Backyard BBQs can be a big part of summertime. Outdoor grilling can give you and your family the best memories (and the best steaks) of your life. Only worrying about how to season your meat this summer can leave you feeling rest assured knowing all your other needs are being met with the best barbecue for you. But how do you choose the right one?
Here are some factors to consider when thinking of buying a new barbecue:
A gas grill is one of the most convenient and common grills to have, you just have to turn on the burners to start the grill and you’re good to go! Gas grill models are available in either natural gas, by a fixed gas line, or propane by removable and refillable propane tanks. Propane barbeques are more generally more common than natural gas barbeques. They can come with many additional feature options including multiple burners, automatic igniters, and many more accessories.
If you choose a propane grill, check to see if a propane tank is included in the price as this can add $20-$30 to your cost to buy it separately.
The metal and materials that the grill is made out of is also something to consider. The main body of most grills is usually made from cast aluminum, cast iron, sheet metal or stainless steel depending on the fuel type and model. Stainless steel is the favoured material when it comes to cooking equipment, and the most expensive, but not all stainless steel is made the same. But the truth is that most cast aluminum will usually outlast the quality of stainless steel.
When you chose your material, make sure to check out the whole grill and see how it is put together. The material of the frame is something to look for, not just the body to look for a sign of potential rust development. Some brands and manufacturers can take shortcuts with the materials in their barbecues like some stainless steel grills have frames that are only painted with steel that will rust over time.
British Thermal Unit (BTU) is a measure of the maximum heat produced when a grill’s main burners are on high. Higher BTUs don’t necessarily mean higher temperature or more heat. The range of how hot your barbecue models surface and its heat efficiency comes from other factors as well, like having a well-fitting lid, a back that isn’t open, and a good thickness of the sides for heat retention. Don’t purchase a grill based on a high BTU number, instead compare the number with the size of the grill. More compact grills can create a higher temperature to cook food with lower BTUs.
When you choose your BBQ, the cooking surface is more important than the BTUs, but 35,000-45,000 BTU is good for grilling light meats and vegetables while 50,000-60,000 BTUs are good for searing and grilling heavier meats like steak.
Grates and Burners
Accessories like different grates that produce different temperatures, warming racks to keep food hot, utensil storage space, side burners for all these extras can be useful but can add unnecessary expenses to the price and take up more physical space in your backyard if you can’t afford that. Consider what you will realistically use often; just because you could deep fry a whole pig while rolling out bread at your bbq, doesn’t mean you will do those things.
Lastly, some tips and things to think about before bringing home a new BBQ and introducing it to your family are things like required assembly, the brand’s warranty that is provided, and how easily parts are replaced and available to you if there is a need for replacement. You want to be outdoor grilling food on the perfect grill, not struggling to put it together or having it fall apart and leaving you paying more for repairs or replacement parts.