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Our guide to the perfect BBQ, every time

The world of BBQing and grilling can seem a little intimidating, with lots of information out there. Even if you’re comfortable with the basics of your barbecue, it can be difficult to know how to take a step up to advanced techniques like smoking or the perfect way to roast different joints of meat.

At Big K, we think it should be easy for everyone to BBQ to perfection, time after time. Whether you’re just grilling a few sausages with your family, or cooking 8 different kinds of meat and vegetables for a big party, here’s a step by step approach to make sure you get it right.


Choosing the right charcoal for your BBQ is crucial. Quality charcoal produces consistently high temperatures that last long enough to cook everything you need. You’ll want to choose either lumpwood charcoal or briquettes. Here’s a quick summary to help you decide which one is right for you.

Lumpwood charcoal is made by burning wood in an oxygen free environment. The extreme heat removes all the water and contaminates until only pure carbon is left. Lumpwood charcoal lights a lot faster than briquettes. And it burns hotter and faster too.

If you are starting out, or a casual griller, lumpwood charcoal could be the best fit for you. Due to its faster burning time it is perfect for barbecuing the basics, such as steaks and burgers,for a few friends or family. Lumpwood also produces that ‘smoky’ BBQ aroma that we all love. Just so you know, all of our lumpwood charcoal is 100% natural and additive free.

Briquettes are made by filtering and collecting small pieces of charcoal and charcoal dust, which are then recycled into a finished briquette. The charcoal is crushed, usually mixed with a binder, and water is added. Then, the mixture is passed through a mould and compressed into a uniform briquette. Finally, the briquettes are dried.

For the more experienced and adventurous, briquettes are definitely the way to go. Slow and steady burn times compliment slow cooking and expert roasting perfectly. If you are hosting a large BBQ for many people, briquettes will also keep all your barbeques heated for longer – meaning that you can cook more mouthwatering food without having to refuel. 

Alternatively, if you need a quick and simple solution our instant light charcoal is ready for cooking in just 20 minutes. It also comes in individual paper bags, making things quick and easy to manage.

If you’ve not got a barbecue, or you’re just looking for a way to cook when you’re out at a picnic, try our range of disposable BBQ products. They’re clean and quick while still keeping the Big K quality you expect.

Hot Tip
Give your BBQ the VIP treatment with our range of restaurant grade charcoal. Superior burn time means more time for you to experiment with foods and flavours, and its quality controlled consistency gives you perfectly delicious results, time after time.

Featured products



    • 100% natural restaurant grade lumpwood charcoal
    • Ideal for home BBQers looking for superior grilling
    • Up to 2 hours cooking time
    • Easy to light and ready to cook within 30 minutes
    • High heat output
    • Sourced sustainably from an invasive bush in Namibia



  • Charcoal burns brightly at the base of a charcoal barbecue.



    • High quality briquette produced from waste coconut shell
    • Great performance with up to 3 hours cooking time
    • Super quick and easy to light
    • Low smoke, low odour
    • High heat output
    • Timber free product made from sustainable sources





    • 4 individual bags of FSC® certified instant light lumpwood charcoal
    • Ready to cook in just 15-20 minutes
    • No need for starting fuels
    • Up to 1 hour cooking time
    • Clean and easy to use, packed in dust proof bags
    • Simply light the bag





    • Premium grade 100% natural FSC® certified lumpwood charcoal
    • Used in restaurants, graded for large pieces to ensure consistent high heat
    • 90 minute burn time
    • Quick to light, ready to cook within 30 minutes
    • Burns cleanly with no additives
    • Ideal for home BBQs




Barbecues come in all shapes and sizes with specific features and characteristics. So it’s important to choose the right barbecue for you. There are a number of things you’ll need to take into account when choosing a barbecue, such as the size of your garden. This space will determine the storage area for your barbecue and therefore its overall size, as well as,the amount of food you’ll generally be cooking. As a rule, it’s a good idea to get the largest barbecue that you can sensibly fit in the space, without buying too large of a barbecue for the amount of food you’ll usually be cooking.

