We're a month away from Memorial Day, the official start of BBQ season, and some of us might be thinking about buying a new grill. Beyond the well-worn charcoal versus gas debate, there are other considerations to take into account when shopping for an outdoor cooker — here's a brief guide to help you find the best grill for you.
Charcoal, Gas, or Electric?
There's a lot of debate between hard-core backyard barbecuers about the merits of charcoal versus gas, and we won't attempt to sort it all out here. We'll just clarify that charcoal grills favor the "low and slow" method of cooking which provides a smokey flavor, gas grills usually have a higher flame with less smoke, and electric grills are the fastest of the three with very little flavor added through the grill itself. The kind of grill you buy may also depend on your city code — many urban areas don't allow propane grills, for example.
What Do You Want to Cook?
For hamburgers and hot dogs, a classic kettle grill is fine. If you want to cook a whole bird or roast, you might want a model with a rotisserie. For someone who's into searing and cooking side dishes on the grill, consider an option with a griddle.
How Much Space Have You Got?
If you've got a tiny apartment with a balcony, a gas grill might not be the best option, since gas can flare up and isn't safe in a tight urban space. If you've got a big backyard, your options are broader. If you've got no outdoor space at all, a portable grill that you can take to the park or the beach might be your best choice.
What's Your Budget?
In general, the higher the grill's price, the more bells and whistles it includes and the more likely it is to be made from higher-end materials like stainless steel. A basic charcoal kettle grill might be cheaper than a propane grill with a rotisserie and side burners, but for someone who prefers that classic smoky charcoal flavor, it's a better buy.
Top Photo: Fuego Element Grill