How to Choose the Best BBQ Grill
Work hard, play hard! Nothing is funnier than making a barbecue party at your back yard with your family or friends at every weekend. It’s not only creating a closer connection among members, but also healthy as you control what you add to your food and how they are cooked, right?
To make such parties successful, surely the best BBQ grill is a must, which is why in this article, I will share you everything needed to equip yourself when it comes to choosing a good unit, from the suitable type, picking the right size to the material consideration or which are the best sellers on the market now. I will give you all! So, don’t hesitate to keep reading with me.
Let’s get started, my friend!
Things to consider buying the right BBQ grill
Three first and basic questions to chew on before you buy are:
- How is your budget?
- How much food do you want to cook at once?
- How much cooking space do you need?
But, let’s talk about the price first!
BBQ comes in different types, the ranges of which are from a few hundreds to thousands of dollars. But there’s one thing you should know is that spending more doesn’t always deliver you better performance in cooking. In fact, you can absolutely make a great dish on an affordable grill.
And actually, all included products in this buying guide come in affordable price that truly bangs for your buck. But before getting straight to that section, don’t forget to consider how much space you have. Or, on other words, the size of BBQ grill.
Size and Space
Many producers might include side burners and bottom racks in their cooking area dimensions. Or, they might designate grills based on the numbers of burners. However, with me, to make it much easier, I usually judge grill by the load of food which the major cooking area can hold and I group them due to my ratings.
Hence, before making any purchase, bear on mind to have a look at the real cooking space to find out whether it has enough area for the average number of people that you often cook for and don’t forget about how various of foods you intend to grill.
If you love keeping it basic with hot dogs and burger beef, many of grill will do the good job. However, on the contrary, when you like to cook slow cooking pork or many kinds of fish, you need to grill that stuff on indirect cooking tests and on your temperature range.
In case you regularly host big parties or cook for a crowd, go for a large-size grill which has 800-square inches of cooking area and up. But, if your indoor space is on the small size, you might prefer some more compact options, such as the 350-square inches.
In terms of the best portable grill, for a group of large friends, a grill of 490 square inches (or a medium to larger size) is perfect.
However, in general, the smaller-size barbecues will easily cook enough food for a family of 4-5 members. If you are looking for a small grill to bring for camping or use on a balcony, a portable gas barbecue is your best bet.
You also have to think about how much cooking space you need!
Many huger barbecues span a full six feet thus, calculate your patio or deck before buying. Consider it over carefully, especially, the smooth edges. Otherwise, sharp edges can make you hurt or injured if accidentally, you bump into them while cooking.
Gas barbecue grill
For those who already have a natural gas line installed at your house, the best gas grill is quite a smart choice. These unites can start fast and are functional because your fuel source is constant.
They are also popular. For tailgaters, campers or anyone who wants to grill on the go, consider this portable model. They usually come in handy as an extra grill when you don’t want to fire up the big grill and are a good option for an apartment or condo with limited space. These typically cost roughly 100 dollars and up.
They start fast yet bear on mind that you should usually refill the propane tanks. Some have short legs that you can set on the ground or a table. Others can fold up and then open to standing height.
A few modern propane units on the market can be converted to natural gas barbecues with the buying of a conversion kit.
Finally, looking for a model with latches to lock the lid when you are carrying the grill.
They are a nostalgic favorite for many individuals. Many people believe that the dishes tastes with more flavor and that the cooking experience is more authentic. Besides, they only cost roughly $200 to $500, however, you can look for some whose price is roughly 100 dollars while the higher-end units can take you up to thousands.
Only bear in mind that the charcoal grills do ask more preparation and take longer time to heat up. Thus, this type won’t be the best selection if you are wishing to make a quick weeknight dinner.
However, to get the charcoal hotter faster, you can find the help of starter chimneys. When it comes to choosing the best charcoal grills, I advise you to opt for the removeable grates so that you can insert some more fuel without interrupting food that’s grilling.
Also, keep in mind to choose the removable ash pans for quickier cleanup.
An electric barbecue is very useful if you live in a condo or city apartment that won’t allow an open flame. To heat grill plate, they use electricity. The price range is fluctuated between 250 and 500 dollars.
In terms of the drawback, they are smaller thus, you might not feed an RV. And, you should plug these barbecues in so you will need a power source to access.
Now, you have narrowed down the types of fuel or types of BBQ grills, let’s talk its material.
Material & Durability
In terms of the grill outer performance, some of us might prefer the stainless steels look. However, you should know that not all kinds are created equally. Higher ends might be better in rust resistance but bear in mind that a higher quality stainless steel barbecue will cost you more, usually from hundreds to thousands, which is mostly based on the grill size.
