What Should I Consider When Buying a Barbecue?

N. Madison
N. Madison

There are many things to consider when buying a barbecue grill. One of the first things to consider is the type of grill you desire. You'll need to decide if you want a charcoal grill or prefer a gas version instead. Many people assert that barbecuing on a charcoal grill gives food the most barbecued flavor. This is purely opinion, however, and some people believe the taste difference is negligible.

The barbecue's surface area should be large enough to accommodate multiple servings.
The barbecue's surface area should be large enough to accommodate multiple servings.

Besides taste issues, many people choose a grill because of convenience. With a gas grill, there are no messy coals to light and no lighter fluid with which to work. Instead, you can start most gas grills with the simple push of a button or turn of a dial. Gas grills tend to have more features than charcoal versions as well. On the other hand, charcoal grills are considered simpler to use and are generally less expensive. There are even some grills that use a combination of gas and charcoal.

Since portable barbecues have different heat ranges and sizes, consumers should base their purchase on what they are going to grill.
Since portable barbecues have different heat ranges and sizes, consumers should base their purchase on what they are going to grill.

The next thing to consider when buying a barbecue grill is size. If you typically cook for just one or two people at a time, you probably don't need a huge barbecue grill. A good rule of thumb when buying a barbecue grill is to select one with at least 400 square inches (1016 cm) of cooking space. This will allow you to cook decent-sized meals, consisting of meat or fish, vegetables, and bread. It will also give you enough room to cook for company every now and then.

A free-standing electric barbecue grill can be useful for outdoor parties.
A free-standing electric barbecue grill can be useful for outdoor parties.

Be sure to consider desirable features when buying a barbecue grill. When you're cooking in the great outdoors, the last thing you want is a bunch of hassle. It is wise to look for features like storage space, shelves, and good-sized food-preparation surfaces. For gas grills, look for models that have stay-cool knobs and buttons. Without going overboard with features you are unlikely to use, it is smart to choose the best grill, in terms of features and options, that you can afford.

The type of meat someone is planning to grill might impact their decision on which barbecue to buy.
The type of meat someone is planning to grill might impact their decision on which barbecue to buy.

One of the most important things to consider when buying a barbecue grill is assembly. Owning a great grill won't do you much good if you can't figure out how to put it together. Look for a model with easy-to-understand instructions. If you really like things easy, shop for your grill in a store that offers free assembly.

Price is important when buying a barbecue grill. Charcoal grills are typically less expensive. Even the high-end models tend to be less costly than comparable gas grills. Still, you can find gas grills at fairly low prices as well. If you're buying a barbecue grill at the end of the season, you may be able to find good bargains no matter what type you choose.

Keep in mind that there are some alternatives to buying a barbecue grill that uses gas or charcoal. Electric versions are less popular, but they can be used both indoors and outdoors and are conveniently portable. In addition, you simply plug them in to get them started. With prices that range from budget-level to a couple of thousand US Dollars (USD), electric grills are popular in locations where the use of charcoal and gas grills is prohibited. Additionally, infrared grills are gaining notice in the premium grill market.

Some people feel that grilling with charcoal makes for tastier grilled food than what can be cooked using an electric grill.
Some people feel that grilling with charcoal makes for tastier grilled food than what can be cooked using an electric grill.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments

MrSmirnov

Does anyone know how the cost of running an electric barbecue is?

I am torn between this and the more traditional gas or charcoal barbecue.

What appeals to me about an electric barbecue is that there is much less clean up and maintenance involved. I don't have to worry about a gas supply, or collecting charcoal after I am finished cooking.

Does anyone feel if using an electric barbecue is less 'authentic' than barbecuing with gas or charcoal?

I think the smokeless feature and lack of flames could be a good thing, but I worry about sacrificing the barbecue flavor I want to get. Does anyone know if there is a sauce that could replicate this flavor if it can’t be achieved with an electric barbecue.

letshearit

I find that using a charcoal grill is a great way to get the best flavor. I have used gas grills before and really feel that you can notice the taste difference.

If you are buying charcoal for your barbecue for the first time, there are actually online sites that offer ratings of the different brands and check on things like how long it takes to get the charcoal going to how smoky the charcoal is.

While you may think all charcoal is the same, many burn in different ways and some do cook better than others.

I think if you are considering buying a charcoal barbecue, you should look carefully at what charcoal you buy to go with it. This choice can really impact your cooking quality.

ClubP

We bought a gas barbecue last summer, I prefer the turn it on, cook, turn it off again feature of a gas one, rather than trying to guess how much charcoal you need to use. You can pick up a small disposable (portable) barbecue in the UK for only a couple of pounds, so they're worth considering if you only have to cook for a few people, even if you've already got a grill, as it saves you having to clean up afterwards.

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