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Grills Buying Guide

There is nothing like cooking in the great outdoors. The fresh air and sunshine can give you quite an appetite. And the smell of your favorite meats grilling to perfection simply can’t be beat.

Of course, in order to ;get your grill on’, you first have to get a grill… and there are so many to choose from. How can you tell which grill will be right for you?

Well, they all have their pluses and minuses. Let’s check them out and see which grill best suits your needs



  • CHARCOAL: The traditional backyard or tailgater grill. 
    • PROS: Can be small and portable (think a hibachi) or big enough to feed an army. These grill can be made of anything from cast iron to stainless steel and provide a good cooking experience with the charcoal providing that quintessential smokey flavor.  
    • CONS: Most heat unevenly and the charcoal leaves a lot of ash to clean up.
  • ELECTRIC: Just plug it in and you are good to go.
    • PROS: Easy to use. Heats fairly evenly and the ONLY type of grill that can be used indoors as well as outdoors. Easy clean up.
    • CONS: This grill needs to be in reach of electrical power. You won’t get that great smoky flavor without the use of a smoker box. 
  • PROPANE: Considered safer to use in an apartment balcony type of setting. (check with your property manager for rules and safety)
    • PROS: Quick start up. Easily control temperatures. Even heating on the grill area. Easiest to clean.
    • CONS: You have to keep an eye on your propane supply. It wouldn’t do to run out halfway through cooking.
  • NATURAL GAS: It’s like having your kitchen stove in your backyard.
    • PROS: Quick start up. Easily control temperatures. Even heating on the grill area. Easiest to clean.
    • CONS: This type of grill requires a dedicated gas line. So, once you’ve chosen a place for your grill… That is where it will stay.
  • WOOD PELLET: This type of grill is getting popular.
    • PROS: Even though this grill uses ‘wood flame’ the pellet hopper gives you a level of control. You’ll get the ability to keep an even, constant cooking temperature. Convection helps food cook faster and more evenly. Pellets burn thoroughly and leave less ash. Fairly easy clean up. Great smoky flavor. Pellets come in many smoke flavors  to add to your grilling experience.
    • CONS: Can only use food grade pellets. If you ignore this, you can end up with meat that tastes… odd.
  • SMOKERS: Great for traditional barbecue smoked meats.
    • PROS: Indirect heat cooks low and slow for long periods of time. Won’t dry meat out. Finished product is juicy with a great smokey flavor. Many fuel types are available for smokers. If traditional smoked meats are what you are into, this is the way to go.
    • CONS: These are really only focused on meats, so a smoker may not be as versatile as you’d like. Very time consuming. You can smoke meats using either a charcoal or gas grill, so a dedicated smoker is really only for people who intend to do a lot of it.
  • CERAMIC: These may look different, but the taste is more important than looks.
    • PROS: Creates ¿ of the ash. Retains heat and moisture better. Uses natural lump charcoal. Can cook on low for 18+ hours on one batch of lump charcoal. Cook on multiple levels. Easy clean. Won’t rust.
    • CONS: Some of these can be expensive and heavy. 

Now that you’ve got a handle on the type of grill you may be in the market for, let’s take a look at some optional extras than can really turn up the heat on your grilling experience.


  • SIDE BURNER: (gas only) If you have a propane or natural gas grill, a side burner just adds more versatility. Cook sauces, boil water, without ever leaving the grill.
  • ROTISSERIE: Want to cook larger roasts or maybe a whole chicken. A rotisserie may be a nice add on for you. Just place the meat on the spit and the rotisserie unit slowly turns it over your heat source. You’ll get even cooking and since rotisserie meats are always turning they are also, self basting.
  • SMOKER BOX: This addition lets you put wood chips inside a perforated metal box and place them in the heating area of your gas or electric grill. This will give you great smoky flavor with easy clean up.
  • INFRARED BURNER: Want to get a great sear and speed up your cook time. Adding an infrared burner to your gas or electric grill will do just that. An infrared burner is a ceramic plate that sits between your gas flames (or electric heating element) and the grill area. The flame heats the plate which then emits infrared waves for high, even heating. It’s like a supercharger for your gas or electric grill.

There are so many options open to you, but the most important thing is to get outside and enjoy yourself. Whether you’re in your backyard, at a park or tailgating at the big game, nothing is better for bringing people together than grilling.