What is it about the summer that gets everyone thinking about lighting fires and scorching meat?
While grills are relatively simple machines, make sure you know what to ask before you buy a unit that will, ideally, bring you many happy grilling hours and delicious meals.
Bigger does not always mean better—buy a grill bigger than you need and you’ll be wasting money every time you use it. Think about how many people you normally feed, along with how often you’ll have a larger gathering and what kinds of foods you’ll want to cook. Grill product information will list the square inches of total cooking area or primary cooking area. (In the case of grills with a warming rack or external burner, make sure you know which number is which.)
You can use a variety of fuels to grill food, but most grills will only use one type of fuel. Check out the tips below to decide which fuel is right for you.
Fueled by liquid propane, the gas-fired grill is second to none when it comes to convenience. A clean, easily adjustable flame appears with the push of a button or turn of a knob, with no need for messy charcoal briquettes, starter fluid, and 10 minutes of standing around, waiting for the coals to start glowing.
Budget Friendly: Weber Genesis E-330
Splurge: Blaze 32-Inch 4-Burner Gas Grill
A little more time and mess? Sure, but charcoal is the method of choice among backyard grilling aficionados. Charcoal grills do require time, patience, and skill, not to mention a means of safely disposing of ash once the table is cleared. That being said, once you’ve sunk your teeth into the smoky taste of charcoal-grilled burger, you’ll be glad you took the trouble.
Budget Friendly: Weber Performer Deluxe
Splurge: Thermashell Pro Kamado Grill
For those of us who do our summertime entertaining on balconies, or who just want to replicate the outdoor grilling experience indoors, electric grills are the way to go. Buying options might be limited compared to the abundance of gas and charcoal grills on the market, but these are two of the best:
Budget Friendly: Meco 1500 Watt Deluxe Electric Table Top Grill
Sure, smoked beef or pork tastes great coming off of a grill, but you can create a gourmet experience with a smoker. With today’s high-quality modern smokers, the person cooking the meat need not spend hours sweating in a smoky haze, fiddling with dampers and shoveling coal.
Budget Friendly: Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker
Don’t forget to buy a cover—this will protect your investment from the elements and prevent premature rusting or corrosion. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cool down and cleanup, and you’ll be a happy griller for years to come.
You might also consider purchasing a protection plan to cover any accidental damage that might occcur. Check with your retailer for more details.