This Article is About
barbecue grill
flare ups
oven thermometer
meat thermometer
gas grill
What Barbecue Grill Should I Buy?
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What Barbecue Grill Should I Buy?

My husband and I are known as “Grill Masters” by our friends and relatives. Because of this exulted title, people frequently ask us to recommend barbecue tools and gadgets. The most requested advice is, “Charcoal or gas”? This is always a huge debate among grillers with both sides thinking their method is best. It really depends on what you are cooking and the outcome you are looking for.

I like direct heat grilling which is fast cooking. This can be done with both charcoal and gas. If the cooking temperature is equal, you can’t taste a difference between the two methods. However, the majority of gas grills never get the high heat that charcoal does. Most people prefer the dark, flavorful crusts on steak over a tan meat. Only a sear burner or infrared burner will get a gas grill hot enough to do steaks like this. I actually have both types of grills, using my charcoal for steaks and burgers. I still haven’t come to terms with the extra cost for the sear or infrared burners.

The drawback; charcoal is dirty, it’s hard to light and takes at least 20 minutes to get up to the correct temperature. It can burn food quickly because of flare-ups and it’s hard to tell what temperature you are cooking at. Once cooking is done, you have a lot of ash left to dispose of. Because of the lack of temperature controls, learning to set up a 2-zone fire is important.

For chicken, fish and vegetables, gas grilling is the best way to go since they are good at holding a steady temperature. If you have two or more burners on your grill, it makes it easy to have multiple heat zones. Even though gas grills hold a steady temperature, the temperature gauges do not function well. I recommend a good quality digital oven thermometer and meat thermometer.

Gas grills are easy to start and heat up in 10 to 15 minutes, maintaining their heat throughout the cooking process. Unlike charcoal, you can turn the heat up or down during the cooking process. They are also easier to clean because of less drippings and no ash.

A typical gas grill can maintain a temperature of 100 to 400 degrees with the more expensive models, topping out at 700 degrees. Some of the higher end models come with sear burners that can get as hot as charcoal. Most gas grills have no flare-ups, due to the use of metal plates and lava rocks.

Gas grills, like charcoal grills, do have drawbacks. Even though they are easier to clean, they do get carbon and grease buildup. Scraping or power washing every few months, is important to keep your grill clean. You will also need to change the lava rocks about once a year and the burners do need to be replaced occasionally.

When shopping for a grill, whether it is gas or charcoal, temperature control is the most important feature for successful cooking.

Charcoal grills need to be deep enough to have coals banked on one side with the other side empty of coals; this gives you multiple heat zones. It also needs a tight fitting lid with dampers that will open and close. This controls the heat by regulating the oxygen going to the fire.Some grills, like mine, can raise and lower the charcoal allowing better heat adjustment.

For gas grills, look for stainless steel or brass burners; cast iron rusts and aluminums burn out. As for the grill itself, I recommend either cast iron or enamel. If painted properly, these metals will not rust unless you chip the enamel. While the stainless steel grills are pretty and shiny, with use and age, they will discolor.

If you like flavorful, crusty steaks, then an infrared or sear burner is a must. Or do like I do, and have both a charcoal and gas grill.

For those wonderful, wide grill marks, get a baked-on porcelain or stainless steel grate with rungs that are ¼” wide or larger. High quality grates are just as important as the grill material itself. If you find a grill you love but it has cheap grates, buy replacement grates.

One optional item that I wouldn’t do without is a rotisserie. I love cooking whole chickens on the rotisserie. It makes a flavorful, moist chicken with a nice brown skin. You will need electric to run the electric rotisserie. It should have a sturdy motor and counterweight for balancing the load. Avoid the common, spear rotisseries and get a basket. If you can’t find a rotisserie at the store, you can order them on line.


Street Talk

GIL3  

The value of an iarticle is to fulfill its objetive, and yours are good because they cause hunger.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

I made myself hungry writing and ended up grilling steaks that night :-)

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Making me hungry....Nice article and thinking I need to fire up my smoker....lol

Reply
  about 6 years ago

We don't smoke much but our neighbor does. He is always making us hungry with that wonderful hickory smell coming from his house. He loved it when we had to cut down one of our peach trees and we gave him the wood.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Funny you should mention this... we were just thinking about summer coming on and getting a grill of some kind. We had just assumed that charcoal gave more flavor.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Charcoal cooks differently than gas but the taste is pretty close to the same unless you use charcoal lighter fluid. I love the brown crusty coating you get on your steaks from charcoal but like my gas grill for chicken, fish and veggies.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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