It may take a while to assemble, but the ease of use, cooking results and impressive cleaning system, will make you want to barbecue more often, whether it’s for just your family, or a small garden party.
Heats up quickly and stays at a consistent temperature
Easy to use
Easy to clean
Includes side burner
Versatile modular system, allowing interchangeable cookware
Fiddly and time consuming to assemble
By Bethan Davis
As soon as the sun makes an appearance in Britain, it brings with it a surge of people rushing to the shops to purchase barbecue food. My family are no different and it’s safe to say that my partner would barbecue all our meals if he could! We have been looking for a gas barbecue for a while now, to replace an old, rusty, but well-used kadai, so we were thrilled when the Campingaz 4 Series Premium S Barbecue appeared on our doorstep.
We have lived in our current house for just over a year, but have not had the chance to host more than a handful of people outside. We decided to give the barbecue a really good first test, with a gathering of 20 people – kids, adults, picky eaters and vegetarians!
I was interested to see if we could comfortably cater for this many people, how quickly we could serve the food and if there was enough room to keep the meat away from the vegetarian options. I was also hoping that with the Campingaz InstaClean Aqua System, I would save time clearing up, when I’m usually having to scrub grill pans and trays. The verdict? This is one of the best BBQs you can buy, although assembly is a struggle.
Campingaz 4 Series Premium S: specs
- Fuel type: Gas
- Burners: 4 main and 1 side burner
- Dimensions: 64 x 135 x 119cm (closed)
- Weight: 66kg
- Assembly time: 3 hours
- Grill surface: 46 x 72cm
- Extras: Side burner, warming racks, utensil hooks, side table, InstaClean Aqua pro technology, grease drip trays.
The weekend after we received the Campingaz 4 Series Premium S BBQ, I arrived home to find my partner and two kids in our lounge, surrounded by bits of barbecue. Eager to try it out, he had decided to attempt to put it together on his own, whilst supervising our pre-schooler and 10-month-old.
So needless, to say, he was a bit flustered, but had managed to put it together on his own, although the assembly instructions do recommend using two people for some steps.
Unlike some manuals, the instructions don’t give an indication of how long it would take to assemble the barbecue, but it is broken down in to 28 steps. These are in the form of quite detailed illustrations, with each new part to be added, highlighted in red. You start by constructing the frame and then build the rest on top, finishing with the cleaning accessories and my partner found the instructions easy to follow and said they were clear and concise. He did however find that some of the screws were challenging to align and screw in. This made assembly more challenging and time-consuming than he first thought.
It took him the whole afternoon to put the barbecue together, but that was with breaks to attend to the children. He believes that if he had just been focussed on that task, it would have taken him about three hours. He found it easy enough to assemble on his own, but did say that if I’d have been doing it, I may have needed some help when it came to lifting and aligning some of the heavier parts. (I didn’t take offence to this as he is a 6ft 4 burly bloke and I often have to ask for his help with heavy items!).
What is the Campingaz 4 Series Premium S like to use?
The gas BBQ comes on four rubberised castors, which makes moving it very easy. Between the two of us, we wheeled it through our lounge and out through the patio doors. It is quite heavy, but it feels very sturdy and everything fits together snuggly.
Even the best gas BBQ doesn't come with its own gas cyclinder, so we had to source this from our local B&Q, along with a regulator and gas hose. The gas was easy enough to connect and all we had to do was push the hose on to the circular connector provided and tighten the clamp with a screwdriver. We also needed to insert a battery (provided), to power the ignition. The last step was to fill the two water trays which are located below the grill. These are part of the InstaClean system, so it’s not essential to use them to operate the grill, but is recommended to help with easy cleaning later. Following these last few steps, the barbecue was now ready to use.
Cooking on the Campingaz 4 Series Premium S gas BBQ
When using the Campingaz 4 Series Premium S Barbecue for the first time, the instructions recommend heating it up with all its burners on the full flow position, with the lid closed for about 30 minutes. This eliminates any odours if there is residual coating on the new parts.
To light the barbecue, you open the gas valve and like a gas cooker, turn the control knobs to full flow and press the ignition. This makes a clicking sound and the burner should light straight away, or after a few seconds. As this was the first time cooking, we left the barbecue for the suggested 30 minutes and then started to cook.
As we were cooking for some vegetarians, we found that the grilling space was more than adequate to keep the meat and vegetarian items separate. We cooked all of our favourite BBQ recipes, so burgers, sausages, halloumi, veggie burgers, veggie sausages and corn on the cob.
A handy feature of the Campingaz Series 4 Premium S, it that it has a large warming rack above the grill, so as soon as the food was ready, it could be kept warm until our guests were ready to eat (or come back for seconds!). This can also be used as an additional grilling area when using the barbecue with the lid closed, like an oven.
As well as the main grill, the barbecue also has a side burner, much like a gas hob, on which a saucepan or small frying pan can be placed, to cook additional items. This is lit in the same way as the main burners. We found that this was perfect for frying onions, which we would normally have cooked inside beforehand. It was great being able to cook everything outside and a lot more convenient.
We managed to cook everything in two rounds, filling and emptying the main grill pans. There is room to cook about 30 burgers on the grill pans, whilst keeping the same number of sausages warm on the warming racks.
The Campingaz 4 Series Premium S boasts that it uses its ‘Blue Flame’ power system to keep food juicy and crispy. This works by generating delicate water evaporation from the water drawers below the grill, which helps to keep food succulent as well as gaining the crispiness you’d expect from barbecued food.