The barbecues with porcelain coating are a more affordable alternative. The biggest advantage of this type is it doesn’t show scratches or fingerprints like the stainless steel. This type is perfect to sear meats. However, if the coating peels away, it might get rust. So, my high recommendation is you should spend some more money to get a porcelain cast-iron grates, especially if you are looking for those with great retaining heat, striking durability and non-rusted. On top of that, it’s easy to clean.
If you are wondering about the cast aluminum, this is also a good type to try because they are lightweight in addition to not easy to get rust.
There is actually one more type of material which is painted steel, but I don’t highly advise you to try. Why? Because firstly, they are very easy to peel away and secondly, it leads to them easily getting rust.
Grates, burners and igniter
Pay more attention to the grill grates, igniters and burners as these sections get much wears and tears whereas they take an essential role in the grill quality.
From that point, consider grill grates made out of stainless steel which is anti-rust. Grates with cast iron coating also performs well (due to my experience). However, from time to time, they might chip or get rust.
When heating up your barbecue, you should consider an electronic igniter. Burners are the most commonly replaced part on a grill. You will see many burners, especially on more affordable price barbecues come with guarantees of 5 years or less. But, higher-end ones need to come with longer warranties which last at least 10 years or even a lifetime.
Remember that no matter which barbecue you opt for, you might soup it up with some extra accessories. Some tools will help you to expand what dishes you are preparing on the barbecue for examples rib cookers, pizza stone, or baskets and stir-fried tools.
Might there be some robots helping you to clean all up after getting everything done. But, chances are you surprised at how variety of cuisines you can grill on a regular barbecue without any additional tools.
A built-in barbecue thermometer helps you to open the lid each few minutes. This keep releasing precious heat so that keep in mind to place it in the middle of the barbecue, otherwise, readings might be inexact.
After you’ve got the basic features, you can pay more attention to other fun stuff.
Grillers should deck out their units with deep fryers and rotisserie fridges. The rotisserie burner is located along the back wall of a barbecue, which is great to roast a whole chicken.
Even on some barbecues, you can find out fridges, ice boxes, and drawers for storage and steaming. Some grills enclose with a BBQ smoker or conventional oven.
A propane pull-out self is the best way to insert your fuel tank into the barbecue with less string. Meanwhile, to know when it’s time to change a tank, a fuel gauge is a must.
A pullout grease tray makes cleaning up easier.
LED lights on the control knobs and under the hood are definitely useful if you like to cook in the evening.
Many barbecues provide cooking space to work outsides, the side shelves which are foldable can help you prepare food right next to the grill, very convenient.
Side burners are also helpful to boil a pot of corn, fry vegetables. Besides, if you want to sear your meat before it hits the grill, you will need an infrared side burner. These give you very precise heat at high temperature.
They are also good to use with a cast-iron pan.
Finally, look for grill with four wheels which make moving your grill much easier.
Bonus: Is it essential to consider BTUs?
Many producers say that better cooking, hotter grilling and faster heating with a variety of features however, might you not need all of them to cook a perfectly delicious steak.
For instance, some manufacturers usually told us to consider the BTUs or British thermal units, which helps you know how much gas a barbecue utilizes and how much heat that grill enable to produce. But, based on my experience, more BTUs don’t necessarily equal to the quicker heating or better cooking.
From that point, it’s best to keep BTUs out of your buying decision.
Now, without taking your time more, I’ll go straight forward to some options of the best BBQ grill based on my ratings and experience. Don’t miss out!
My Top Choices
1. Charcoal Grill 17in with Steel Cooking Grate for Home Garden
Another good thing is that they also add many functional accessories to help you cook better and more convenient.
This Charcoal Grill from Beau Jardin is a great example of medium size barbecues. Measured by 17 x 17 x 23 inches enclosing an 18.5-inch steel plate, it’s perfect for family use of about 4-6 members. By the way, it’s compact enough to grill food on the go or for camping as well.
This is the best outdoor grill with a standard design as it meets almost all of my requirements listed above, including non-rust aluminum material, built-in functional thermometer, additional and foldable legs with two wheels, durable porcelain coating on its body and lid, removeable ash pan, easy maintenance and reliable guarantee.
Along with that, it also includes a bottom rack to give you more storage for bowls, plates, and other stuff like that. Or, the adjustable air vent made out of high-quality and anti-rust aluminum.
One last thing, never underestimate this medium-size charcoal grill as you can prepare many hearty meals for an army such as halved summer squash, Vedelia mushrooms, chicken breasts, shrimp, onion, grilling steaks, hot dogs, burgers and asparagus.
Just one thing that make me feel inconvenient a little bit is the length of its holder, they are too short compared to the average height of an adult so that I highly advise you to bring along a foldable, sturdy chair to raise up its height.
