Few things light up the summer like a backyard barbecue session with family and friends.
Outdoor grills aren’t the easiest appliances to choose from.
You will come across a bunch of styles to sift through and choose the product that meets your needs.
Even if you have the style already figured out, you still need to decide the right fuel and the kind of accessories you plan to use with it.
Manufactured Home Outdoor Grill Options: Five Shopping Factors
Are you out for a new outdoor grill? Consider these factors:
1. Type of Fuel
Most of the grills you will find in the store are designed to burn one or two of these three fuels – gas, charcoal, and/or wood pellets.
Go for a product that can burn the readily available fuel in your area or one you consider cheap to use in the long run.
Also, consider the pros and cons of each fuel type.
Gas grills resemble a cart and are the most common of all grills as far as fuel is concerned.
Often, they are built either to attach to your liquid propane reservoir or natural gas through a conversion kit.
- Both natural gas and liquid propane delivers satisfying hot flames
- As far as greenhouse gases are concerned, natural gas comes across as cleaner
- Natural gas is cheap – you don’t even need to refill your propane tank often
- Gas grills give you absolute control over the flame or heat. If you plan to cook some kind of meat, like Chicken, you will get a better roast with a charcoal-powered grill or a good smoker than with a gas grill.
- Unless you opt for liquid propane, the grill remains connected to the gas line the entire time, so you don’t get to move it around
- Propane is expensive compared to natural gas and needs frequent refilling depending on how you use it
- The best thing about natural gas and propane is that most grills use both, so you can switch between with convenience.
If you want the grilled flavor to come with the traditional smokiness we all love, you will need to choose charcoal over gas or wood pellets.
Charcoal grills are a diverse lot when it comes to shape and size.
However, on the flip side of the many designs to choose from, these grills come with a few drawbacks you should bear in mind. More on that later; let’s look on the bright side of things first:
- Charcoal grills are the only kind of grill that can deliver that familiar smoky flavor, thanks to the charcoal lumps or briquettes they burn.
- Charcoal can be the cheapest fuel in areas with plenty of waste wood such as tree stumps
- You can get your charcoal grill very hot just the way you want it because. Unlike gas grills, they have no maximum heat setting
- They provide versatile cooking because they produce both indirect heat and infrared heat. So, depending on the design of your grill, you can smoke, sear, grill, or bake
- They offer dual-zone cooking: you can easily arrange dual zones on the charcoal pit by banking some or a whole lot of the coal on one side before proceeding to cook multiple meals
- Charcoal grills are cheaper to acquire compared to gas grills. A tiny portable charcoal grill costs anything in the region of $50
- Charcoal grilling takes skill and that’s something you will be proud of and even pass down to your next generation
- Unlike gas grills, charcoal grills are never precise with heat – you also can’t customize the heating
- The user has to spend some time lighting the charcoal lumps of briquettes or preheating the grill
- You have to dispose of the ash wastes after the grilling session
An average pellet grill is equipped with a hopper on one side to hold all your wood pellets.
Just ignite the grill with a handy switch, set the right temperature, and watch your wood pellets automatically roll into the burning pot with the aid of a rotating auger.
Be ready to call your pellet guy or order online when you run out of fuel.
Why are they adored so much? Here are the benefits:
- Most of them support wireless connectivity either through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or a smartphone app all of which lets you control the temperatures from a distance
- Effortless ignitions – just fill the fire pot to the brim and ignite it by pressing a button
- Amazing smoke flavor, thanks to the diverse flavors that comes with BBQ pellets such as cherry, hickory, and pecan
- Unlike charcoal grills that require some level of skill, pellet grills are the easiest to use
- Wide temperature range – although these grills are known for slow-and-low smoking, the latest models are starting to come with sear and high-heat grilling
- Very little or no flare-up as heat baffles separate the fire pot from your food
- Did you know BBQ wood pellets can expire if they are kept unused for too long?
- Yes, wood pellets do deliver the smoky flavor we all like but it’s nowhere close to what you’d get from charcoal grills
- Pellet smokers/grills require electricity to function
The power of electric grills increases with wattage, so look at the wattage rating of the product of your liking before taking it home.
Go for something between 1000 to 1500 watts.
Smaller grills typically come with about 750 watts – this won’t get hot to brown your food, or even leave some grill marks on your meat.
Low wattage means your food won’t taste like it was barbequed by a real outdoor grill.
Still, with a good marinade and ceramics, you can have a good barbecuing experience.
- They don’t depend on any specific fuel – perfect for those who live in apartments or places that don’t support the use of gas and charcoal
- Very much like infrared grills, they don’t produce open flames hence won’t start home fires or burn things if abandoned. Rather, they are equipped with grates that get heated up — and fast — when the appliance is turned on
- Some electric grills are equipped with infrared cooking capabilities that use a plume of radiant heat to get rid of flare-ups and even prevent cold or hot spots on your grill
- They don’t bring out the real outdoor barbequing experience
- If you live in places where the cost of electricity is high, running one of them in your home can be expensive
These grills are designed to cook food with plumes of radiant heat instead of rising hot air (or convection heat) used in common grills.
Infrared grills are similar to gas grills in terms of the source of heat – you will find infrared products that use propane or natural but some run on electricity.
- They heat your food directly and helps prevents it from drying
- You can expect zero hot or cold spots in the heating area, which means your food will food evenly.
