It’s summer time and many traditional past times are being enjoyed everywhere. One exciting — and tastefully rewarding — activity that takes place heavily during the warmer months is grilling. Whether you refer to it as grilling, cooking out, barbecuing, BBQ, or something else…the basic idea is this: cooking meats and vegetables over an open flame or heat source (direct or indirect) that has been produced with wood, charcoal, electricity, or gas.
For the casual griller, there is a wealth of information on the Internet that can be used to your advantage when looking to purchase a grill. What features do you need? Do you want a gas grill? Electric? Propane? Natural gas or charcoal? These are questions that you need answered first. The next thing you need to do is find out what to look for in a grill and what to avoid. Our goal is to touch on the two most popular types of grills (gas and charcoal) and point you in the right direction so that you will be able to choose the grill that best suits your needs and desires.
By far these are the most popular type of grills available. The majority of gas grills use propane gas which allows a bit more portability to your grill. The use of small propane canisters has allowed some grill manufacturer to design and offer very small, portable grills that are ideal for camping, tailgating, or afternoons at the park. Grills that use natural gas are also available, but they are generally stationary and not portable at all since they require connection to a natural gas line coming from your home. Gas Grills have a couple of unique advantages over regular charcoal/wood grills or smokers. Gas grills are easily started, reach cooking temperatures quickly, maintain constant temperatures, and shut down easily when you’re finished.
About.com has a good, detailed list that features 10 gas grills for under $250. This list offers details about each of the grills, which in turn will allow you to do some comparison shopping before you purchase a grill.
If you learn best by watching, we encourage you to view this good series of “how to” videos on how to barbeque with a gas grill from eHow.com. There are 15 videos and they cover a wide variety of topics associated with using and maintaining a gas grill.
For some beginner gas grilling tips, here are two articles that may be helpful:
There’s something appealing to many people about cooking over charcoal. The aroma and flavor produced by great charcoal is unrivaled. While it’s possible to get into the “grilling scene” in a much cheaper fashion by purchasing a charcoal grill, the longevity of your investment may also be dramatically reduced if you don’t choose a good grill. In order to do it effectively, there are several things that need to be considered when looking to purchase a charcoal grill. Several of the desired features are the same as those listed above for gas grills (temperature gauge, good cooking grids/grates, and shelves).
About.com has a great article that lists their top 10 charcoal grills, their features and where they are available. This is a useful tool if you’re interested in purchasing a charcoal grill.
Generally charcoal grills last longer than gas grills simply because they don’t have as many complex, moving parts. Of course they take longer to get going and lack the convenience of a gas grill. But, they offer you the ability to give your food authentic, smoky flavors based on the type of charcoal and wood chips you use. Also, while charcoal grills tend to be less expensive than gas grills, the fuel cost (over time) is higher and will balance out the equation over time.
When you are ready to start shopping, there are several good places to look for a good grill that will be within your budget. We strongly urge you to shop on the Internet first. Often times, many of the websites for the “big box retail stores” contain special pricing. Check out Walmart, Sears, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sam’s Club, and Costco as these retailers often feature relatively inexpensive grills with the popular features. BBQ.com, a ShoppersChoice.com store, is also a great resource for comparison shopping for myriad grills, smokers, and accessories suited to any budget.
We hope that these tips, links, and suggestions will be useful to you when choosing your new grill and you enjoy all of your tailgating, holiday cook outs, and backyard culinary adventures this summer!
BONUS: To have high-quality meats delivered to your door, we recommend Perdue Farms. They offer a variety of traditional and organic selections that are shipped frozen.
This post was last updated on August 05, 2023.
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