2. Weber 14401001 Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black
The outer performance is quite similar to Beau Jardin with a round, sturdy lid, a steel plate, a removable aluminum ash pan and a holder with two wheels for more convenient transport. However, it comes in three legs, not four. And this model doesn’t have a bottom rack. Instead, the grate is very functional as you can fold it to add some charcoal without interrupting the cook.
If you are wondering about its time taking to heat up the grill plate, that’s about 35-40 minutes. For me, this is enough to prepare all needed ingredients, which doesn’t a big matter to complain. However, if you want to speed up, just get an extra starter chimney or close the vents on its lid (really highly recommend).
As for example, if you want to grill some burgers, it just takes about 20-25 minutes with a chimney, instead of nearly an hour as usual.
And, one last thing that many amateurs will love is that this Weber grill is very easy to use and doesn’t require many skills or knowledge to make a hearty meal for your family or friends, if not saying that it can help you cook like a professional chef.
Like I said above, charcoal grills are very affordable, not except for this model. Compared to the propane or electric, it helps you a lot of money and you can totally use that freed up funds for buying some more accessories like forks, tongs, grilling tools, grate brush or cooking mitts to protect your hands while grilling.
3. Char-Griller 2828 Pro Deluxe Charcoal Grill
The best thing about this Char-Griller is its various size options. There are three, including 49″ L x 50″ H x 29″ W, 50″ H x 29″ W x 35″ L and 50″ H x 29″ W x 35″ L so that you can pick the right one to fit your cooking space.
But in general, their construction will include one major charcoal grill enclosing a round lid and a BBQ smoker, a holder, two wheels, a bottom rack and a wooden side shelf. Particularly, with the 50″ H x 29″ W x 35″ L, it’s going to have two side shelves so that if your cooking space isn’t very tight, go for this version to get the best deal.
What I truly like about this charcoal barbecue is its heavy gauge steel construction with double bottom. You can use the lower grate for grilling food while the upper one for heat up them when in need.
As I mentioned above, charcoal barbecue is the best option to keep all flavors stay in your food while grilling, making your cooking more authentic. Another good thing about this design is its cast-iron grates can distribute heat evenly. No more fears of your food getting burnt anymore!
Just remember that they aren’t foldable so, you will need a tool (which is included in its set) AND, never lose that tool unless you want to use a fork to lift the grate up till the end of your life.
Also, keep in mind that without coating, this grill might get rust quickly so that to keep it last longer, buy some heat paint, or oil to coat it before cooking. It does work yet cost very little to maintain. So, it’s worth investing, guys!
In totally, this grill is quite affordable with many additional functions, which if even include all extra funds for accessories or other stuff like heat paint, oil, brush, fork, etc., it’s still much cheaper than other types of barbecue like the propane or the electricity.
So, if you intend to have an economical yet functional charcoal grill, this is a perfect selection!
4. Char-Broil Classic 405 4-Burner Liquid Propane Gas Grill
But along with that, you should know that its cooking space will be largen up to 405 square inches. So, make sure that you have enough space for it!
Another good thing is it’s up to four in-line burners made out of high grade stainless steel for quicker cooking as well as nicer outer performance. The whole body as well as the lid is porcelain coated for striking rust resistance. But as I said, it does get rust when the coating peels away. Thus, take care of it!
Now, who should buy this product? I think if you don’t want to spend a crazy amount of money on a grill just to do some burgers or steaks, Char-Broil is the way to go for.
However, I need to tell you that it takes a long time for assemble (might be roughly an hour based on my experience). If you are not good at assembling stuff, don’t fret, the following model will solve it perfectly.
5. Coleman Road Trip Propane Portable Grill LXE
Just take about 285 square inches in cooking space, however, the Coleman grill can deliver up to 20 thousand BTUs. Even if your barbecue parties are on the winter or cold days, the heat will be kept steadily thanks to the PerfectFlow Pressure Control System that the manufacturer does provide.
There’re more, the InstaStart igniters help to fire up easily and quickly while the adjustable burners can control two different zones of temperature. But to talk about the feature that makes me fall for this product is its ease to transport. Bring it for an outdoor camping, easy! Just fold it up and the whole 33.8 x 13.5 x 19.1-inch grill will as portable as a small suitcase with a long handle and two wheels. Particularly, easy to fold up, easy to set up, just within a couple of seconds.
In terms of material, the whole barbecue is made out of high-quality cast iron with porcelain coating for ultimate rust resistance as well as easy maintenance.
The only pain when I grill on this model is that the hot spot is so hot to easily burn your food, be careful. It’d better to move it to the cooler part of the barbecue.
6. 3 Embers 4-Burner Dual Fuel Propane Gas Grill with Radiant Embers Cooking System
The material they use for this model is also very distinct – high grade stainless steel with ceramic titanium coating – that’s not as easy to peel away as painted coating or the porcelain. On other words, it can last for many years.
