Tips For Picking Your Barbecue Grill

Did you think finding the right girl to marry was a tough choice? Well, your choice of barbecue grill can be tough, too! It will be around for a long time to come and also give you much pleasure, it is to be hoped. Of course, advice on how to find that perfect girl is fraught with risk and uncertainty, but finding that perfect grill is much more straightforward, although also definitely a matter of taste!

Knowing the basic differences between the many types of grill will make your buying decision a breeze. You won't have to go through the pain of overspending on a hugely expensive implement when you are only going to cook a few steaks once a week while watching the game on TV with a beer in hand. Likewise, if you usually entertain friends or family, you do not want to be embarrassed by a micro-grill that can hardly hold one man-sized steak!

It is clear, then, that a little bit of insight will go a long way in helping making a wise choice of barbecue grill. But what are the criteria to go by?

Heat Source

How the heat is produced is probably the overriding feature with which you should concern yourself. You have the choice between charcoal, natural gas, propane gas or electric grills. Another very popular option is the barbecue smoker, which produces a unique flavor that many people find irresistible.


The physical dimensions of the grill should be given careful consideration. With safety being of utmost importance, a recommended distance of 10 feet must be allowed from your house or any inflammable materials. It should also not be used inside a roof-covered building.

The ease of handling of the unit should also be given thought. Will you be moving it around before and after use, or when cleaning it?

You need to balance these considerations against the minimum size of the cooking area of the grill that you are going to need.


Will you be able to afford it? For some people, this is the make-or-break question. If you do not have a large budget available, then a charcoal grill will probably suit your pocket better. Propane grills will be slightly more costly, with barbecue smokers also in the same range. Natural gas grills will be in the higher price range.

Preferred flavor

A barbecue smoker will impart the most distinct taste to cooked food, a flavor which can be enhanced by using a variety of woods, or - in the case of a smoker with a water tray - by flavoring the water with herbs, spices, or even certain beverages.

Although aficionados of each method will swear to the superiority of their source of heat, in reality there is very little difference in the taste of meat done on charcoal, as opposed to that done on a gas grill.

Heat control

The instant control afforded by a gas grill is a major plus, when compared to a charcoal grill. There is no long waiting for the grill to reach the desired temperature, nor is there any waiting for coals to burn out or to douse it yourself. The heat will be constantly at the right temperature, so you can accurately predict the results in your cooking.

Ease of Use

The advantage of the charcoal grill is the simplicity of its use. You light up some charcoal, spread it evenly in the grill, place a grate over it and - voila! - you are ready for business. Gas grills are, by nature, much more complicated, with many more working parts to it. The more parts, the more chance of something going wrong. A charcoal grill is also much easier to carry around when traveling, whereas much more effort is required to convey all the components of a gas grill, especially the larger models.

A natural gas grill is even more area-bound, since it is usually reliant on a line feed from your house gas supply. A propane gas grill is portable, but you are always at risk of running out of gas. Charcoal is, of course, cheap and easy to find at the nearest convenience store.


A gas grill is much easier to clean than a charcoal grill, which can not only blacken your clothes and hands but also leaves you with the headache of dealing with disposing of the ashes. There is also quite a bit of cleaning to do of the grill itself.


Apart from trying to stay at arm's length from all that charcoal, you will also want to spare your clothes during the process of preparing your favorite barbecue sauce, marinating the meat, and of course the entire grilling time. To take away all the worry about getting your Sunday best all soiled, you simply have to splash on that apron and concentrate on enjoying yourself at the grill. So, essential accessory number one: apron.

You will also definitely need a pair of tongs, to keep your hands from getting burnt.

Likewise, mitts are required for protecting your hands at all times during the grilling process, especially when preparing hot coals.

To facilitate the lighting of the coals, a chimney starter is very useful and could even be considered essential equipment. Simply place the coals inside the chimney starter, light two pieces of fire lighters and place the chimney starter on top. Within 20 to 30 minutes the charcoal should have an ashen appearance and is then ready for the grill.

You may find it useful to buy a timer and thermometer to help get that perfect result every time.

To help in cleaning the grates, you will need a brass bristle brush.

Quality Material

Finally, you want to ensure that your grill is manufactured from good quality material and is sturdy and well-built. In a gas burner, you will want to ensure that the burners are made from stainless steel. (The better quality grills may even state the BTU value, which is a measurement of the amount of heat for which that burner is graded.)

Time to Decide

With the large variety of makes and models available on the market today, Americans have voted with their feet, so to speak, by opting for either a charcoal or propane gas grill. These two types are the most popular by far, but you alone can decide what will suit your needs best, considering all the factors above.

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