What You'll Find
If you’ve been thinking of buying a grill, your head might be full of a ton of specifications and information with which you have no idea what to do, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a grill. Every online listing and every local shop will tell you a hundred things and your head will end up swimming. A hasty decision is the last thing you want to make but you might end up doing just that if you go into it unprepared.
The best thing to do is study up on what to look for in a grill before you make a buying decision. Collectively, what we need to focus on is:
Let’s take a closer look at what things you need to consider before you put our finger on a model.
The first and foremost thing you need to focus on is what size is your requirement. Who are you buying for: just yourself, a couple of people, or a large family? Or maybe you intend to host parties? You will need to choose the size accordingly.
If you just need to grill for yourself, there’s no point in buying 700 square inches worth of cooking area. Also, if you want to cook for a family but you don’t have the space for it then there’s really, absolutely, certainly no point at all in buying a large grill. You can make do with a smaller model; you’ll have to spend some more time grilling, but at least you’ll be able to use it.
Buy a grill according to the space you have for it and according to how much you intend to cook at a time.
2. Look at the material of the grill
Material is a very important thing to consider when you buy a grill because that is what serves you in terms of durability. Also, there are two different things the material of which you need to consider:
- The cooking grate
- The frame of the grill
The grilling surface mostly comes in porcelain-enameled steel, porcelain-enameled cast-iron, cast-iron, or steel. All of these will serve you well and with proper care will last for years.
Make sure that you look closely at the material of the frame of the grill as well. The frames are usually of stainless steel or cast-aluminum, but some manufacturers also use painted steel frames which tend to rust easily.
3. What fuel does the grill take?
Grills can run on multiple fuel options. Some gas grills run on natural gas, some need a propane tank, some grills use wood pellets, some are charcoal grills, and some run on electricity. Each of these options gives a different flavor to your food. For example, if you like a woodsy flavor then a pellet grill would be the best grill for you.
Also, consider the cost of the fuel, e.g. wood pellets or lump charcoal might end up costing more than natural gas in the long run.
If you’re buying a propane grill, note if the grill comes with proper propane storage that will keep the tank out of sight and out of mind. If having the tank out in the open doesn’t bother you, you can skip this feature.
Grills that use charcoal and pellets should have a proper ash disposal system because cleaning will end up being a headache if the ash is not properly taken care of, so look out for that.
4. Is it portable or not?
If you intend to move your grill around a fair bit then make sure you consider the feature of portability. Many grills are equipped with caster wheels and more often than not they are also lockable. Some grills have two legs with wheels while the other two have solid footing.
Some grills have foldable legs, and some have legs that fold to become a handle. Grills like these are exceptionally wonderful for tailgating and camping.
If you intend to keep your grill more or less fixed then portability is not something for you to worry about.
Grills come with additional features like grease channels, grease pan, ash bucket, removable lids, wireless connectivity, side burners, side racks, under-carriage storage, etc.
These additional things are very appealing, but keep in mind that more features mean a higher cost. So only look for features that you are absolutely going to use. There’s no point in paying for additional features that you are, in all probability, never going to use.
For example, if you don’t need the extra space, there’s no need to pay extra for a grill that comes with side racks. If the main cooking grate provides enough grilling space for you then you have no need for the side burners. If you don’t intend to take your grill camping, you probably don’t need to pay more for foldable legs.
Why should you buy a grill?
A grill is an essential piece of equipment to own when you have a backyard. Even if you don’t have an outdoor place of that size, you can even set up a small grill on a patio or a balcony, so the lack of a yard is no reason to not have a grill.
Buying a grill can be something of a daunting task, especially when you are new to it. Even if you have been grilling previously, upgrading your equipment can seem difficult if you don’t know exactly what your new grill should have. Which is why you need to understand exactly what to look for in a grill.
Do you really need to look closely at a grill before buying?
Of course, no one wants to end up with something that they use just once and then it just gathers dust in a corner, essentially becoming a piece of junk. We all want our money’s worth, which is why it is so important to understand exactly what you want before you make a buying decision.
To a newbie, a grill might appear to be just a hot surface to cook meat and have a great time with. That is not the case. Behind the simple ‘grill’ of the grill lies a plethora of things. These things include, but aren’t limited to:
- The size of the grill
- The material of the structure,
- The material of the grilling surface,
- Heating source,
- Number of burners,
- Type of the grilling surface,
- Lid or lack thereof,
- Cleaning system,
- Grease channel,
- Grease bucket,
- Legs and whether they’re foldable,
- Side racks,
- Undercarriage storage space,
- Tool hooks…
…etc. You get the gist.
Don’t be alarmed. The purpose of this list is not to scare you off of buying a grill altogether. Rather, it is intended to make you understand that a grill has a lot going on except for what it looks like on the outside. You can’t just make a buying decision based on just one of these factors, or even a few; you have to consider all of these when you decide to buy yourself a grill.
And then you have to decide which ones to give preference to. Obviously, you can’t have the best of everything. Or rather, you can’t have the best of everything without spending a really solid chunk of money.
Now that is something that most of us are not willing to do. Why spend too much on something that will in all probability only be used in the summer? What we want is a grill that performs perfectly for us, for our requirements – nothing more, nothing less.
And once you have yourself a grill that you love, be sure to take very good care of it. If you do, it will last for years and years and will essentially become a family member in your bbq parties. After all, it is the reason you get to eat delicious, juicy barbecue cooked to perfection, isn’t it?