BBQ Buying Guide

Cooking on the BBQ and enjoying your meals in the great outdoors is the best way to utilize your outdoor living space. However, if your grilling experience is more rust, flare-ups, and frustration than enjoyment, you should buy a new grill.

With so many barbeques available for sale, choosing the right grill for you and your cooking needs can be overwhelming and frustrating. When buying a BBQ, you must consider several factors that may help you decide what brand and style are best for you. This BBQ Buying Guide will help you choose the grill for your outdoor kitchen.

Fuel Types: Gas, or Charcoal?

You may assume that heat is heat as far as barbeques go, but the fuel type you pick will affect your whole grilling experience. Your choice of fuel type will depend on your lifestyle, cooking area, talent, and confidence with a BBQ.
charcoal grill

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills offer the classic smokiness many imagine when they think of grilled flavour. Charcoal grills have shortcomings, so you’ll have to be ready to exert some effort if you choose this option.

Charcoal grills use either briquettes or lump wood to BBQ meat evenly. You’ll have to spend a little longer burning the briquettes and preheating the grill than you would with a gas grill. The charcoal ash requires more cleanup when you’re done cooking.

Despite that, nothing can replace the mouthwatering barbecue taste of charcoal briquettes. Usually more affordable than gas grills, many charcoal BBQ models are also more compact and manageable to store away.

Gas Grills

The gas grill is the most common backyard barbeque grill and is well-liked for its versatility and convenience. It utilizes either propane or natural gas connected to household gas supplies via a conversion kit to supply heat. And you can ignite most gas grills by turning a dial or pushing a button.

This BBQ is ideal for grilling foods that don’t require much time. They get fast fire, all set for grilling in 10 to 15 minutes after lighting. Most gas grills provide multiple burners, which means you can make diverse cooking zones. Post-cooking, they need minimal cleanup and deliver a more even and controllable heat.

While many insist a charcoal grill produces a more delicious, smoky flavour – you can score the same taste with smoking chips on a gas BBQ. Note that gas grills are pricier than charcoal grills.

Other Types Of BBQs To Consider

  • Electric Grills – Being the standard replacement to the charcoal or gas grill, electric BBQs heat up efficiently and demand less preparation. It is perfect for people who live in a condo where gas or charcoal cooking is prohibited, or for those who don’t have ample outdoor area. Electric grills are undefeated for user-friendly features; however, you’ll lose much of the delectable savoury flavour when using one.
  • Wood Pellet grills – Pellet grills have been gaining massive popularity during the last few years as a convenient and flavorful option. They use wood pellets as their heat source and deliver coveted attributes from gas and charcoal-type grills. The wood produces both heat and smoke to cook dishes long and slow. A Pellet grill can be adjusted to supply high heat for searing or lower heat for slow cooking. Just set the dial to the desired temperature, which will regulate the fuel flow into the firebox to maintain a steady temperature. Pellet grills are less available than typical grill types and can be expensive.
  • Kamado Grills – These egg-, bullet-, or rocket-shaped grills are manufactured with slow and low cooking over the course of an entire day in mind. They can reach higher temperatures with outstanding heat retention, making them a revolutionary for home cooks wanting to step up their BBQ game. Kamado grills are heated by charcoal and can be used for various cooking methods. This is the grill you need if you’re hungry to prepare tough cuts of meat like pork shoulders or ribs. It’s also pretty modish and may appeal to your neighbours.

Choose Your BBQ Style

Portable Grills

portable grill
A portable grill is suited for people who love camping or grilling on the road. It’s compact and can easily fit in the trunk of your car. Because it consists of fewer components than a gas grill (four in particular), it is more lightweight. These grills are convenient and sturdy, so you can assemble your BBQ with you when you’re camping or on the beach.

If you’re cooking for some closer friends and relatives, a portable BBQ grill is a suitable option. Because it’s small, it will not feature any of the luxuries you might see on a freestanding grill.

Freestanding Grills

The most popular BBQ style is a freestanding or stand-alone grill, which can have a stationary stand or a wheeled base to move it efficiently around a deck, terrace, or other level surfaces.

