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Outback Omega 200 Charcoal review - a BBQ with workflow

Maggie Holland
16 Jun 2016
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
140
inc VAT (as of 16th of June)

The Outback Omega 200's shelves are really handy but the cooking area is relatively small

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Specifications

Fuel type: Charcoal, Cooking area: 500x360mm, Dimensions (HxWxD): 120x660x1020mm, Accessories: none, Warranty: one year Buy Now from Amazon

The Outback Omega 200 has a very different design to the other barbecues I cooked on. Aside from the "hooded" body (it has an attached, hinged lid) it has work space either side and storage underneath, making it both physically larger but more practical. This design is common for gas barbecues, but less often found amongst their charcoal cousins. Nonetheless, I can't see any reason why this design is more suited to one fuel than another.

Assembly and build quality

The Outback is a slightly more complex design than some of other models I've seen. Having said that, it was relatively easy to build once I'd constructed the rather awkward shaped leg assembly. For the most part, the Omega 200 is nicely finished and quite sturdy, with good assembly instructions and nicely labelled parts, notes and fixings.

I did have a slight issue with our test model though, as the lid didn't quite sit straight, so would not close completely, though this was only a problem restricted to our review model. Aside from this the Outback was well made and finished.

Looks and style

The additional shelves makes the Omega 200 completely different from most models I've tested. The shelves on each side of the grill and underneath both add to this barbecue's looks and practicality. The gloss enamel painted body of the barbecue and the nicely finished wood shelves and the chunky handle add up to a stylish and good-looking product.

In use and features

The size of the Omega 200 is deceptive as, in reality, the grill itself is relatively small and really only`caters for two to four. Even when using the upper grilling rack hinged from the lid, this barbecue was on the lower end of the capacity scale. The coal grate is also small, taking an absolute maximum of, and ideally less than, a kilo of charcoal. Having said this, I did find that the Omega 200 stayed hotter longer than most other barbecues I've seen.

Although the longer cooking time meant I could cook in two batches, once fired up, the Omega's grill grate quickly became crowded, and was too small to create direct and indirect zones - the latter for more delicate, or slower cooking foods. There's the upper rack of course, but that really only keeps food warm.

When I did cook food in batches, the other main selling point of the Omega 200 really came into its own: the shelves on each side. It provides you with a real workflow, with prepped food ready to cook to my left, while I served hot food to eat on my right.

It was at this stage I noticed what can only be described as a minor, but noticeable niggle. On the outer edge of the left shelf is a set of utensil hooks whereas, on the right shelf there's a handle. Bearing in mind only ten to fifteen percent of people are left handed, the utensil hooks are simply on the wrong side. This may not seem significant, but I found it to be a bit of a waste of a nice feature, that could be so useful.

Cleaning and storage

When it comes to cleaning, less is invariably better, and this holds true for the Omega 200. The cooking and coal grates, as well as the ash collection box that sits in the bottom, all fit easily into even a streamline dishwasher. The porcelain enamel coating also helped to keep scrubbing to a minimum, and the corners, nooks and crannies were no more difficult to get to than on the bigger barbecues I reviewed.

When it comes to storage, due to the shelves and the cart, the Omega 200 wasn't as compact as a kettle barbecue. Unless the shelves were removed every time, and not many people would want to have to unscrew them after every use, the Omega 200 needs either a cover or floor space in a big shed, conservatory or similar to protect it from the elements.

Conclusion

The Outback Omega 200 charcoal is a nice-looking and well-made barbecue. This model is arguably better suited to smaller families or couples, due to the limited cooking space. The additional shelves certainly made outdoor cooking less of a chore, while the improved workflow they bring mean you should be able to cook for more if you're willing to take the time. The only downside is that it's hard to setup different temperatures across the grill but if you stick to the classics this probably won't both you. For other options see our Best BBQ 2016 roundup. 
Buy Now from Amazon

Physical
Fuel typeCharcoal
Cooking area500x360mm
Dimensions (HxWxD)120x660x1020mm
Weight26.5
Features
Controllable ventsYes
Cooking height adjustmentNo
ThermometreNo
AccessoriesNone
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Detailswww.outbackdirect.co.uk
Part CodeO/B370513

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