- Their design prevents the formation of flare-ups — plus the accompanying burn on your food — often caused by the dripping fat
- They often heat up too fast and may burn up your food
- They are seldom compact or portable
After you have settled on the right type of fuel, proceed to make up your mind about the size of the grill.
The first thing that should cross your mind is the number of people you plan to entertain.
Most of the charcoal grilling products – small to medium-sized units – you will find in your local store can comfortably cater for up to 4 people at a time.
A 2-burner gas grill is enough for 4 people or less.
Often, the size of a grill is quoted in square inches.
Most of the products in the 400 – 500 sqr. inch brackets are sizeable enough for most BBQ revelers.
If you have a large family or a bunch of friends, go for a 4- or 5-burner product or even larger.
Go for solid construction.
Take your time to examine the assembled grill on offer from several points and its test sturdiness.
You know it’ll be up to the task if it’s stable.
Also, check the cart, lid, firebox, and wheels.
A seamlessly constructed stainless steel grill with well-welded joints tends to be sturdier than a carefully painted steel product assembled with bolts and nuts.
Casters or wheels at all 4 corners or legs make the appliance easier to maneuver on the ground. And wheels equipped with a complete axle are more desirable than wheels bolted individually.
The safety factor regarding construction
A sturdy grill is better for two reasons – it will survive more grilling sessions and secondly, it’s safe to use.
The more stable the appliance is, the lower the chances of tipping. Stay away from products with sharp metal edges and corners.
Remember to test the handle – is it firm and comfortable to grasp?
The handle should also be positioned in such a way that your fingers or knuckles are a safe distance from the hot lid.
While flares are normal, you can reduce the likelihood of sustaining them by choosing a product with a large distance between the burners and the grates.
Outdoor grills are sold in 4 styles: built-in, freestanding, portable, post mount:
Built-in grills are only finished on the front and top and are designed to fit in the surrounding base which provides support.
If you want a product that can last, choose from models with a stone or cement island base (this part is often sold separately).
Ensure that the appliance can be built into your custom enclosure even if you don’t have one ready for it.
Alternatively, you can go for a matching freestanding grill base cart or cabinet.
If you like to entertain your friends and family often, this setup will provide a great focal point for the outdoor eating area.
Go for a portable grill if you don’t want the appliance to stay fixated in the backyard.
To permit this, they are equipped with sturdy legs or legs.
Some of them resemble a tabletop and can sit flat on the ground.
They are available in liquid electric, propane, and charcoal.
If you plan to hold picnics at the park or go camping, choose this style of outdoor grills because they can be easily tailgated to the destination.
Freestanding grills are probably the most popular of all styles.
They can be quickly transformed from in-box form to ready-to-barbeque with little effort.
The best thing is that they can stand alone in the backyard since they have matching paneling on both sides – this gives them a complete and finished appearance from all angles.
Not only are they convenient to install but also offer ample storage space that hides your gas connection or gas tank.
Post Mount Grills
Post mount grills are built on a permanent and singular stand in the patio area.
Don’t mistake them with built-in grills – they are normally fully finished on all sides.
The fact that they are beautifully finished on both sides means they can be an esthetic addition in your backyard.
Even better, they don’t demand vast space on your ground, which means they can fit in virtually all sizes of yards.
5. Grill Accessories
As you shop for an outdoor grill, consider the grilling essentials you might want to use with it as well as the kind of accessories u will consider later.
Here is a handful of add-ons that often accompany grilling sets:
- Grill cleaning tools
- Grill carts
- Grill pans and baskets
- Pizza accessories and stones
- Grill rotisseries
- Grill smoking accessories
- Meat thermometers (some of them are Wi-Fi enabled to help you monitor the temperature from your smartphone)
- Food preparation tools
You have a lot to research to do if you are just getting started in the world of outdoor grilling.
Start by listing you’re your grilling needs and make up your mind about the type of fuel.
Also, keep in mind the kind of food you plan to cook – this will influence your choice quite immensely.
The location and time of grilling are worth considering as well.
Related: Backyard Picnic Tables Guide
To choose the outdoor grill that meets your needs type of fuel, size, construction, style, and grill accessories.
You have a lot to research to do if you are just getting started in the world of outdoor grilling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can a grill get rained on?
Yes, but it depends on some aspects of the grill.
If it is designed in such a way that the cover can trap the moisture, there’s a strong likelihood some parts will rust if the cover remains covered for long; no harm if you can wipe the appliance dry after the rain.
Q: Is it ok to grill in the winter?
Yes, but it’s unrecommendable.
Grilling in low temperatures means that cooking takes longer to complete.
Even worse, the more you lift the lid, the more time it will take to cook.
Q: Is it bad to grill on a rusty grill?
NEVER grill on a rusty grill especially one with plenty of loose rust that may stick on food.
A mildly rusted grate can be easily cleaned and used without worry. While the dangers of rust are unknown, you can’t rule out issues in the intestinal tract.
Q: Is it bad to not clean your grill?
Yes, it’s both unhealthy and gross to use a dirty grill for cooking. The old food particles and accumulated grease host bacteria that can cause stomach upsets if ingested. A dirty grill is unsightly and can easily cause your guests to lose their appetite.
Q: Is it bad to use charcoal in a propane grill?
Yes, it is a bad idea to use charcoal in gas grills.
Most of the gas grills you will find in the store are designed to stand up to the heat made by burners, not the heat produced by burning charcoal.
However, the best reason is that the searing heat produced by the burning charcoal can damage parts of the gas grill, and they are never cheap to replace!