Connect with us


The fire-powered business of barbecues



PHUKET: In Thailand you’re never far from a barbecue. A massive chunk of the ever-present street food is based on grilling different kinds of meat over an open fire. Still, Brad McElroy felt he wanted a barbecue of his own and decided to import one from his home country, the motherland of barbecue – Australia. That was 18 years ago and what started as a personal affair, grew into a full-time business that goes by the name of The Barbecue Store.

“I’m Australian and barbecue is a major part of our lifestyle, but when I was living in Bangkok I couldn’t find a proper barbecue,” explains Brad when asked about the origins of his business. “I decided to import one from Australia and then I thought it’s better to take two, because I knew that as soon as I get one, one of my friends is going to want one too. Even before they arrived, the second one was already given away.”

This is when Brad spotted the business opportunity and started selling barbecues from the garage of

his Sukhumvit apartment. Eighteen years later the Barbecue Store employs 20 people and has outlets in Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin and, of course, Phuket, where the company has been present for 17 years.

“The Phuket market is a bit seasonal, much more so than Bangkok, but it’s been growing steadily by 15 to 20 per cent a year. It’s a good market for us because there is a big number of expatriates living here as well as many expats living in Hong Kong, Singapore etcetera, who have property here and come visit a few times a year,” explains Brad.

In the beginning, it was mostly foreigners that The Barbecue Store catered to, but these days Brad estimates that up to 50 per cent of his customers are Thai. However, that is not the only change. One of the improvements to the lives of importers in Thailand is digitization – thanks to computerized systems, what used to be a week-long process of clearing a shipment of cargo to Thailand can now be done in less than two days. Almost two decades in business has allowed Brad to observe many such changes and improvements, but one thing hasn’t changed whatsoever – his love for barbecue food. He still grills five times a week, sometimes even at breakfast.

“There is no shortage of local barbecue culture in Thailand; the street vendors use barbecues, and some people choose to have their food prepared by them, but others want to have their own barbecue. The ones that we sell are quite different from the small, clay pots with a grill on top you might see on the street,” says Brad.

And indeed they are. The company has over 40 models of barbecue on offer with the smallest, portable grills starting at 2,500 baht and the most advanced, outdoor kitchens costing as much as 260,000 baht for a unit composed of a stainless steel grill, a refrigerator, stainless steel sink and more. But whatever the price or size, Brad guarantees high-quality – thanks to an ongoing relationship with Australia’s leading retailer of barbecues, Barbecues Galore.

“When I import barbecues I select the right ones for Thailand, ones with high quality and that you won’t have any issues with. That comes at a little bit of a price, but you get what you pay for, and you can be sure of many, many years of barbecuing with it.”

And if something does go wrong, the Barbecue Store offers a range of spare parts and a barbecue repair service.

Barbecuing is all about having a relaxing time with your family and the Barbecue Store makes shopping easier thanks to their website: The page provides complete information and pictures, and a grill purchased online gets delivered to the customer’s door. “Around 20 per cent of our sales are generated online,” says Brad.

But it’s in the shop where you’ll meet the staff, who are very proud of being professional and passionate about their products. Not only will they give you information about your barbecue maintenance, but they will happily share their knowledge of grilling techniques for different kinds of meat and maybe, most importantly, make the whole affair more personal. After all, barbecue does today what bonfires used to do for our ancestors – they bring people together.

— Maciek Klimowicz


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Guides8 hours ago

Foodie Zone: Where to get vegan desserts in Bangkok 2022

Thailand9 hours ago

Thailand News Today | 36 dead in a mass shooting at a nursery in northeast Thailand

Guides9 hours ago

5 best wine bars in Bangkok offering rich and quality wine

Sponsored15 hours ago

Segafredo Zanetti Coffee teamed up with Bangkok Airways and hosted “Bangkok Airways Surf Festival 2022”

North East9 hours ago

Hip businesses in northeast Thai province offer tasty food and fun experiences

Crime10 hours ago

British CEO arrested at Bangkok Airport over 40 million baht fraud accusations

Thailand10 hours ago

Thailand’s 5 national parks raise entry fees for foreigners by 100%

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Bangkok10 hours ago

Ari around invites Ari people to share good deeds through the app.

Press Room10 hours ago

Where to order cannabis/weed in Thailand

Chon Buri10 hours ago

Trouserless Chon Buri man crashes car into power pole

Entertainment10 hours ago

‘The Trapped 13’ lets Wild Boars speak for themselves

Thailand10 hours ago

Reported Bangkok VIP casino vanishes into thin air

World11 hours ago

Australia sets goal of preventing any more species from going extinct

Crime11 hours ago

Mass shooting in Thailand: 36 dead, including 24 children, 12 injured

Thailand11 hours ago

9 Thais arrested in South Korea for smuggling drugs

Drugs11 hours ago

Police snag 2.5 meth pills in checkpoint stings

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11