Grilling is something that the majority of the population is actively involved with at some level or another. People love the experience, the opportunity for social gatherings and, possibly most importantly, the taste of the food that comes from the grill. There is no shortage to the types of grills available and knowing which one is the right one for you will go a long way towards ensuring that you enjoy your new grill for many years to come.
Cost is an important factor for most people to consider before making any purchase. Costs of BBQ grills can vary considerably, from $30 or less for an inexpensive, indoor electric grill to $10,000 or more for the top of the line luxury grills. Spending more money does not automatically mean better tasting food though. Electric grills are generally inexpensive and seem to be favored by those that have very limited space, such as a balcony, or for those that have laws preventing them from using charcoal or gas. Charcoal grills are also less expensive than most gas grills, but the cost of charcoal will outweigh the cost of gas in the long term.
Taste is certainly a huge variable to consider when purchasing a new BBQ grill. Electric grills always rank at the bottom of the list in this department, most likely because they provide the lowest level of BBQ authenticity in their cooking methods. Gas grills tend to fare quite well for foods that are prepared quickly, such as burgers, hot dogs and sausages. For slower cooked items, such as steak and ribs, people tend to gravitate to the smoky flavors provided by charcoal and pellet grills. Pellet grills often get the best reviews because they are fueled by hardwood scrap pellets which infuse foods with the rich flavor of the wood smoke in ways that gas and charcoal cannot produce.
Portability can be an influencing factor in your purchase of a new grill as well. For a traditional grilling experience, gas grills generally prove to be easier to transport and clean up than charcoal. Smaller propane grills can be thrown in the back of a truck and brought along to your favorite picnic or tailgating spot. Charcoal can be transferred from place to place relatively easily, but it takes longer to get ready and you are left with the task of discarding the used charcoal briquettes.
Charcoal grills are easy to set up and it is generally quite easy to find charcoal at most grocery or corner stores. These grills are very versatile and can provide searing heat, indirect heat and even rotisserie cooking is an option. They can use many different types of lump charcoal, or hardwood chunks, which add tremendous smoky flavors to the food. They tend to be rather messy and can take a while to get started and ready for cooking.
Gas grills are very easy to use and maintain. There is no messy ash and they can generally be started and ready for use in just a few minutes with a simple turn of a knob. Options, such as side burners and infrared burners for searing are common on gas grills, but are not available with charcoal. Newer model gas grills are often set up to work with propane or natural gas. The lack of wood smoke flavor can be disappointing, but is somewhat remedied with the addition of a metal smoker box. Finding a dealer to refill an empty propane tank can be time consuming and also quite frustrating if it becomes empty in the middle of a cookout.
How often you plan to grill, how much you plan to cook at one time and where the grilling will be done should all be taken in to account when deciding which type of grill to purchase. Desired fuel type, cooking speed and cooking capabilities are also important to consider. There are a lot of variables to consider before deciding which type of grill to purchase. Do your best to be prepared and really think through the list of things you want from your grill ahead of time.