How to Choose the Right Grill
Grilling is a great American past time. 86% of households hold outdoor barbecues. Selecting the right BBQ grill can be a real challenge. After all, your goal is to create fabulous food your family and friends will love, right? Your grill choice has a lot to do with the final product as well as the ease of the overall cooking process.
Before you shop, keep these tips in mind so you'll come out with the ideal BBQ grill to meet your needs
1. Fuel Type
You're in the market for a new grill, the first thing you have to decide is what type of fuel do you want (or need) to power your grill.
There are various options offered today; Propane, Natural Gas, Charcoal, Wood Pellet, Electric, Ceramic.
Gas grills are, by far, the most popular grills sold. This is due to its convenient, quick ability to create flavorful meals.
TIP : You do want to be sure you do choose the correct gas type for your needs as there may not be a conversion kit available.
The precision comes from the fact that gas grills work similarly to your indoor stove, with knobs that allow you to control the intensity of your flame. These knobs give you more control over the temperature to which your food is exposed. Many gas grills also have several different burners, which means that you can cook several different types of food at a variety of temperatures. This allows you to place your meat on one burner and your vegetables on another, ensuring that each type of food is cooking to your satisfaction.
The pricing on gas grills can vary widely, and each grill has the potential of being accessorized with a variety of equipment. These accessories, such as a side smoker or additional burners, allow gas grills to fulfill many different cooking functions.
Gas grills are also beloved for their easy cleanup – especially due to the fact that there are no ashes to dispose of. However, for many BBQ aficionados the biggest drawback to a gas grill is the fact that it is harder to get the char and the smoky flavor that is characteristic of a traditional barbecued meal.
For this you need to go to our next type of grill: charcoal.
Charcoal grills remain to be popular among those who love the traditional slow and low charcoal flavor. They are the top choice for BBQ pitmasters and enthusiasts. However, the nature of the charcoal grill can make it tricky for a beginner. Unlike gas grills, the level of control over temperature is low, and it can take a bit of practice in order to acquire your desired temperatures.
Another drawback to charcoal grills is the prep and cleaning time. You must first prepare and light the charcoal and then, once lit, it usually takes a minimum of 20 minutes to heat up to grilling temperatures. Charcoal grills must also be scrapped after every cooking and the ashes must be removed on a regular basis.
While it often takes more practice to get it right, most BBQ diehards swear by the cooking process and taste of the charcoal grill.
Pellet grills are gaining popularity for those who love to grill at slow and low temperatures. It burns the pellets to make the smoke that slowly grills the food. There are many different flavors of wood pellets. The different varieties of woods can be paired with particular meats. These grill require electricity to power the auger that feeds the pellets. Many have the ability to control the temperature remotely with a Wi-Fi app that also can alert your phone when your food has perfectly cooked!
Electric Grills have no open flames and are great in condos or apartments that have do not permit open flames. They rival the gas grill in terms of speed and precision. Electric grills have one of the fast heat up times, making them ideal for weeknight cooking.
Most grills heat up within 7-8 minutes, and a quality grill can reach up to 600 degrees F. Electric grills also reduce the hassle of having fuel, as all you need is an electrical outlet.
Another big advantage to electric grills is that they give an even heat across the entire cooking surface. This consistency erases the worry of keeping an even temperature or from developing hot or cold spots. Electrical grills are also easy to clean. They are perfect for your balcony or backyard.
The biggest disadvantage to an electric grill is that it can lack the “pure” BBQ flavor that is associated with a charcoal grill. While an electric grill can cook high quality food, its does not provide the same smoky flavor that many BBQ lovers crave.
Many households are investing in numerous products to meet their needs. For example, we are building many outdoor kitchens that will have both a Gas and Charcoal Grill or even a Gas Grill and a Big Green Egg.
2. Built-in, Freestanding or Portable
Will you be building your grill into an outdoor kitchen area? Do you need the flexibility of a mobile freestanding cart?Do you need a grill on a post mount? or Do you have limited space and are looking for a portable (tabletop) grill?
If building an outdoor kitchen is in your future, be sure that the grill can be removed from the cart. Not all Grills have the ability to be removed. This will protect your investment.
Shop our vast selection of Grills
3. Grill Size
When choosing a grill, many people focus on the type of grill (charcoal, gas, electric, etc) and all the accessories that come with it. However, one important factor to keep in mind is the size. Picking the right size grill will ensure that you are able to do all the different types of grilling that you are imagining on a grill that comfortably fits in your space.
