Summer beckons cooks to transfer their indoor skills to patios, decks, parks and campsites. Wherever you plan to cook or host a party, there are myriad options in grills and barbecues. Here are some basic tips on how to choose between the various models.
The most common choices in outdoor grills are gas and charcoal. But other options include electric and pellet-fueled grills. Depending on what you’re cooking, the various types of grills offer pros and cons.
Gas: For no-fuss, no-muss outdoor cooking, gas grills come close to an indoor gas stove. Fueled by propane tanks or a natural gas line and firing up at the push of a button, gas grills offer uniform cooking temperatures and are easy to clean. It’s a great choice for those who cook outdoors frequently.
Charcoal: Perhaps no grill is more ubiquitous than the standard charcoal grill. They come in many sizes and varieties at every price point, piling on more frills as the cost increases. Charcoal grills use briquettes or lump charcoal, or even wood to heat food. There’s more time and less control involved, but there’s no question these grills offer more smoky, barbecue flavor.
Electric: Ahead of gas grills, electric grills offer even more ease, convenience and control. Unfortunately, the lack of flames fails to impart true barbecue flavor on meats and other foods cooked on the grill — plus, they’re more expensive.
Pellets: The least wellknown of the grill family, these grills use hardwood pellets formed from wood scraps to heat food. For grilling purists, pellet-fueled grills offer authentic flavor but are more expensive than their charcoal cousins and may be harder to find.
Whatever type of grill you choose, consider a variety of factors to ensure a successful, tasty experience: Consider how often you’ll be cooking outdoors. If you cook outside frequently, invest in a quality grill with multiple burners and options.
Factor in space. Larger outdoor units take up space and require cover from inclement weather. Determine the kind of flavor you seek. Using the tips above will help you arrive at the proper grill.
Time. If you don’t want to spend the entire time outdoors tending a grill, consider options that require less attention.