Larger barbecues give you more freedom to experiment with cooking methods and allow you to create space for indirect cooking, or even two-zone cooking. While you can get great results cooking on a simple open barbecue, barbecues with hoods or lids give you greater control over the cooking temperature. With this type of barbecue, you can close the lids to allow the temperature to build up inside, and control the temperature using vents or grills.
Hot Tip
You can do a lot more with your barbecue than just grill sausages. Experiment with indirect cooking, smoking or roasting. Read our guides to different barbecue cooking methods.

Featured products



    • Compact stainless steel charcoal barbecue
    • Great for tabletop cooking
    • Ideal for picnic and camping trips
    • 25 year quality guarantee on grill body
    • Fully dishwasher proof for easy cleaning
    • Includes grill body, cooking grate and charcoal tray



Tools and accessories

As well as your charcoal and barbecue, there are a number of tools and accessories that you’ll need to make your BBQ a success. For the basics, you’ll want a high quality spatula, tongs and a carving fork. It’s also helpful to have a brush for basting, and a sharp long handled knife. A meat thermometer is also an invaluable tool in your barbecuing arsenal as it allows you to check that your joints are properly cooked.

To add extra flavour to your food, try smoking chips. These chips can be added to any barbecue to add an authentic smoky flavour that enhances the taste of your food. Available in applewood, cherry, hickory and oak, these smoking chips naturally pair well with a huge range of meat and grilled veg. We think they are the perfect way to really wow your friends and family. For best results, soak the wood chips in water before adding them straight to the charcoal.

Hot Tip

Rotisserie is a traditional barbecue method that’s perfect for larger cuts of meat. Try battery or mains powered rotisserie kits for a consistent, smooth turn that makes rotisserie easy.

Featured products



    • Pack of 50 flat shaped 30cm bamboo skewers
    • Help turning and stop food spinning
    • Make it easier to master BBQ techniques
    • Suitable for cooking meat, fish or vegetables
    • Use in cooking or for skewers and kebabs
    • For best results soak in water for 30 minutes before use





    • 400g pack of 100% natural hickory smoking chips
    • Natural flavour enhancer for BBQs
    • 100% natural wood, burns cleanly with no chemical additives
    • Add a great smoky flavour to your food
    • Ideal for smoking or roasting barbecue methods
    • For best results soak in water before use





    • Natural firelighters for fires and barbecues
    • Produced from FSC® certified wood
    • Easy to light with minimal smoke and low odour
    • Made from small pieces of wood wool and wax
    • Safe and easy to use
    • Burn time of approx. 7 minutes




Now you’ve got your charcoal, barbecue and tools, it’s time to start experimenting. Your barbecue is a versatile and fun cooking tool, packed full of potential. With charcoal and accessories you can trust, you can start taking risks with your cooking as well as perfecting the classics. We’ve got a huge range of tasty recipes right here to keep your barbecue sizzling.

From spicy twists on traditional favourites to modern fusions, you’re bound to find something to set your taste buds on fire.

Barbecuing is all about flavour. Try rich marinades or rubs to add to the authentic smoky flavour of your charcoal, and you’ll be creating mouth-watering, succulent dishes in no time.

Hot Tip

Try different cooking methods for completely different tastes. Low and slow cooking creates deep, rich flavours and tender meats, while direct grilling gives you fiery, smoky flavours.

Tips and advice

Forget spending hours online looking for BBQ hints and tricks. We’ve put all the useful information you’ll need in one place. Our blog is full of tips and advice to turn you into a BBQ pro in no time. Learn to light, maintain and clean your barbecue, as well as how to get a head start on your preparations. If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between direct and indirect cooking, the best seafood dish for a summer BBQ, or innovative recipes for sausages, you’ll find all the facts and inspiration you need on our blog

Hot Tip

BBQs aren’t just a summer event. While the British weather might not be on your side, you can BBQ throughout the autumn and spring, even if you end up eating inside in the warm rather than al fresco.