A BBQ GRILL
& Techniques of the BBQ Guru : Choosing
first step in grilling is choosing the right grill.
There are two types to choose from:
choice comes down to one of lifestyle and you should
first ask yourself a couple of questions . . .
you enjoy the challenge of building and maintaining
a fire? Or, do you need precise heat control? Do you
enjoy the smell of food cooked over hot coals? Or, is
the grilled taste the most important aspect? Do you
need that primal hands-on experience? Or, would you
prefer the easier one-touch heat settings?
major manufacturer of both charcoal and gas grills has
done extensive taste testing and the results showed
there is no difference in taste between the two. So,
it comes down to one of personal preference. Again a
lifestyle choice. In other words, how do you plan on
using your new grill? How often will you use your grill?
How many people do you normally cook for? Are the fuel
choices(gas or charcoal) available in your area? Is
cost an issue? Gas grills are more expensive initially
but charcoal grills will cost more to operate over the
worry . . . both are great choices and whatever
you choose will reward you with some of the best food
you have tasted. After you have chosen what type of
grill you want, look for these three features:
for a pre-assembled grill that has been welded
together. These welds will assure sturdy construction
and will further help to fend off rust. Easy assembly
and die-cut parts for a tight fit are essential.
The fewer number of parts to assemble, the less
hassles you will encounter in the future.
are very important. Look for a grill with a long
warranty period. Does the manufacturer trust it's
own quality control issues? A long warranty period
will answer this question. Look for five years
on charcoal grills and ten years on gas grills.
look at the company behind the grill. Do they
have a reputation for great customer service and
quality products? Replacement parts are also a
consideration. Be sure replacement parts are easily
accessible. Preferably you should be able to buy
the standard parts at a retail store near you
. . . grates, ignition systems, covers, etc.
in many consumer purchases, you will get what you pay
for. A low end gas grill, while inexpensive, will also
result in inferior parts and therefore a frustrating
cooking experience. My advice has always been, if you
cannot afford a top quality gas grill, go with a top
quality charcoal grill. Here in the US, you can find
a good quality, small gas grill for around $300. If
you cannot afford that, then a good quality charcoal
grill is available for under $100. The important word
here is QUALITY. What do I mean by that? Well, let's
look at both gas and charcoal grills. Look for the following
features when assessing grills.
for a grill made of high-grade steel and a porcelain-enamel
coating. The coating should be baked on and not
just sprayed on. This will prevent rusting, peeling
and fading. Leg couplings and grate supports should
be welded for added strength. The lid should be
heavy and fit tightly.
and charcoal grates should be nickel-plated or
stainless steel. Both of these will clean up very
easily and are also rust resistant. Make sure
the handles are of wood or plastic. These will
stay cool to the touch.
disposal of ashes is a must. Some grills offer
a one-touch system that sweeps the ashes into
a disposal pan. A thermometer is always nice for
keeping an eye on the temperature.
as the charcoal grills . . . baked on porcelain-enamel
finish, high-grade steel and welded legs. A simple
lifting of the lid will tell you a lot. The heavier
cooking system is critical in a gas grill. You
should have a minimum of three independent burners.
This will allow the most precise fire control
and will insure the ability to cook using indirect
heat. These burners should run along each side,
either side-to-side or front-to-back, and down
the middle of the grill. This will avoid hot spots
and assures total utilization of the entire cook
surface. Look for a flare-up prevention system.
A series of angled steel plates should be located
just below the cooking grate. These will collect
the drippings and immediately vaporize them resulting
in that grilled flavor you are looking to attain.
Avoid grills that use lava rocks, as they collect
grease and are prone to flare-ups. The cooking
grates should be stainless steel or a baked on
porcelain-enamel finish. Cast iron grates will
hold the heat better, but are very labor intensive
as they will need constant re-seasoning.
for side tables and condiment holders. Locking
wheels are also a nice feature as these will prevent
rolling in high wind environments. As far as side
burners, I would personally avoid these. I used
mine exactly 5 times and never again. Save yourself
a few extra bucks and avoid the side burners.
An extra side table is a much more efficient use
a word on BTUs. BTUs are NOT a measure of the cooking
power of a grill! They are only an indication of the
volume of gas a grill can burn. A better engineered
unit can use less BTUs and cook more efficiently.
you should now be comfortable taking the first step
in your grilling experience, buying a grill. As always,
I will gladly answer any questions you may have. Just
drop me an e-mail. Keep in mind, I may not have access
to the exact grill you are considering.
other articles, we will cover the basics of grilling,
including some tips and techniques, some simple basic
recipes and then on to more challenging fare, using
in-direct heat and how to cook several different cuts
Team Double Smoke
Taylor is know as the BBQ Guru on the RecipeGoldmine
website for his expertise in the art of the Barbecue
and Smoking. Over the last twenty years barbecuing has
caught on fast in the UK but for most of us it is still
an unexplored form of cuisine - a few chops and some
With the help of Kevin Hub-UK
is hoping to bring to you a series of articles and recipes
over the summer which will change your way of life and
bring great pleasure to you, your family and friends
as you enjoy the long summer evenings.
Taylor is a regular contributor at RecipeGoldmine -
here to visit the website.