The true origins of the barbeque are unclear but Australians have certainly helped to push it to the fore in terms of a year round gourmet cooking appliance.

One of the latest designs to enter the Australian market is the Smeg 90cm stainless steel BQ90TA with rotisserie function from Omega Appliances .

This appliance is all stainless steel – from the lid and the body to the 5mm thick hot plate, griddle plates and warming shelf – it will not rust and will last for years. The entire appliance is designed to give fast responsive heat, evenly and efficiently.

This barbeque has been developed to produce food that is succulent and flavoursome – not charred, dry and tough. The lid of the barbeque should remain closed during direct and indirect cooking so that the natural flavour and moisture of the food is retained.

Direct cooking – used for sausages, steak and marinated chicken pieces – is when the food is placed directly over the burners.

Indirect cooking is the preferred option for cooking whole chickens or joints of meat where the food benefits from slower, longer cooking. In this case the food is placed in a baking tray in the centre of the barbeque with only the outer two burners on a low heat.

The wide, clear window in the lid of the appliance enables users to check on the progress of the dish without lifting the lid and losing valuable heat.

The Smeg BQ90TA barbeque features two removable cartridges each comprising four ceramic plates that can be washed whenever necessary. These plates are perforated in order to ensure even distribution of heat throughout the cooking surface – even to the extremities of the plate – and heat retention.

And below the ceramic plates are three 15.1 megajoule per hour horse-shoe burners – the shape of these is important as they too ensure even heat distribution to the furthest corners of the hotplate and griddle.

Clever convenience factors include a thermometer gauge from 0° to 300°C (with a ‘max zone’ for fast searing), infinitely variable heat control and separate ignition for each burner (no longer is there a need to light the first burner in order to ignite the third burner), and three individual drainer trays (one beneath each burner) that are easily removable for washing.

There are also flash tubes between each burner to conserve ignition energy (powered by a 9V AA battery).

On the culinary front, the Smeg barbeque offers a full rotisserie for cooking whole chickens and large joints of meat slowly and to succulent perfection. There is also a full-depth smoke drawer in which soaked and flavoured wood chips can be added – such as smoked, hickory, mesquite or citrus - to impart additional flavour to the food.

The Smeg BQ90TA barbeque is available nationally from appliance specialists and electrical retail outlets. The same model is also available mounted on a fully stainless steel trolley (BQ90TA/CA90TOP) with lockable forward castors, fold-out 520mm-wide benches and a storage basket and drawer.