The Q from Weber has been mauling all-comers in the portable grilling stakes (or should that be steaks?) for years now, but can this fashionable young upstart deliver go-anywhere cooking in time for the great British BBQ season? We got grilling to find out.
Our review sample, in a rather fetching metallic green, certainly looks quite unlike anything on the market. The low profile clam shell design, chunky handle and fold away legs makes the entire barbecue skinny enough to hide out the way when not needed or tucked into the boot if you’re off camping/picnicking. It also comes in metallic blue or matt orange if you fancy something different.
The O-Grill measures 525 x 215 x 580mm and weighs 10kg so while you wouldn’t want to go hiking with it, it is more than light enough to move at will. Inside you get 1450cm sq of grilling surface which we think provides more than enough space for a hungry family of four if not more - we got a half a dozen burgers grilling nicely with room left over for a couple of veggie kebabs.
Set-up couldn't be easier - fold out the legs, open the grill, place the porcelain enameled cast iron cooking grill on the supports, connect the rubber hose to the gas tank, turn the big orange control knob and push the Piezo ignition. Our grill fired up first time, but if ignition does fail there’s a nifty match holder attached to a chain that makes lighting quick and above all safe.
The 3.2kW gas burner gives out roughly the same amount of heat as a large hob ring - more than hot enough for most cooking tasks. The grill took no more than 10 minutes to reach cooking temperature (enough to give us lovely griddle marks on our burgers) but we did find that the very middle and edges were cooler as they weren’t heated directly from the burners. This didn’t really hamper the O-Grill’s performance and once we worked out the differences we could shuffle food around to prevent anything from burning.
Charcoal purists may argue that using the O-Grill is no different to using a gas hob in the garden, but we’re begging to differ; the controllable heat and excellent porcelain cooking area was a real pleasure to use. Ok so the food lacked the flame-cooked smoky flavour of charcoal, but after a little fat dripped onto the burners and into the drip tray it started to smell like the real deal - and all minus the fuss, unpredictable heat and caveman-like guess work.
As for cleaning - the porcelain coating on the grill plate is super tough and scrubbed up easily. The drip tray that fits under the gas burners ring slides out easily and can simply be chucked in the dishwasher.
What’s not to like? Not much in fairness, but if we had to gripe, the construction could be beefier, especially for the price - the plastic casing, handles and controls feel too plasticy. The feet also feel a bit flimsy and while they did a sterling job we’d always make double sure the BBQ was on firm flat ground.
If you’re heading to a festival, love to camp, or just have a teensy garden, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better BBQ. The diminutive dimensions, cool styling and effortless controls make it a breeze to use just about anywhere, and while it’s expensive compared to a summer’s worth of service station bought one-heat wonders, it’ll last you for years and give you complete control over your cooking.
It might not please the traditionalists, but if you’re a fan of the impromptu alfresco gathering and don’t want, need, or have space for a huge great barbecue the O-Grill has to be worth considering. Large enough to keep a garden full of guests fuelled with sausages and small enough to hide in a cupboard come winter it’s close to the perfect compromise.
Now where’s that sunshine?