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Must-haves to help you BBQ like a boss

Here's what you need for the perfect barbecue, from sausages to coolers and portable speakers.

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Last updated: 27 September 2019

Need to know

  • The best part of a barbecue is the perfect sausage sandwich – we tell you which sausages and bread rate the best in our tests
  • We put BBQs and coolers through their paces in our labs. Check out our tips and read detailed product reviews to make sure you get the best value for your money
  • You'll also need some tunes for your cook-up: we highlight some of the cheaper portable speakers we've tested if you're on a budget

It's that time of the year: the weather is warming up and the barbecue season will soon be in full swing. 

From barbecues and coolers to the best sausages and bread, here are our must-haves for the perfect barbie. 

Alice cooking the sausages

Sausages

The humble sausage is the cornerstone of any good BBQ. Selecting the right snag could save your bacon!

We compared bulk pack sausages from Coles, Woolworths and Aldi to find the best banger for your buck, and the winner was Woolworths, snagging (sorry) an impressive 45% of the vote.

Before you reach for that bulk pack of snags, though, ask yourself: are nitrates and nitrites bad for you? We've done the research and found that they're okay – in moderation. 

Wonder Wholegrain White Smooth Wholegrain

Wonder Wholegrain White Smooth Wholegrain is both nutritious and delicious, according to our expert testers.

Bread

You can't have a sausage sizzle without bread, but how do you know which one to choose? We've got you covered.

Wonder Wholegrain White Smooth Wholegrain topped our white bread reviews, scoring a tasty 80% for nutrition and 78% for taste – nutritious and delicious! 

And if you're catering for coeliacs, you can't go wrong with the gluten-free offerings from Coles and Aldi. Both scored 77% in our tests, even beating some regular bread products on taste and nutrition.

Cooler

Whether you call it an esky, a cooler, a chilly bin or an ice box, it's an essential ingredient for a perfect BBQ, both in your backyard and in the great outdoors.

They can cost a pretty penny though – the most expensive we've tested costs a cool $1100 – so you'll want to make the right choice so you don't end up with lukewarm drinks or a nasty case of food poisoning. 

Our coolers buying guide is full of hot tips for choosing the best esky for your needs, and we've got five hacks to help you get the most out of your esky or cooler.

Portable speaker

Having some sweet tunes will elevate your BBQ to legendary status. 

If you're on a budget, the JBL Go ($30) and Marley Chant Mini ($80) both scored well in our review of cheap bluetooth speakers

If you're after something with better sound quality, you'll want to check out our portable Bluetooth speaker review, which rates speakers on audio quality, range and ease of use. 

BBQ

The BBQ is usually the focal point of any backyard gathering, so it's vital to make a good choice. The 'steaks' are high: get it wrong and you're condemning your friends and family to a season of burnt snags and undercooked chicken; get it right and you'll be a BBQ hero. 

From a $150 electric George Foreman grill to a $2000 Weber, we've tested the gamut of BBQs to help you choose the best model for your needs. These are Australia's most reliable BBQ brands, based on our survey of more than 4100 CHOICE members.

What size BBQ should I buy?

  • Portable: Best for small balconies and outdoor spaces, or BBQ-ing on the go. Can be used on a tabletop, or may have detachable shelves.
  • Small: Larger than a portable; small enough for balconies. Suitable for cooking for around 4–6 people. 
  • Large: Good for large families and people who entertain often. It'll cost more, take up more space and need more cleaning and maintenance. Consider paying to have it delivered fully assembled, as it may require significant construction. 

How much should I pay for a BBQ?

  • Portable/small BBQs: around $200–800
  • Large backyard/entertaining BBQs: around $300–2500+

Regardless of which end of the market you're looking at, choose a BBQ with a solid construction that uses quality materials. 

CHOICE's expert barbecue tester Fiona Mair says: "I find that with barbecues, it's more likely that you get what you pay for." 

CHOICE tip: If you're looking at something like a multiple-burner stainless steel barbecue, press on the hood or side tables to test the quality – if the stainless steel yields or 'pops', it's possibly a sign of a cheaper model. 

"Barbecues that are well looked after will last much longer. Clean it after every use and ensure the fat tray is empty. You should also keep it covered when it's not in use – if you leave it exposed to the elements, you'll be wasting your money."

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