If you budget is on the table, don’t hesitate to pick the 3 Embers’ Propane Grill as it really bangs for your bucks. Grill very fast, just take about 15 to 20 minutes as maximum to heat up.
Not saying that it comes in very convenient and functional design with 4 burners with LED lights, a clear window, 3 drawers, 4 wheels, one side burners with 12,000 BTUs, and one compact side table as your prep place.
Though the manufacturer said this model is portable, I don’t think the same. It is measured by 57 x 23.3 x 49.1 inches, taking nearly 540 square inches so perfectly, you will want to use it as a back-yard barbecue than a camping or packing grill.
But when assembling it, I highly recommend you to search it on Youtube for better instruction as the provided one is totally a shit. Just that! In general, I still highly recommend you to try this great, great grill for cooking.
7. George Foreman 15-Serving Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill, Silver, GGR50B
There’s a fact since I start using this George Foreman is that I quit my old propane grill. As my new apartment doesn’t allow using neither propane or charcoal barbecues, this product is like a life-saver to me – the best indoor grill that I’ve never had!
It’s small, though! Measured by 22.2 x 20.5 x 13 inches, weighing 21.1 pounds and taking roughly 240 square inches of cooking space, however, it does play a good game in both indoors and outdoors.
There is an enclosed removable holder, by the way so, you can use this grill as a tabletop while at home and attach the holder when bringing it outdoors.
Despite of that compact measurements, you will get amazing at its ability of serving – up to 15+, enough for an army. The key for that amazing fact is that this barbecue heats up very quickly, grill food in just a couple of minutes. Even with thick burgers, might it take roughly 10-15 minutes.
However, don’t worry about other easy-to-burn food as there is an adjustable temperature control which provides 5 different heat settings to help you get the best results in ANY kind of food.
Next up is the coating, it’s non-stick and yeah, you needn’t worry about making a fight with it when cleaning. Everything’s done quickly and smoothly by just a couple of wipes. No oil! No heat paints! No butter!
There’s just one thing to bear on mind if you intend to buy this product is never placing it in strong wind, especially near the window of your house as chances might it be blown down. (as the fact is that this grill is very lightweight)
8. Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler, Silver, Black Dials
Briefly, it’s as true as what’s advertised!
There are different heat settings for each option. For example, when you use the Panini, it will provide 5 selections: warm, low, medium, high, and sear. Or with the Griddle, you can adjust the temperature between 200 to 425 degrees.
The plates, which is another very good thing, it is dishwasher safe and very easy to clean thanks to the nonstick coating. You can hand-wash it, as well, just use a damp cloth soaking dishwasher and wipe it off. Pretty sure that everything will look like new in a blink of an eye.
I particularly love when it allows me to put different kinds of food and make different dishes, like doing bacons, eggs, and toast at the same time, just fold this product flat. Overall, I highly recommend Cuisinart, you will surely be proud of it, guys!
9. Louisiana Grills 60800 Stainless Steel Wood Pellet Grill, 800 sq. in.
Now, chances are you wondering about its flavor, after trying, I would say that it’s even more excellent than the charcoal. The pellet wood barbecue can keep the flavor amazing well. Not saying that this kind of fuel is much easier and quicker to heat while the fire can last really long.
Like the Cuisinart, it’s as exact as what’s on the advertisement – very easy to assemble and operate, just set it and forget it. This is a perfect choice if you like cooking some dishes that take long time like from 6 to 12 hours.
The only drawback is that its hopper is so small (only 12lb) that you need to add some more pellet every hour, which is inconvenient a little bit. And the price is freakily much more expensive than a usual charcoal grill.
So, I only recommend this unit if you really want to invest for a long-term piece for cooking, grilling and making barbecue parties. It’s truly worth every single penny you paid for!
10. Traeger TFB42LZBC Grills Lil Tex Elite 22 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
Compared to the Louisiana grills, I find this unit does bring better flavor of wood-fired taste. The charcoal grill can’t be a competitor for it (really!). Among a variety of additional accessories, I highly advise you to buy the Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite 22 pellet grill as it helps you to adjust the temperature as well as the time for cooking, hot or low, fast or slow, you totally enable to control that.
Besides, this Traeger grill offers 6-in-1 feature including smoke, roast, bake, BBQ, grill and braise food. On top of that, it does allow you to cook those dishes taking long time without paying close attention. Just set it and forget it.
As I said before, sometimes, the manufacturer might give you a lot of extra gears but you needn’t buy all of them. This is a typical example. The only one more thing you need to consider is its cooking area of 428 square inches, which might not fit in narrow space.
It’s time to find the right barbecue
Now that’s the end of this article. I think it’s a little bit long to read but I’ve already note down all needed information, tips, tricks and my precious experience when choosing and using the best BBQ grill. Find the right one for you and your family and you’ll all never go hungry again. Don’t worry! You got this!