• Which Grill To Buy? Charcoal or Gas?

    IT'S A LIFESTYLE CHOICE

    This is really your first decision. Are you convinced there's nothing like the taste and smell of food grilled over hot coals? Do you take a certain pride in your ability to get the fire started and keep it properly tended while you cook? Do you need that hands-on, primal experience?

    Or do you want a perfect fire at the push of a button? Do you appreciate the precision temperature adjustments gas grills can provide? Would you rather avoid the whole charcoal set-up and the post-cookout ashes?

    Whether you're in the charcoal or gas grill camp, you're in luck. Taste tests indicate there's no significant flavor difference either way. The choice is strictly personal. Consider how you plan to use your grill will you grill every night or just on special occasions? Will that change over time? Is cost an issue? While gas grills are initially more expensive, they generally cost less to operate in the long run. Both are great choices pick the one that's right for you!

  • What to look for in a charcoal grill

    Okay, you've got the fever. But do you have the right grill? Remember, your food's only going to be as good as your grill, so make sure a one-time bargain doesn't turn into a long-term disappointment. Invest in a good grill and you can focus on dinner, not your toolbox.

    1. Solid construction.
    A good, well-built grill will feel solid and sturdy; a poorly made grill will wiggle. If a grill isn’t solid on the sales floor, chances are it will fall apart rather quickly on the patio or deck. Choose a grill made of high-grade steel. Also opt for a baked-on, porcelain-enamel finish. The legs should be sturdy, wheels should roll easily, and the grill should display a good fit and finish. Cooking grates are generally made from plated steel or chrome-plated aluminum. A thicker, heavier-gauge cooking grate will last longer and distribute and retain heat better.

    2. Assembly.
    When you buy a barbecue you want to grill, not drill, so fast, easy assembly is a priority. Some grills require hours (and an engineering degree) to assemble. Better brands reduce or eliminate the amount of assembly required by the consumer.

    3. Service and maintenance.
    Top-notch after-market service supports any quality-made grill, including thorough, easy-to-read information about the product, and a toll-free service line. A good grill is easy to clean and to maintain, and long-life is assured by easy access to replacement parts and service.

    4. Think about who made the grill.
    Do you know and trust the name on the hood? Will they help you down the road? What happens if you have a question when assembling your grill on a Saturday afternoon? Who can you talk to? Does the company have toll-free service to help you when you need it? How about the extras that make your grilling experience better, like detailed cooking instructions and free recipes?

    5. Long warranty.
    It makes sense: the best manufacturers can afford to stand behind their products. Don’t settle for less than a 5-year warranty.

  • What to look for in a Gas Grill

    Besides price, what separates an ordinary gas grill from a great gas grill? Here are a few points savvy grill shoppers should know.

    1. Give it the wiggle test.
    Step right up, grab the grill by the sides, and give it a good shake. If it doesn’t feel sturdy at the store, you can bet it’s going to fall apart in your backyard. A well-built grill feels solid and stable, and is made of high-grade steel, baked-on porcelain enamel and heavy quality stainless steel. The best grills have carts that are welded, not screwed together, to make them sturdier.

    2. Now, lift up the hood.
    Most grill shoppers stop at opening and closing the hood. If it feels heavy, they tend to think the grill is good. But that’s like judging a car on the weight of the hood. Check what’s inside to really judge how it will perform.

    3. Lift out the grates and look inside.
    Under the grates you’ll see some type of system to disperse heat from the burners and channel away food drippings. Many grills use lava rocks or ceramic briquets. But beware—drippings can pool on these surfaces until they reach a flash point and flare-up. The best design is an inverted v-shaped metal bar (invented by Weber) that rests on top of the burners to vaporize drippings.

    4. Take out the steel bars or briquettes.
    Underneath, you’ll find the burners, which provide heat. Lower priced grills will have only one burner or burners shaped like an H, a U, or a circle. These designs can create hot and cold spots across the grilling surface, meaning steaks on one side of the grill will be fully cooked while those on the other side won’t be done—or worse—overdone. Burner tubes on better grills are independently controlled and run the length of the cookbox to provide evenly dispersed heat.

    5. Think about who made the grill.
    Do you know and trust the name on the hood? Will they help you down the road? What happens if you have a question when assembling your grill on a Saturday afternoon? Who can you talk to? Does the company have toll-free service to help you when you need it? How about the extras that make your grilling experience better, like detailed cooking instructions and tested recipes?