Charcoal or gas? Built-in or freestanding? What about smokers? Which options are best for slow-and-low barbequing versus quickly seared steaks? The choices you make when shopping for outdoor barbeques will greatly impact your experience and enjoyment you get out of it, so it’s important to know the ins and outs of the different types of barbeques and understand what you need in order to make the best buying decision.
Gas Outdoor Grill
These outdoor barbeques heat up quickly and cool down just as quick. There’s very little cleaning to do after you’re done grilling, so they’re great if you want to quickly grill up some food for lunch or dinner. The easily regulated lower heat of gas grills is great for preparing delicate foods like poultry, veggies and fish. Gas grills don’t get as hot as charcoal models, so getting a good sear on steaks can be difficult. These units are also more expensive and can cost from a few hundred up to several thousand dollars, depending on the brand, size and specs. Some high-end models come with sear and infrared burners, allowing you to cook steak in ways that low-end models can’t. A neat add-on to have with gas grills is a rotisserie, which will allow you to roast chicken to perfection. However, make sure the grill is large enough to handle it by ensuring the lid is high enough to close when the rotisserie is placed.
Charcoal Outdoor Grill
Charcoal grills are great for searing steaks, as they can get really hot. Many people prefer the flavour of food that’s grilled on a charcoal model, as they’re great for both smoked and slow-cooked meats. They’re also more affordable than their gas counterparts, costing just a few hundred dollars, or even less. However, they take longer to get started, create smoke, which can smell up your entire surroundings and prove to be problematic if you have close neighbours. Additionally, they take longer to clean and cool. A great add-on to have with charcoal barbeques are smokers. Some models are made with smoking and low and slow barbequing in mind, but even if you get a standard model, you can buy this add-on that can turn it into a smoker.
Freestanding vs Built-In Grills
If you want to design an outdoor kitchen with storage, counters and other features, a built-in grill will provide a seamless look. However, built-in grills are more expensive, and they offer less flexibility if you ever want a differently sized grill or to move it around. Built-in grills are more stable and usually larger in size, plus they last longer, as they’re usually made of high-quality materials like stainless steel, allowing them to survive harsh weather conditions. Built-in grills also generally require less maintenance, since they’re more robust, so there’s a lower chance of them getting damaged.
Crucial Factors to Look for In a Grill
No matter whether you go for a gas or charcoal grill, freestanding or built-in, there are a couple of things to look for. First and foremost, you want a grill that’s sized appropriately for your lifestyle. People who frequently host dinners for a dozen people need a much bigger grill than a family of four. The grill should be sturdy, especially if it’s a freestanding one, and it shouldn’t wobble. Moreover, the thicker the metal is, the better. Thin metal has a higher chance of getting dented and damaged, and it won’t heat as well as thick metal. All the moving parts of the grill should be sturdy, as those are most likely to give out. The more metal parts – the better, avoid plastic.
Ways to Improve Your Grill Setup
Many people use slipcovers over their grills to protect them and keep them away from prying eyes. There are some clever ways that you can improve your grill setup, and make it a focal point. Always make sure your grilling station is properly lit so you don’t overcook the meat. Adding string bulbs can make you feel like you’re part of the event instead of feeling like a cook who’s sole purpose is to feed the rest of the party. This is especially important when grilling at night. For day grilling, however, you want some shade to avoid the harsh Australian sun rays and to keep the grill from being exposed to direct sunlight.
Make your grilling space more appealing by making it unique. There are hundreds of pictures of different setups online that you can draw inspiration from. Pick an outdoor barbeque grill that fits in your surrounding decor so that it becomes part of the design scheme. Further, make sure you have a seat nearby since a great deal of the grilling process involves just waiting around for the food to cook. Cushioned furniture is nice, but you don’t want to get too comfortable and forget the food, which is why many people opt for swing chairs to keep them on edge.