outdoor-grills

An Ultimate Buying Guide About Outdoor Grills

Buying a new outdoor grill is more than a purchase. It’s an investment. It’s something that you want to last for years to come and something you want to be able to count on when it’s time to get the family together for a meal outside. Whether the plan is to use it once in a while over the summer or you’re going to use it more frequently to give meals an outdoorsy feel, you want something that is reliable and will give a great result.

There are a lot of grills out there to choose from. Not only a lot of grills but a lot of different types of grills as well. Shopping for a grill may have started out as a fun learning experience, but all of the research can quickly become tedious and hard to understand.

Dedicated Grill Space

The first question to answer is how much space you have available for a grill. Do you have just a few square feet on your patio? Or are you looking to create an outdoor kitchen with your new setup?

Deciding on the amount of space you are able to dedicate to an outdoor grill will help eliminate the options on the other end of the spectrum.

Grill Budget

Anyone who has looked, even casually, at outdoor grills knows that there is a wide range of options. There are small options under fifty dollars and there are large outdoor kitchen setups that are over $10,000. Determining your budget for your investment will also help eliminate options from the playing field.

Depending on what time of year you are looking for an outdoor grill, keep in mind that during the off-season grills tend to go on sale since there are not a lot of people buying them. If you’re looking to get more for your money and you’re not in a hurry, waiting until grills go on sale for the season can help you get more of what you want for a price closer to your budget.

Type of use

While you’re thinking about what amount of space and money you have to invest in a grill, think about what kind of cooking you plan to do on it. Are you planning on cooking mostly for yourself? Or are you planning on cooking for a large group of guests?

This is an important step that is often overlooked. It’s one thing to have a grill that you are excited to use, it’s quite another to have your friends over and have a hard time getting all of the burgers ready at the same time because the grill is too small for the crowd you’re about to feed.

Thinking about the amount of company you’ll have when you’re using your grill will help make sure that everyone is able to eat at the same time.

Fuel Type

Once you’ve narrowed down space and budget you have available for your investment, it’s time to start looking at what type of grilling you want to do. Is time going to be an important factor? Or are you going to be able to take your time when it’s time to use your new grill? What kind of flavors are you looking hoping your food will have when it’s done?

Electric Outdoor Grill

If you’re looking for speed, electric grills will not disappoint. They heat up fast and will be able to leave those fancy grill marks you’re after. Electric grills also tend to have a smaller footprint. So, for someone who has only a small balcony or will need to keep the grill indoors most of the year, an electric grill can be a good solution.

Electric grills also tend to be less expensive. The George Foreman electric grill, for example, is a great option if you live in an apartment and have limitations for what you’re able to have with regard to outdoor cooking. This grill and other electric grills like it are able to give the same grill appearance and flavor without the flare-ups that can come with a grill that has an open fire.

The other upside to electric grills is that there is no need to stock up on fuel for it. As long as you’ve got an outlet, you’re ready to grill. You won’t find yourself scrambling at the last minute to get propane or charcoal when you want to grill a couple burgers!

The major downside is that while the electric grill will give you the same char marks as its more traditional competitors, the electric grill might be missing the smoky flavor that you’re looking for. Still, with the budget and ease of use, this might be the perfect grill to get you through summer grilling season.

Charcoal Outdoor Grill

These are a classic. Often when you talk about getting a grill, you think about those classic black Weber grills with the charcoal briquets. The most basic models tend to be at the lower end of the budget spectrum and also have a small footprint for easy keeping on the patio.

Charcoal grills also are able to impart a delicious smoky flavor to whatever you’re grilling. They are easy to use and easy to keep clean and useful. There aren’t a lot of parts that can break or wear out, so they are ideal for someone who wants a grill that is low maintenance.

The big downside with the charcoal grill is that if you’re out of those black briquets, you’re probably out of luck for your barbeque. Also, while it is easy to get those briquets going, as far as starting the grill, it’s going to take a little while to get them to the perfect embers that are so great for low and slow cooking that makes grilled meals so enjoyable.

Propane Outdoor Grill

Another classic, these grills have a great combination of ease and speed. As long as you’re stocked on propane (easily purchased at most local gas stations, among other places) you’re ready to have a cookout.

Unlike charcoal grills, propane grills are easy to start and come up to their ideal temperature easily, without waiting for a fire to build up and then die down to the perfect cooking temperature. While there is a little bit of waiting time for the grill to come up to temperature, it typically isn’t any more than you would have for an electric grill.

