As the dog days of August draw to a close, it’s a good time to start thinking about your grill. The best time to purchase a new backyard grill is in September and into the fall, as the season for these appliances draws to an end. You may also be able to find grills on sale for Black Friday, especially if you’re shopping for one from an American manufacturer.
If you recently moved into a new house, or sold your existing home and are looking at redoing a new one before you move in, you should try and find a good deal on a grill. These outdoor cooking appliances are fantastic for the hot days of summer, as they allow you to cook up a full meal without heating the interior of your home. Plus, there’s just no substitute for the rich, smoky flavour of a barbecued burger or pulled pork fresh from the smoker.
If you’re new to grilling or have never purchased your own grill, choosing the right one can feel intimidating. Today, we’re here to simplify the options and help you make the right choice.
1. Gas Grill
A gas grill is the most popular style of grill, and can be found in backyards all over North America. They run on either propane, which can be purchased in specialty canisters at most hardware stores, or natural gas. If you have a natural gas line at home, running your gas grill off that will likely be cheaper and more convenient than purchasing propane. However, make sure to double-check that your chosen gas grill can accept a natural gas line.
Gas grills are great because they’re very convenient. Just turn it on, spark the burners, and you can have burgers or hotdogs on the table in less than 10 minutes. However, this convenience comes at the cost of flavour. You’ll never get that distinctive smoky flavour if you only use a gas grill.
These grills cost anywhere from $100 for an extremely low-end model to upwards of $6,000 for the Cadillac of gas grills.
2. Charcoal Grill
A charcoal grill may look the same as a gas grill on the outside, but it’s the inside that counts. Instead of heat being generated by gas, a charcoal grill uses specialty charcoal briquettes to produce heat. These briquettes create a more intense heat that contributes to a better sear on meat. They also pack a big flavour punch, with most barbeque purists insisting that the best flavour comes from charcoal.
Some people love the ritual of using a charcoal grill, but there’s no denying that it does take a long time. You can’t just flip on your grill and start cooking. You have to lay down the briquettes, get the fire going, and wait for it to burn down to coals.
After you’re finished cooking, you’ll have to spend time scooping out the ashes and cleaning the grill. A good charcoal grill is also priced a bit higher than gas grills, which means that you can’t really get anything workable for under $250.
3. Electric Grill
If you love to grill but live in an apartment complex or community that prohibits gas or charcoal grills, you may want to opt for an electric grill. These unique appliances can be used indoors and outdoors. Instead of using gas or charcoal to create heat, electric grills are powered with a robust electric grill plate.
These grills are great if you absolutely can’t use gas or charcoal, or if you want to grill but don’t have any outdoor space. It’s a fun appliance to be able to use indoors, but it doesn’t offer the same intensity of heat or flavour as other grills. Most electric grills range in price from $100 to $500.
4. Kamado Grill
Even if you haven’t heard the phrase ‘Kamado grill’ before, you’ve likely seen the best example of this style: the Big Green Egg. The Kamado grill is a modified charcoal grill that’s shaped like an egg, with an exterior made from thick ceramic. The ceramic walls help the grill retain heat, and when the lid is closed an extremely high temperature can be achieved with ease. This makes the Kamado grill function more like an oven.
Any kind of meat tastes great on a Kamado grill, but with a few modifications, the even, multi-directional heat can also bake delicious pizza or bread. The most popular Big Green Egg sells for around $1,300.
If you can’t get enough of rich and smoky flavours, a dedicated smoker might be in your future. Smokers are designed to cook your food low and slow. Most recipes that use a smoker require your food to be smoking for at least an hour, and upwards of 12-24 hours for large cuts of meat.
Smokers are powered with either charcoal or wood, usually in pellet or chip form. You can find some easy-to-use smokers that create heat with electricity or gas, but you lose a lot of flavour when you opt for that level of convenience. You can find some smokers in the $200 range, but for the best features expect to shell out at least $500-750.