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BBQ Vs Oven: Which is Better For Outdoors?

The battle of BBQ vs oven has been debated for years. Which is better for grilling meats out in the great outdoors? While both are excellent choices for cooking meats, there are pros and cons for each. If you're still undecided about which style you prefer, compare the features and benefits of both types to help you determine which one is best for you.

Al fresco cooking is becoming increasingly popular, especially during the summer months. While some people are happy with a simple barbecue, many people want to go an extra step so that they can create even more beautiful dishes outdoors. You can now choose from a range of different extravagant barbecues and outdoor ovens. 

If you’re wondering whether a barbecue or an oven is better for outdoors, the answer is quite simple – it depends on what you’re cooking. A barbecue is great for cooking a huge range of meats. However, if you’re looking to cook a pizza, an outdoor oven is your best option. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at the differences between a barbecue and an oven, some of the things you can cook with each appliance, the types of outdoor ovens that you can buy, the types of barbecues that you can buy, and how to decide between an oven and a barbecue grill. 

Is a BBQ The Same As an Oven?

Outdoor ovens and barbecues both use coal or wood as fuel for a fire to cook food. They can cook similar foods, however, the cooking method is quite different. 

Outdoor ovens are designed to reach much higher temperatures than barbecue. They can also retain heat for much longer. You can cook a pizza in an outdoor pizza oven extremely quickly in around three minutes. Alternatively, you can leave meats to slow cook for a few hours. 

A person grilling.
Barbecues are most commonly used for grilling as it is fast and easy. 

Some barbecues have lids or doors that allow you to bake, roast, or smoke foods in a similar way to the oven. However, these aren’t as insulated so the time you can spend cooking is usually reduced. Barbecues are most commonly used for grilling as it is fast and easy. 

As you can see, there are several similarities and several differences between the two cooking appliances. 

Cooking With a Barbecue and Outdoor Oven

There are many things that you can cook with an outdoor oven or a barbecue. Below is a list of the most common foods that are cooked with each of these appliances:

Outdoor Oven

  • Pizza
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Grilled or baked fish
  • Slow cooked meats
  • Jacket potatoes
  • Freshly baked bread
  • Hot desserts 


  • Grilled chicken
  • Ribs
  • Burgers
  • Kebabs
  • Pulled pork
  • Sausages
  • Brisket
  • Grilled fish

Types of Outdoor Ovens

There are several different types of outdoor ovens. Below, we take a look at the various outdoor ovens that you can choose from. 

  • Brick Wood Fired Oven
  • Portable Outdoor Oven
  • Table Top Oven
  • Gas Outdoor Oven

Brick Wood Fired Oven

Brick wood-fired ovens are a classic, authentic outdoor oven that is perfect for cooking a range of things but, most commonly, pizzas. These feature an insulated brick dome that is perfect for getting to high temperatures that last for long periods. These tend to be quite large and can’t be moved around so will be a permanent feature. 

A preheat brick oven.
These tend to be quite large and can’t be moved around so will be a permanent feature. 

Portable Outdoor Oven

If you don’t want a permanent outdoor cooking feature, you may be more interested in a portable outdoor oven. These ovens usually come on wheels so can easily be moved from place to place. These ovens tend to be much smaller than permanent outdoor ovens though, and they also tend to retain heat for less time. On the upside though, they can heat up quite quickly. 

A small portable oven.
These ovens tend to be much smaller than permanent outdoor ovens.

Table Top Oven 

If you don’t have much room for an outdoor oven, then a tabletop oven could be the perfect alternative. There are several varieties of tabletop ovens that are insulated and lightweight, making them perfect for placing on any non-flammable surface. These ovens are stylish and heat up relatively quickly in around 25 minutes on average. 

Gas Outdoor Oven

Gas outdoor ovens are perfect for those who would prefer not to use wood or coal as fuel. These ovens provide better control over the heat but they still have high-performing insulation. However, they don’t produce any smoke so you can’t use them to create smoked dishes. 

Types of Barbecue

There are several different types of barbecues. Below, we take a look at the various barbecues that you can choose from. 

  • Stone and Masonry Barbecue
  • Charcoal barbecue
  • Gas barbecue 

Stone and Masonry Barbecue

For people who are really serious about barbecuing, a stone and masonry barbecue is most likely to best fit. These are permanent fixtures that take pride of place in your garden. They are extremely durable and can last for many years. Many of them include a chimney, so smoke is drawn away from the food more efficiently. 

A stone and MAsonry BBQ.
These are permanent fixtures that take pride of place in your garden.

Charcoal Barbecue

Charcoal barbecues are great for those who love the authenticity of using solid fuels. There are many things that you can cook on a charcoal barbecue and the traditional aesthetic is something that many people prefer. The only disadvantage of these barbecues is that they take quite a while to get going and you don’t have as much control over the level of heat. 

A grill on fire.
You don’t have as much control over the level of heat. 

Gas Barbecue 

A gas barbecue has many benefits. One of the main benefits is that it can fire up instantly and cook foods at an even temperature with no smoke. Gas barbecues often come with a lid so you can use the appliance for roasting. The only downside is that these barbecues don’t tend to get as hot, so you won’t be able to achieve the same charred, scorched, or crispy effect that you would with a fuel barbecue. 

How to Choose Between a Barbecue and an Oven

As you can see, there are several options for barbecues and outdoor ovens available. So how do you choose the right one for you? Below is a list of things to consider when choosing the right type for you:

What will you cook?

If you want smoked foods with crispy edges, then you should choose a charcoal or wood-fired oven, or a charcoal barbecue rather than a gas-powered appliance. 

How many people will you be cooking for?

If you are planning on hosting parties for large groups of people, then a brick oven will keep the heat going for long periods of time. If you’re only cooking for a few people, then a small oven or barbecue will suffice. 

Do you want to heat your patio?

If you would like to heat your patio while you’re cooking, then a charcoal barbecue is usually the best option as this gives off a lot of heat. 

Your garden space 

You will need to consider how much room you have in your garden when choosing the right outdoor appliance for you. If you only have a small space, then a large brick oven or barbecue wouldn’t be the best option. 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many benefits to outdoor ovens and barbecues. When it comes to choosing which one is best, this will depend on various factors including the size of your garden, the type of foods that you want to cook, and the number of people that you are cooking for. 

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