How to Buy a Grill

Grill

The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and the snow has finally melted (in most places).  That means it is safe to step back out on your patio and begin grilling once again.  Before starting your weekly routine of burgers, steak, chicken, vegetables, and anything else that can be grilled, it just may be time to update that unevenly cooking and rotting grill you have wrestled with for years.

Having a proper grill is essential for successful warm weather entertaining and great tasting meals.  While purchasing the correct grill can provide happy summer months, using the incorrect grill will only lead to uncooked and burnt meals and frustrating nights of grilling.

With all of the different grill options, searching for the correct grill may sometimes seem like searching for the holy grail.  Luckily, we are here to make that decision easier for you.  Follow these tips to pick the best grill for your applications:

Grill Fuel Type:

  • Electric – Uses electricity to cook.  Best for infrequent grillers and small households/apartments.  Eliminates the “smoky/grilled” taste provided by typical grills
  • Gas – Easy and quick to use for grillers of all experience levels.  Best for chicken, fish, and veggies due to lower maximum temperatures
  • Charcoal – Takes longer to set-up and clean, but provides more heat and enables a unique flavor for various uses
  • Wood Pellet – Sophisticated grilling through adjustable temperature controls.  Great for smoking foods or adding a smoky flavor.  Often best as a second grill instead of the main grilling option

Temperature Control:

  • Grills that enable temperature control allow for controlled grilling and additional grilling  applications
  • For gas grills, 2+ adjustable burners are best to allow for different temperature levels to cook a variety of foods at once
  • Charcoal grills can be adjusted for any application by moving the charcoals around to your liking

Size:

  • Grills come in all shapes and sizes.  While most advertise their total cooking area, this often includes the warming rack above the primary cooking area.  Instead, focus on the area of the primary cooking surface
  • A good rule of thumb for cooking area is 100 square inches per person (10″ x 10″).  Therefore, cooking one serving for a family of four would require 400 square inches.  However, don’t forget to account for the family/neighborhood cookouts when picking your grill area!

Material Durability:

  • Material and Durability will determine whether you have your grill for 3 years or 15
  • Stainless Steel & Aluminum prevent rust but discolor easily from heat, rain, and other factors over time
  • Cast Iron allows a different appearance but will rust if not painted correctly
  • Enamel may seem rust-free but can rust easily if paint chips off
  • Pick the material you prefer and take into account the thickness of the metal and overall construction of the grill
  • Buy a grill cover to prolong the condition of your grill!

Features:

  • Grills continue to evolve with new features and added bonuses.  We’ve highlighted a few popular features that won’t change the grill itself, but can help add to the ease of cooking and usability
  • Warming Plates are great for cooking small dishes or keeping food warm
  • Drip Trays enable easy cleaning and mess-free cooking
  • Starter or Igniter:  Electric starters enable easier ignition than the push or dial ignitors
  • Rotisserie cooking is great for those who like to grill full turkeys or chickens and is not available for all grill types and sizes

Price:

  • Price doesn’t always buy a better grill
  • Take into account the above features to buy the best grill for YOUR application

 

What type of grill do you prefer?  Do you have any tips for beginner grillers? Let us know!

 

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