There is also a wide variety of sizes for propane grills. There are some that can be quite small for an outdoor patio, there are others that can quickly resemble an outdoor kitchen. Along with a variety of sizes, propane grills come in a wide variety of budgets. While they tend to be a little more expensive than their electric or charcoal counterparts, there are still many propane grills that can meet a variety of budgets.

One of the great things about propane grills is that there are a number of features available for them. There are grills that come with a side burner for cooking other things along with your main course, and there are grills that can help you maintain the perfect temperature for your outdoor cooking needs.

One of the big downsides to a propane grill is the maintenance. While there are any number of gadgets available to help clean a propane grill, getting it thoroughly clean can be a substantial undertaking. There are also a lot more parts on a propane grill. Anytime there are more parts on something, there are more parts that can break. Of course, the ease of use and the ability to turn out a consistent meal tends to make the propane grill worth the extra maintenance.

Specialty Outdoor Grills

Wood pellet grill

Wood pellet grills are for a very particular crowd. This is for the grilling enthusiast who wants more out of their grilling experience than a steak with beautiful char lines. Wood pellet grills combine the smokey flavor of a smoker with the speed and ease of cooking of a propane grill.

Wood pellet grills use both wood chips and propane to create a smoky flavor that is sure to impress whatever crowd you have for all of your summer shindigs.

There are a few downsides to the wood pellet grill. These grills require both wood pellets and propane which means that when it’s time for a barbeque, there are two types of fuel you’ll have to stock up on before everyone comes over. Also, wood pellet grills come with a significant price tag. There are very few options under the $1,000 mark.

While the grilling enthusiast who is in the market for a grill that will impress summer guests for years to come will be able to see past the shortcomings of a wood pellet grill, they are important factors to consider for a first-time grill purchaser.

Smokers

These great machines are not just for hunters! Surely anyone can enjoy the great smoky taste of meats that have spent hours in the smoker. Also, for a very specific crowd, smokers are a great option for people looking to take a lot of time to make sure their meat has that great smoky flavor.

Smokers come in a couple different fuel types, though most of them will also require wood chips to impart the smoky flavor you’re after. There are both gas and electric varieties and many come with extras to sweeten the deal. There are some that can offer a more consistent temperature and even smokers that will hook into the Wi-Fi in your home so that you can monitor your meats without having to stand by the smoker for hours.

While smokers come in a variety of price ranges, the biggest downside to a smoker is that the meat takes a long time to cook. But for those who are looking into getting a smoker, that’s part of the appeal. Smoking meats truly turn into a labor of love for those who are looking to impress family and friends with mouthwatering morsels.

Outdoor Grill parts

Before going grill shopping, be sure to get familiar with the different parts of the grill and some of the accessories that might come along with it.

Grates

This is where most of your food is going to be cooking. If you’re going to be cooking for large crowds, be sure there is enough room for everyone’s food to be able to cook at the same time. You wouldn’t want your family barbeque to turn into a food fight.

Burners and side burners

A great accessory, burners work like those on a typical stove and can be convenient when you’re trying to cook multiple parts of a meal.

Side burners can also help with getting multiple parts of a meal together as they can cook foods at a lower temperature than the foods that are cooking either on a burner or on the grate of the grill.

Thermometer

It may seem like a silly add-on, but a thermometer can help you add precision to your outdoor cooking. Making sure your grill is equipped with an accurate thermometer can help you know when to put your foods on the grill as well as how long they’ll have to stay there to have the perfect doneness.

Have Fun Outdoor Grilling

Grill shopping can be intimidating if you don’t know what you’re looking for. While you’re figuring out what to look for and who has the best deals, keep in mind all the great summer meals you will be able to enjoy with your friends and family on your new outdoor grill.

As you’re shopping, learn as you go. Think about the things that you see that you love and the things that you don’t really need. Keep in mind that there are a lot of options for grills and there are plenty of accessories that you can choose or choose to live without.

There are also accessories that can wait because you want an experience that provides good food and comfort for your family and guests. If there’s something that seems like it might be fun to add on in the future, keep it in mind, and as you’re using your new grill think about whether it would be something you would actually use.

Outdoor cooking can be a great way to bring family and friends together and an easy way to cook up a meal you can be proud of. Take your time, enjoy the experience and explore all the great options that come with outdoor cooking.

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