The Broken BBQ: Australia’s Unspoken Shame

The Broken BBQ: Australia's

The fate of the Broken BBQ is a blight upon the shores of this great country of ours. An injustice that everyday goes unspoken. It is a travesty that must be remedied as soon as possible. 

A barbecue is a sacred thing. We welcome them into our homes. We build them. We breath their fiery life into them. We spend coutless hours pouring our love into them to feed our loved ones. We experiment and learn with them. In short, they become part of the family. So why is it then that the broken bbq ends up out on the kerb come hard-rubbish day, only to be picked apart by scavengers? To understand this, we first need to understand the issues.

This was one of the better ones...
This one's even been away on holidays with the family...

You get what you pay for

This is the first reason. In our modern age, we love a bargain. Myself included. Unfortunately so do manufacturers. We love to save money and they love to make money. The end result is that want things at cheaper prices and the only way to make this possible is to use lower quality components and move manufacturing to cheaper regions. The end result is that we have BBQs that have been made from lower quality components by people with less skills using cheaper tools. BBQs that will soon become just another broken bbq.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘But it’s so expensive to buy an Australian or American built pit’. However, I’d like to pose this question: is it better to buy a $500 pit 10 times over 20 years, or buy a $2000 pit once which will last you 20 years? I’m afraid I’m a bit of a greenie so the idea of buying something once appeals to me. That said, the argument should still appeal to those of you who are hardcore capitalists, though I guess it depends if you are the manufacturer or the consumer.

This poor guy's been decapitated...
This one's still got hot plates at least...


Do you remember when your parents used to say things like ‘If you don’t take care of it then you won’t have nice things’? The same applies here. The second underlying issue behind the fate of these fiery family members is compounded by the first.

The broken BBQ has typically had a very, very hard life. It is religiously cooked on, rarely cleaned, and stored uncovered and exposed to the elements. How is this a problem?

Firstly, use equals wear and tear. That’s unavoidable. However, a lack of cleaning can lead to several problems. In terms of the degradation  of our favourite friends, marinades have sugars, vinegars and other assorted acidic ingredients, which despite being tasty, aren’t so good for our pits. Not to mention all the salt that we love to put in our recipes. They don’t react well with metal. Particularly cheap, poorly crafted metal.

Looks like the outdoor furniture has suffered the same fate...
Looks like the termites got the better of this one...

Secondly, storage is most definitely an issue. Particularly if you live in a coastal area, which 82% of Aussies do. Too many barbecues have clearly been left exposed to the elements. Between the rain, the baking sun and the salt air, it’s little wonder that the broken bbq just can’t hold up. But there’re steps you can take to ensure that your beloved ‘Q can last as long as possible.

The Solutions

The first thing that you can do is buy locally made or at the very least from a reputable brand. They may be more expensive but you can save a lot by buying used: they’ll still be a better value proposition than the cheaper options. Start with Gumtree or Craigslist. I need to make one point clear here: while driving around taking these photos, I never once came across a broken bbq that was locally made, or one from one of the big brands. I think that says a lot.

Not even electrical tape could save this one...
Poor little guy...

Secondly, you need to heed your parents’ advice and take care of your things. Regular cleaning costs not much more than your time and can take care of things that cause rust, which seemed to be a big cause of the ousting of many of these ‘Qs. As well as this, regular cleaning will also help you avoid nearly blowing up your house.

Also, invest in a good quality cover. If your ‘Q isn’t stored in a garage or shed then it definitely needs a heavy duty cover. Standard covers from experience, shred at the first sight of wind but they’ll be great for use as dust covers if they’re stored inside. A good quality heavy duty cover might cost as much as $50 but they’ll double the life expectancy of your loved one.

The road ahead is clear. Spending more upfront and buying locally or from a major player will save you money and heartache in the long term. Failing this, showing some respect and love to your ‘Q will see it stay fit and healthy for much longer.

Either way, this epidemic of ‘Qs on kerbs needs to come to an end. It’s a matter of national pride.

This one just broke my heart...




3 thoughts on “The Broken BBQ: Australia’s Unspoken Shame

  1. if the body of the BBQ is still in OK condition, in Canada, you can buy parts to replace rusted out burners and Grills, I suspect it might the same in Aussie land, is it not?

    1. It depends on the brand, and the part. In my gas BBQ the flame tamers have rusted out. I’ve been back to where I bought it and they don’t stock any replacement parts. I’ve searched for a website for the brand and they don’t even have a website. Just massive bulk imports I think…

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