How to Choose the Right Grill
Gas, Charcoal or Electric
The first big decision is which type of grill to get. Electric grills are definitely the most convenient, especially since most electric grills are made for indoor use and can simply lie on a countertop. Electric grills are easy to clean and are small enough to fit in a car without much disassembling. They’re perfect for apartment living and indoor grilling, but not for the traditional barbecue scene because of the small grilling area and the lack of authentic grill taste.
Gas grills bring your barbecue taste a step closer to those found in steakhouses. They start up the same way gas stoves do, so grilling can begin as soon as you’re ready. Heat and temperature are easier to control since you have knobs to turn, making gas grills ideal for chicken, fish and seafood. Gas grills generally come in larger sizes than charcoal grills, but maintenance and upkeep might be more time consuming. If you get a propane grill in particular, topping off the tank is an additional chore to keep in mind. This can be avoided by getting a gas line to your backyard, if you don’t already have one.
A charcoal grill’s biggest advantage is the authentic smoky flavor it provides food. It has a slower cook to give meat more flavor, but that also means that grilling for a big crowd may become the main event of your barbecue. Keep in mind too that charcoal grills require, erm, charcoal, so impulse grilling isn’t an option if you don’t want to stock up on charcoal.
Once you’ve decided what type of grill fits your needs, the rest of the process is pretty simple:
Size, Options and Accessories
Choose the size of grill depending on the crowd you’ll most often be grilling for. In terms of outdoor grills, the bigger one doesn’t always win out, especially since it takes more time to heat up your smoker box. For gas grills, a good rule of thumb is to assign 100 sq inches for each person you’re grilling for: 300+ sq in grills for 3 people, 400+ for 4 and so on. Charcoal grills are generally smaller, so a 60 sq inch to 1 person ratio is reasonable.
For accessories, consider whether or not you want a side burner. Side burners allow you to steam corn or vegetables and prepare sides on a stove while you’re grilling your main course. If you care about your grilling counter space or the general width of your grill however, you might want to pass on this option.
Be sure to take a look at the catch pan that your grill comes with. A small catch pan might overflow and catch on fire when you forget to empty it.
Temperature indicators are also a good idea if you’re scientific about grilling, otherwise this is an accessory you can forego.
Thanks to our friends from Kmart and Home Depot for the information above. Kmart has an online Grill Finder to help you find your ideal grill. Grills and outdoor patio furniture are also 20% off starting Sunday, May 27-Saturday, June 2. Happy Grilling!