I must admit that the burgers especially tasted a lot better than when we’ve cooked them on the kadai. We also found that we didn’t overcook items, or char them on the outside to find them still pink in the middle, like you can often do with sausages on a charcoal BBQ. The only criticism my partner had was that he missed the smoky flavour you get from cooking on charcoal.
Cleaning the Campingaz 4 Series Premium S
The worst part of cooking outdoors is usually working out how to clean a BBQ quickly and efficiently, especially if you’ve played host to a group of people. Grill pans are usually one of the worst items to try and clean, as the grease is usually baked on and it takes a good deal of time and effort to get them sparkling again. Campingaz uses its patented InstaClean Aqua technology, to make cleaning 'a piece of cake'.
By filling the grease drawers with water before cooking, any residual food waste and grease is captured by the drawers, reducing risk of flare-ups and grease being baked on to the material. A small amount of water evaporates from the drawers during cooking, which also acts as a grease repellent. Campingaz claims that this means you do not need to scrub the grill parts, just rinse them in hot, soapy water. I was interested to see if this was true and just how much easier it was to clean than our kadai.
To start with you wait for the barbecue to cool down completely, then open the grease drawers until you reach the lock position. Help with this is shown in some illustrations in the instructions. You then open the door below, which has a cradle with a grease evacuation container fitted to the door. You remove the drain plug from the grease drawer by unscrewing it completely. The water then drains out into the container and the filter on top catches the blobs of grease and food residue. You then simply empty the containers and dispose responsibly of the grease and food. The grease drawers can be completely removed if you need to clean them more thoroughly and you can use sand in them instead of water if you wish.
When it came to cleaning the grill pan, I sadly realised that this is not one of the ‘grill parts’ that can be cleaned using just soap and water, without scrubbing. The grill parts are the InstaClean elements that surround the burners. These are simply lifted out and do clean easily with soap and water. The grill pans require a stainless-steel barbecue brush, but can be placed in the dishwasher, or left to soak in soapy water. For stubborn grease, the instructions recommend a mix of white vinegar and water.
Additional features of the Campingaz 4 Series Premium S
The Campingaz 4 Series Premium S already comes with a host of features that make it stand out from your conventional charcoal barbecue and even similar gas barbecues. The Blue Flame power system is designed to offer accelerated pre-heating, whilst keeping the heat distributed evenly, ensuring significantly fewer flare ups. The burners are protected by the cast iron grids, which prevent juices and hot grease from collecting, which can result in an increase of the risk of flames. The water from the trays also assists with this, overall making grilling safer and easier.
In terms of storage, the barbecue has a Push2Fold side table to make the barbecue smaller in width. A simple push of a lever underneath the table, folds it down, whilst lifting it up locks it firmly back in place. The side burner does not fold down, but has a cover which you push to open and close. It has two steel doors underneath the grilling space where you can neatly store the gas cylinder and hooks for any utensils or accessories. A downside of the barbecue is that it does not come with a cover, so if you want to keep it protected and free from rain water, you will need to purchase a tailored cover from a Campingaz retailer. We haven’t bought a cover yet and noticed that the water trays do get full, following heavy rain.
There are a number of interchangeable accessories you can purchase to make cooking on the barbecue more versatile. These include a rotisserie, pizza stone, cast iron wok, paella skillet, or plancha griddle, (which after googling I found is a thick slab of cast iron, for cooking delicate foods such as scallops and asparagus). You can also purchase premium utensils, brushes, BBQ cleaners and stainless-steel cleaners.
Should you buy the Campingaz 4 Series Premium S?
We are really impressed with the Campingaz 4 Series Premium S Barbecue, so have rated it 4 and a half stars. It lost half a star due to it taking so long to assemble and the fact that we had to purchase extra items such as the regulator and hose. It’s easy to use, sturdy and the food tasted great. The InstaClean system is also such a simple but effective idea, cutting the time it usually takes to clean up.
Most other reviewers rate the barbecue highly, also averaging about four and a half stars. They agree that it takes a good deal of time to assemble, with some disappointed that it doesn’t come already assembled. But all agree that once it’s ready, it works well, it’s a good, solid unit and that the price tag reflects the quality of the BBQ.
In terms of price, it is expensive, but it does reflect the overall quality of the model and the size. The fact that we could cook easily for a large group of people, who all thoroughly enjoyed the food, makes the price tag worth it.
We would recommend the Campingaz 4 Series Premium S BBQ to anyone looking to switch to a gas BBQ and are hoping to purchase some of the accessories, so we can dine alfresco more often.
About this review and our reviewer
Bethan Davis is a PR Officer working in the tourism industry who lives with her fiancé and two small children. Her other half loves a barbecue dinner and was particularly excited to see how this premium gas model compares to his more rustic charcoal kadai.
As with all our reviews, the Campingaz 4 Series Premium S gas barbecue has been tested first-hand in her garden over a number of weeks, using it just as you would so you know exactly what you are buying. The products are given to us free of charge and we test them for as long as possible before sending them back to the brand, unless we are able to keep them. This means that we can continue to use the product which gives us the opportunity to return to our reviews for updating, so you can keep up-to-date with how it's fared over a period of time.
Bethan works in PR for the tourism industry and lives with her fiancé, toddler Danny, baby Finley and two cats, Jasper and Leo. She loves being in the garden, but prefers to spend her time relaxing there rather than gardening, so is always on the lookout for tools that will keep her space looking its best without take up loads of family time.
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