They are also perfect if the space is small, so consider the number of individuals you will be grilling for when you opt for this BBQ style.

Freestanding Barbeques offer exceptional cooking results and a vast range of cooking options, including grilling, frying, baking, roasting, cooking pizza, and toasting. However, they’re more easily damaged and sometimes must be replaced entirely.

Built-In Grills

Built-in grills are developed to be incorporated into your outdoor living area. The grill unit doesn’t need much space, but the surrounding that will shelter the BBQ will be much more extensive than a freestanding grill, requiring more space.

Solely built-in grills are tailored for your backyard conditions, and their materials include steel, cast iron, concrete, mortar, or bricks. It demands a substantial investment. The price range will depend on whether you choose a prefabricated model or a custom build, the size of the grill, and its features. However, built-in grills will last much longer, so the upfront cost will probably pay off over the years.

Quality Materials and Constructions

Cart & Body

Various barbeques and different components of the BBQ utilize different materials. Most BBQ bodies are typically constructed from either stainless steel or aluminum. Both metals are resistant to deterioration and will help maintain the excellent condition of your BBQ.

Stainless steel also helps preserve the high temperatures inside and the low temperatures outside the grill hood. However, it can yellow after a while, particularly if you don’t cover it when not used.

Some BBQ bodies are even painted to add a bit of colour to your outdoor space and safeguard it from the weather. Painted steel will rust if the paint wears away or peels. A cast-aluminum body is hard-wearing and won’t oxidize.

Grills & Grates

Grates make a difference in performance. BBQ grates are the most critical parts of your grill on which your food directly sits. Hence, choosing a suitable grill grate is vital because it can affect how your food cooks – on the searing and flavour of the food. There are five different types of BBQ grates available.

Cast-iron Grates

Cast-iron grates retain heat sufficiently, making them reliable for searing meats. It enables you to prepare food at low heat, keeping these delicate meats from drying.

This BBQ grate may be more expensive but will persist for ages if well maintained. Thus, you must keep it clean and ensure the whole grate is well-oiled.

PORCELAIN-ENAMELED Grates

Porcelain-enameled grates are classic cast-iron or stainless steel grills coated with smooth non-stick enamel. Enamel is a protective layer of molten glass that protects the metal from rust.

Make sure you keep metal scrapers away from these coated grates since they can peel off, and this can expose the material beneath to moisture and may inflict a corroded surface in the long run. This is the case for porcelain-coated cast iron, but coated steel can also sustain issues.

It’ll help if you brush away built-up food scraps while the grill is still warm to guarantee longevity.

Stainless Steel Grates

Stainless Steel is the best option when considering grill materials. This BBQ material is rust resistant and more rigid than other materials making it more heavy-duty. As well, it retains heat accordingly and is relatively easy to maintain. Although food may be more likely to stick, commanding thorough cleaning.

Chrome plated grates

Chrome-plated grills look sleek and are easy to clean. It has a protective layer of chrome against corrosion. While they’re thin and warp under extremely high heat, they’re so inexpensive that replacing them is not distressing. This grate is for you if you want a cost-effective option for occasional or temporary usage of your grill.

To prolong the grate’s lifetime, apply a non-stick spray to the grate before cooking.

Ideal Size For The Grill

The BBQ size is another factor to consider when shopping for BBQ grills on the market. A huge barbeque grill is not necessary if you only cook for a few people at once.

First, you have to consider the physical space it occupies. For instance, if you own a small patio, your options will be limited to compact types. And perhaps, the most relevant is the size of the current cooking area.

The cooking area is expressed as a square inch. A standard three-burner gas grill sets out 450-500 square inches of cooking area, which is typically enough for the average family.

When choosing what size grill you yearn for, focusing on the cooking surface area instead of abstract measuring factors is more reasonable. Sizing by other factors, e.g., the number of steaks a grill can hold, depends on external elements and must be avoided.

Features To Pay Attention To

BBQ Burners

The burners are the core of your grilling experience. They regulate your grilling with correct temperatures at the turn of a knob, whether you like to steam vegetables or sear your steak.

How many burners should a BBQ have? The more burners you have, the more cooking zones you have. And this can be so convenient if you must cook foods simultaneously at different temperatures.

