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As summer arrives, covers come off barbecues all around the country. Unfortunately, if you haven’t maintained the barbie properly, this can reveal a rather sorry sight — cobwebs, an empty gas bottle, grease, grime and rusty hotplates.
If this is your experience, perhaps it’s time for a good overhaul, or even a brand-new barbecue. But when you're shopping for one, how can you tell which models will cook your food evenly? Should you choose a stainless steel finish? Is the thermometer on the hood actually accurate?
You'll find the answers in this report. We tell you what to look for in a barbecue, how to maintain them, how to cook the perfect steak — and we tell you which models are the best from our test of seven 4-burner gas barbecues with hoods.
For our test, our expert home economist, Fiona, cooked steaks and sausages on each barbecue, and also roasted chickens (with the hood closed) to see how well the barbecues cook. This test shows whether the barbecue delivers a good heat uniformly across all the cooking surface rather than getting too hot in one spot and too cool in another. She also assessed how easy the barbecues are to use, inclusing the accuracy of their thermometers.
Our test results give you clear, unbiased advice on which models are the best. And our useful tips on maintaining your barbecue will you make sure your barbie will still be sizzling your steaks for several summers to come.
Please note: this information was current as of November 2007 but is still a useful guide to today's market. For more recent information, see our Barbecues review 2011.
Video: How we test barbecues
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