An important thing to remember when considering grill sizes is that grills are measured both by the actual physical size (as in how much space they take up) and their square inches of cooking surface. Buying a physically big grill does not necessarily ensure that you are buying a grill with a lot of cooking space. Make sure that you keep both sizes in mind when picking out the grill for you.
When picking out the perfect grill size, there are two main questions that you need to ask of yourself. The first question you need to ask is, “What is my intended purpose?” Do you want a grill that is perfect for you and your companion? To feed the whole family? Or one that handle hosting large gatherings? The more people you plan on routinely cooking for, the larger surface space you will require.
However, it is important to remember that meat actually cooks better when placed close together as the different pieces will share the heat. If you regularly barbeque other food items, such as vegetables or side dishes, then you will want a grill with a large enough surface space to handle all your items. It may also be a good idea to buy a grill that has individual burners or that has different shelves where you can separate the food.
The second question that you need to ask yourself is, “Where will I put my grill?”
It is always a good idea to physically measure the space where you plan on putting your grill. Precise measurements will allow you to know exactly what will fit and what will not. This will help prevent you getting attached to a grill that will never physically be able to stand in your space. Always make sure that, when you look at actual grills, that you take into consideration the space needed for any accessories.
When looking at the components and features on a grill, always check the main components for quality before getting sold on add-on features:
- Burner Styles: Stainless Steel, Infrared or a Combination
- Grates: The best option is always stainless steel. They are the most durable and longest lasting material. Be sure that the rods are thick and positioned close as if they are set far apart, it is easy for to drop food between them.
- Heat Disbursement System: Flame Tamers, Briquette Trays, Rock Grates
- Rotisserie : This is a ceramic infrared backburner that is used to create succulent meals on a rotisserie spit.
- Multi Fuel Option - This will allow you to use alternate fuel sources in your gas grill like charcoal or wood
- Interior Lights
- Control Panel Lighting
Keep in mind that the more bells and whistles on a grill, the more parts that can break down. Our recommendation (as repair persons) is always the most simple grill. Brands like MHP and Solaire have very simple grills (Made in the USA) yet are super high quality and require little maintenance. The more electrical parts like lights, the more maintenance costs you will have.
Some of the amazing complimentary products offered are: Storage cabinets and drawers or Side shelves for keeping accessories and spices handy
You may also want to ask yourself these questions :
Do you need a sink beside your BBQ grill? How about a burner on the side to prepare some delicious side dishes? Just need one that will cook hamburgers and hot dogs? From your basic aluminum grill that will cook your Sunday chicken to beautiful stainless steel choices that will allow you to prepare a four course meal in your outdoor kitchen, BBQ grills aren't what they used to be, so do a bit of research on the features that might suit your needs best before you ever hit the store so you don't get overwhelmed with your choices.
BBQ grills have much to offer, but a bit of extra research before you start the process will help you get the features you want at a price you'll love.
5. Brand History
One of the most important items on this list is making sure you are buying from a reputable brand that has a long standing history in the industry. How long has this brand been in business? How long have they been building Grills? What types of materials do they use when constructing there grill? Do they use imported components or locally (US) sources? The more stability the brand has the more security you have in knowing you can get OEM parts as well as warranty coverage.
6. Where is the Grill Manufactured?
There is no question that all Grills manufactured in the USA are superior to any imported Grill. We find when customers learn that Brands they are inquiring about are imported, they immediately choose to look at US options. This is important for a number of reasons, warranty fulfillment, parts, quality and durability. Which Grills are Made in the USA?
If budget is a important in your purchasing decision, forego some of the bells and whistles on the grill and go for quality.
Any manufacturer who has built a quality product will have a warranty to support it. Look for Lifetime Warranty on the grill housing (Hood and Firebox), Burners and Cooking Grates. Rarely will you find a lifetime warranty on the heat disbursement system as this part takes the brunt of the beating. You have fire directly hitting it from the bottom and grease and sauces dripping on top of it. Be sure the company is the manufacturer as the warranty is only as good as the company staying in business. This why Number 5 is so important as well.
8. Repair Parts availability
What good is your grill or your warranty (for that matter) if the accessibility to replacement parts is scarce? We have the largest stock of replacement parts around! Many of our parts a re also manufactured in the US. The quality on replacement parts imported vs American Made in incomparable.
We are always here to help. Utilize our 63 years of being in the Grill Business to your advantage. In summary... if all you take away from this post, read #6!
Whether you buy a grill from us or not... pick our brain!