The best grill
If you look forward to summer because you have a chance to start grilling again, you're not alone. Steaks, burgers, chicken, and vegetables just taste better on the grill. Plus there's nothing quite like hanging out with family and friends at a cookout.
Whether you love to grill using charcoal, propane, infrared heat, or wood pellets as the fuel, there's a perfect barbecue grill out there for your needs, and this guide will help you find it. We particularly like the Weber Spirit II as the grill with the best mixture of value, performance, and convenience.
Considerations when choosing grills
When considering the type of grill you want, pay attention to the size of the grill and the fuel it uses.
The most common type of grill is rectangular shaped. This grill nearly always uses propane as the fuel. These large grills will have multiple burners, so you can precisely control the heat while cooking.
A kettle grill is circular-shaped with a dome top. This style of grill nearly always uses charcoal. With the dome lid, the grill retains heat nicely, which makes it a good option for cooking larger items, such as a whole chicken or a roast.
Portable grills are small and made to be taken with you for cooking away from home. These often are rectangular shaped, although some kettle grills have a portable design. They will operate with cylinders of gas or charcoal.
Deciding which type of fuel you want in a grill is a personal preference. Charcoal uses heated briquettes to cook the food and delivers a unique flavor. However, it does generate ash, which some people don't like.
A propane gas grill is easy to start and allows you to begin cooking the food immediately. You can control the heat and size of the flame easily with a propane grill. It doesn't generate ash. But some people don't like the way food tastes on a gas grill versus a charcoal grill.
Certain types of grills use nontraditional fuel, such as wood pellets. However, grills using uncommon heating fuels typically will cost more than propane or charcoal grills.
The materials used in the construction of the grill will determine its cost. Because a grill will be used outdoors, the ability of its materials to stand up to the weather and harsh conditions is important.
Stainless steel: Stainless steel is the best material for a grill, because it's rust-resistant and easy to clean. However, it also costs more than other materials found in grills.
Cast iron: Cast iron is extremely durable and holds heat well, so it's available in some grills. However, it will rust if exposed to moisture, so you need to avoid leaving this type of grill in the weather.
Steel: To protect a steel grill against the elements, it often will have a chrome plating. This is the least expensive material used in grills. Chrome-plated steel looks nice, but it will wear down with regular use of the grill.
Some steel or cast-iron grills have an enamel coating. Enamel helps to prevent rust and stands up to heat.
Grills can be expensive appliances, with large units featuring precise temperature control carrying a $500 to $2,000 cost. For an average-size gas or charcoal grill, expect to pay $200 to $500. Tiny portable grills can cost as little as $40.
Q. What does it mean to season the grill the first time I use it?
A. Some manufacturers want you to let the grill run at a high temperature for a few minutes the first time you use it. This burns off any foreign particles on the grill grates before you place food on them.
Q. How often should I clean the grill?
A. Check with the manufacturer of the grill for cleaning tips. Some will recommend cleaning every time you use the grill. Others can be cleaned after every two or three uses if you cook at high temperatures.
Grills we recommend
Best of the best: Weber's Spirit II
Our take: Good build quality for the price, resulting in a grill that should give you excellent longevity.
What we like: Includes plenty of storage area under the grill. Grill racks are larger than you'd expect at this price point.
What we dislike: Fuel gauge isn't always as accurate as it should be.
Best bang for your buck: Weber's Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill
Our take: Excellent choice for those who want a high-performing grill to take with them to a tailgate party or to the beach.
What we like: Construction quality is outstanding versus other portable grills. Easier to clean than some other models.
What we dislike: Limited to using charcoal.
Choice 3: Dyna-Glo's Dual-Chamber Charcoal Grill
Our take: Perfect choice for those who like a large grilling area at a reasonable cost.
What we like: Offers two cooking zones, so you can closely control the temperature. Easy access to the charcoal area.
What we dislike: Only uses charcoal. Grates may chip and rust over time.
Kyle Schurman is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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