Barbecues are where men go to compete. They are marketed as fun, social gatherings, but stuffed into that bun, along with the hamburger, is a whole lot of anxiety about what it means to be a man in the age of desk warriors, among urban Shanghai aesthetes. Can I build a fire? Can I keep it going? Can I DOMINATE it? HOW DO I WIN THE BBQ? Here is how you win the BBQ.
The easiest option, as long as you take care not to set fire to anything, obviously. Have a bucket of water handy, and you can call the fire department at 119. If you're looking to BBQ anywhere other than your private property with clear view to the sky, the legally prudent advice is don't, unless you have express permission from the house/neighborhood management.
Apart from being a verdant paradise on the outskirts of Shanghai, this place has a BBQ tucked in among the trees with these little numbered lean-tos. You're limited to 2 hours in the lean-tos, though there's no time limit on the open spaces. You either bring your own grill and meat, or they provide you with everything you need. Price for the grill is 180rmb for eight people for two hours, then 90rmb per hour after that. Includes coal. Also important to note; this park is mostly cash-based, so make sure you bring physical money.
Not only does this place host Shanghai's very own Jurassic Park, it's also got a BBQ location, best reachable from gates 1 and 3. They'll rent you whatever equipment you need, or let you do your own thing. It's got umbrellas and some picnic tables, but like Gongqing National Park, gets very crowded. Price is 200rmb per 8 people for 2 hours, then 110rmb per hour after that. They also close at 5pm.
Miiiiiles out on the banks of the Yangtze River, this forest park has a BBQ spot with space for stand-alone grills or these proper brick-inlaid ones, all of the "trench" variety. Like with most other places, even if you bring your own grill, you pay the same price as renting one. It's 180rmb for 6 people for 2 hours, then 90rmb per hour after that.
A little closer to the downtown, this BBQ spot is inside the Xinhongqiao Central Gardens. This one's among the smallest of the bunch, and but as the park itself isn't huge or super-well-known, it actually seems to pull in less crowds. It's not cheap though. 400rmb for 8 people for 3 hours. from 10am-1pm, you can extend your time slot by an hour for 100rmb, but in the evening, you're out when time's up.
Did you know Shanghai has a proper beach? Like, on the ocean, with sandcastles, volleyball courts, and BBQ pits? And you can get there in 30 minutes, for 10rmb? And it's BYOB? Yup. At the end of Metro Line 22 (it exists), Jinshan beach is where you can both BBQ and stick your toes in the sand simultaneously. Price is 160rmb for one table (about 6-8 people) for around 2.5 hours. Best deal!