, a built in thermometer, a taller lid for cooking bigger roasts and the igniter button is an electric ignition rather than mechanical. Personally, if I wanted to go for one with the side tables, I’d go the next size up for the Q2000 or Q2200 and get the larger sized cooking area which is more suited to larger families.
From the research I’ve done, the big benefit of having the thermometer with the premium models is you can quickly see when your gas tank has run out. As these small BBQs need a longer pre-heat (to heat the cast iron grill which then stays hot), the smaller gas canisters run out often (you can get an adapter that allows you to run it off a larger gas canister but then that is going to take up more room in your boot during your days out or camping trips). The thermometer will show you when this happens so you can quickly replace it (rather than waiting for ages wondering why it’s not yet hot!)
As a huge fan of Weber BBQs, the Weber portable BBQs are my choice of best portable bbq as I think they offer all of the features you need with a durable product and a brand you can trust. You can also get a range of Weber BBQ accessories like the cover, stand and cast iron griddle.
(Since originally writing this post a couple of years ago, I have since gone on to buy a Weber Q1000 for our family. You can read my full Weber Baby Q review here.)
If you’re looking for the larger sized Weber Q2000 (or the premium version Q2200), this product has a larger cooking area of 1800cm2 compared with the Q1000 series, and it offers a more powerful 12.7MJ/h burner. It’s much heavier though, weighing in at 16kg for the Q2000 and 16.5kg for the Q2200. This is the model for larger families assuming the extra size and weight isn’t going to cramp your style!
Gasmate is an Australian-owned company and they offer a range of fabulous small bbqs for camping, days at the beach or park trips. Gasmate BBQs are really good value so they’re a great way to get started with small portable BBQs in Australia without needing a big investment. It’s a great way to try out a portable BBQ and see if you’re going to get enough use out of it before throwing lots of money into investing in the best portable BBQ. This small BBQ also has a hotplate on one side so you can cook up a fried breakfast perfectly while on the go!
Best cheap portable BBQ: Gasmate Voyager Portable BBQ
The Gasmate Voyager Portable BBQ is a compact but sturdy option for days out at the beach. It has one burner, but it still offers a cooking area of 1600cm2 and has an output of 12mj/h. It offers an easy ignition and has a durable stainless steel burner. It’s a good option if you’re looking for a cheap portable BBQ that is compact as it weighs in around 9.1kg.
Charcoal grills suitable as camping BBQs in Australia
If you’re going to be using your portable BBQ for camping trips or going to be somewhere for a long day, then you might still be tempted to look for the best portable charcoal BBQ. There is something lovely about cooking on a charcoal grill – the smell is just so good and the food tastes that bit smokier. That said, it’s not for me as I love the convenience of a small gas bbq but if you’re set on the idea of getting a portable charcoal grill for days out then read on.
Best portable charcoal BBQ in Australia: Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
If you can’t get past the idea of finding the best small charcoal bbq, then I’m back to recommending Weber products again as the best portable charcoal BBQ in Australia.
This little portable charcoal BBQ is great for using as a camping stove if you’re not bothered about the convenience of a gas BBQ.
It’s easy to pack away and transport, it weighs only 2kg and has a porcelain enamelled finish that prevents rust.
Want to compare more of the best small barbeques in Australia?
Ready to go shopping for the best portable BBQ in Australia in 2010?
BBQ kit: Stock up on your essential BBQ accessories for your small portable BBQ
When you’ve chosen the best portable BBQ in Australia for your days out, you need the best BBQ accessories to match! Even if you’re undecided about whether to invest in a small BBQ yet, these BBQ kits and accessories are everything you need for cooking the ultimate BBQ – whether that happens to be on the free beach BBQs, on your own portable BBQ or at home.
These BBQ accessories are great to buy for yourself but they also make a great BBQ gift ideas if you’re struggling to think of something to buy for the BBQ lover in your life (I know I ALWAYS love getting BBQ gifts for Christmas!).
BBQ tool set to use with your portable grill
Everybody needs a BBQ tool set for cooking outdoors. This handy BBQ kit includes all of the essentials. It doesn’t matter how many BBQ cooking tools I have, the only three things I ever use are tongs, a fork and a spatula for flipping. Don’t waste money buying a huge kit with loads of tools – this BBQ utensils gift set has you covered with everything you need. It’s much better to buy a smaller set of BBQ utensils that are better quality as you will never need to replace them again.
Kebab skewer forks set with storage for your small BBQ
Without fail, our BBQs always have chicken kebabs and vegetable skewers on them. I also recommend getting some that come in a carry bag or tube otherwise you lose them all in your drawer (I speak from experience!).
BBQ grill mats to use at beach BBQs
BBQ grill mats make cleaning up after a bbq so easy. They are especially good for using on public bbqs as you just line the BBQ and cook right on the mat. It makes cleaning up so much easier and you need to worry less about cooking on a surface that might not be as clean as you’d like. When we’ve finished cooking we just lift it off the hotplate with a pair of tongs and put it in a plastic bag ready to clean when we get home. You can use them again and again and again (seriously, our mat is five years old and is still going strong!) Our BBQ is dishwasher safe too – winning!
BBQ cleaning utensils for your BBQ grill
Cleaning a BBQ is no fun but it’s an essential part of owning a BBQ. Clean your bbq with ease with this bbq brush and scraper to make the job as easy as possible.
Cleaning BBQ wipes for your portable BBQ
Whichever brand you choose, heavy-duty BBQ wipes are really handy when it comes to cleaning up or wiping down a public bbq or to keep your own portable BBQ clean. They’re so handy when you’re out on the go.
Keep food cool in Australia for your BBQ
If you’re planning a full day out before you start cooking, getting a large cool box/cooler/Esky is essential. I also find it really handy to get one on wheels so you can move it from the car to the BBQ area easily (although if you have a beach wagon then it doesn’t matter if it’s on wheels as you can just pop it in your wagon to move it around).
Picnic rug for your beach BBQ
A large picnic rug is an essential piece of kit for our days out to cook a BBQ.
Enjoy your days out with the best small bbq in Australia in 2021!
I hope this post has inspired you to go shopping for the best portable bbq so you can enjoy some family days out and make some amazing memories together!