Cooking outdoors is a classic American pastime that seems to be growing more and more popular with every passing summer season. After all, there’s nothing quite like the taste of freshly grilled steak and veggies you’ve prepared yourself. Not only is the food delicious, but the time spent with friends and family while cooking in your outdoor kitchen is wonderful too.
But purchasing the best grill for your needs and budget can be a tricky thing if you’re not prepared. Do you need just a basic cart grill, for instance, or would you rather set yourself up with a complete outdoor kitchen? How much money are you willing to invest?
These are all important questions to answer before you purchase a grill. Here are a few tips to help you make the right decision.
Know Your Budget
Setting a budget for your new grill should be your first step. A realistic budget will help you narrow down your choices, but don’t forget that old saw about getting what you pay for—it’s very true.
First things first, though: Ask yourself a few questions before you make your purchase:
- How often are you going to use the grill? Do you expect to use it on a near-nightly basis? Once a week? Or will it only be touched on the Fourth of July and other special occasions?
- How much food will you be preparing, and what type of food will you make? The grill should hold enough food to make a meal for as many people as you’d normally cook for. Surface size matters a great deal, and larger grills naturally tend to cost more.
Determine the various options you’re going to need in your new grill.
If you’ll typically only be cooking for two, you might want to consider a smaller grill. If you’re a party animal, the same logic applies: You’ll want a significantly larger grill if you’ll be cooking for dozens of people at a time.
You also need to bear in mind the specific features you want. If you’ll generally be cooking the basic hot dogs and hamburgers, a basic model will be perfect for you. For advanced outdoor chefs who plan on cooking more complex meals such as whole chickens, turkeys or roasts, more advanced features will definitely come in handy.
How long do you want your new grill to last? If you’re a dedicated enthusiast who plans on using your grill for years to come, you’ll want to purchase the highest quality grill that fits within your budget.
How large is the area in which you’re placing the grill? Are you planning on a fully equipped outdoor kitchen, or something simpler?
BTU’s determine how much heat your grill will generate. How much heat do you need? The higher the BTU (British Thermal Unit), the hotter the heat.
Types of Grills
After determining how much you’re willing to spend and what you want from a grill, the fun part begins. Let’s choose the perfect grill for you.
Grill Carts: These are the stand-alone grills that are a staple of backyard grilling. Grill carts are very versatile, and because they have wheels, they’re also very portable. Grill carts are available in an assortment of sizes, and with BTU’s ranging from 30,000 all the way up to 105,000.
Drop-in Grills: This is an ideal model for the passionate outdoor chef. These units are meant to become a permanent part of your outdoor kitchen. Drop-in grills have similar features and designs as grill carts, except for the fact that they’re permanently installed.
Island Grills: If you are a true grilling enthusiast, you might want to consider getting the very best: the island grill. These grills can be as simple or complex as you’d like. You can even set yourself up with a genuine outdoor kitchen complete with multiple burners, rotisseries, and other options. With some models featuring refrigerators, granite counter tops and MP3 players, island grillls truly are the ultimate grilling experience.