Heat output is measured in BTUs (British thermal units). The higher the BTU capacity, the hotter the burner can get. High-quality barbecues utilize heat more adequately and distribute it more evenly, so you want lower BTUs to generate an ideal, even heat. As a benchmark measure, a 44,000 BTU is considered “hot.” A 60,000-BTU model is smouldering.

BBQ burners come in either blue flame (like standard grills) or infrared. Infrared burners are extremely intense heat burners. It radiates heat directly into the food to sear and cook food, as against just heating the air around it. And this means that your food cooks faster from more direct heat and optimizes moisture retention, producing some of the juiciest meats.

Lids & Hoods

barbecue with lid
A BBQ with a lid or a hood is more multifunctional. Closing the hood or lid as you cook food will retain the heat and smoke within the grill, granting you versatility in your cooking methods. It lets you smoke the food and cook by convection using the heat of the air and the grill’s heat.

Side Shelves

Some BBQs have side shelves that provide generous storage space for utensils, bbq tools, plates, and everything else you need within your grasp. They also offer a space for prepping and serving foods. They’re utterly convenient; some can even be foldable for storage or if you require a little more room.

Smoker Box

A good smoker box can turn your gas, propane, or electric grill into a fully operational BBQ smoker. The smoker is the answer when you like the easy-breezy characteristic of a gas grill but crave the zing that a charcoal grill delivers to food. It houses wood chips and is positioned over your grill’s burners, imparting a smoky flavor to meats/veggies when grilling.

Side Burner

Side burners are ideal for preparing side dishes and sauces – for whatever you’re preparing alongside – enabling the complete meal to be cooked on the grill. They discharge the same propane tank or natural gas line and function like a gas burner on a traditional range. They can likewise be utilized to keep barbequed food warm.

Storage

Levels of convenience and storehouse can vary in BBQ grills. It’s worth noting what kind of interior storage you want. Many barbecues come with tool storage, hooks, pull-out drawers, condiment trays, and built-in cupboards for storing everything you need on deck. Typically, two access doors cover the storage compartment.

Essential BBQ accessories

Remember that you may need to add some extras during a series of events, so it is a fantastic idea to look into what accessories are available for that specific model of barbecue you will purchase.

Rotisserie

With a rotisserie attachment, you can take your cooking gifts to the next level. Made to attach over the length of the grill, rotisseries are commonly motor-driven, but there are also manual types. They allow you to slow cook stuff like whole chickens and large roasts without the smoker. Rotisseries keep juices locked inside the meat, making them more flavorful and moist.

Warming Rack

Warming Rack is used for cooking food at a lower temperature or keeping food warm. This rack is what you need to grill something that takes a lot of time, but direct heat is not required. The warming rack serves a vital role when barbecuing for big occasions, as there are many ways to utilize a BBQ warming rack.

Griddle

griddle
Set a griddle over the grill for the ideal outdoor dinner, and you’re ready to cook sausages, pancakes, burgers, eggs, or anything you commonly prepare on a stovetop.

Cover

A BBQ cover safeguards your grill from the elements when not in service. It lengthens the longevity of your BBQ by keeping the exterior clean and dry and defending it against rust and other deterioration. Choose a durable, well-fitting vinyl cover to protect your grill and keep water from leaking into the cabinets.

Grill Baskets

A grill basket offers versatility, neatness, and convenience. This basket makes it easier to cook foods on the delicate side or just tougher to cook on a grill. It can hold vegetables, salmon, or chicken wings and allow the heat to diffuse through the grids to allow browning without falling through or sticking to the grate.

Probe Thermometer

A probe thermometer is designed to be inserted into food to check and monitor the internal temperature while baking or roasting. You don’t have to cut open your steak and forgo all those flavourful juices to know if it’s well done or overcooked.

Other BBQ Tools

The proper tools can change everything. Ensure you’re equipped with spatulas, forks, tongs, scraper, skewers, and grill brushes for safety, convenience, and cleanliness.

And that’s our BBQ buying guide! After reading this BBQ guide, we hope you have some idea of which BBQ suits you and your needs.

Enjoy your BBQ experience with your new grill!

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