How to Choose the Perfect Grill for You

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Almost as soon as you decide that you want a grill in your outdoor space, you are confronted with a confusing and difficult decision: What type of grill should you get? There are three major kinds of grills, and each has its own pros and cons. Until you gain grilling experience, you might not know which grill you most enjoy working with — so this guide to the different types of grills should help you decide on the right grill for you.

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills are among the most popular options, and they tend to be attractive to beginners thanks to their simple design and operation. The grill pulls cold air in through the bottom, heats it with burning charcoal and pushes the hot air out through the top; the more air that enters the grill, the hotter the grill will become. By adjusting the air intake and exhaust valves, grillers can achieve a specific temperature within the grill, and as long as there is enough charcoal to burn, that temperature is quite steady and reliable.

What’s more, the smoke from the charcoal imbues the food cooking on the grill with additional flavor. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t the charcoal briquettes themselves that improve the flavor of grilled goodies; rather, it is the vaporization of drippings, which occur because charcoal is so much hotter than other methods of heating within grills.

It is worth noting that charcoal grills require some maintenance to function safely and effectively. Grillers need to clean their grills regularly, emptying out excessive ash and scouring off cooked-on food. It might also take some time for beginner grillers to become accustomed to the science of temperature control through opening valves and adding charcoal.

Pellet Grills

Pellet grills utilize wood pellets rather than charcoal briquettes to heat up. The wood pellets, which are roughly the size of a dried bean, create smoke as well as heat, which seeps into grilled foods to produce complex and incredible flavor. Pellet grills are remarkably designed, with a thermostat connected to a hopper of pellets that allows grillers to maintain an even temperature as they cook. However, the electrical components of pellet grills require grills to be connected to a power source, like an outlet or a generator, during the cook and cool-down process.

One of the newest styles of grills, pellet grills are rising in popularity thanks to the outstanding flavor they add to grilled food. Beginner grillers might opt for a different style of grill, but experienced grillers might be pleased by the superior performance of this grill type.

Gas Grills

Typically positioned in opposition to the charcoal grill, the gas grill is another beginner-friendly grill option. Instead of relying on burning charcoal briquettes to provide heat, gas grills burn a type of combustible gas — usually propane but sometimes natural gas. Gas grills are even easier to use than charcoal grills, as knobs allow grillers to control the size of the flame and thus the heat within the grill. These grills tend to heat up faster than charcoal grills, and they are easier to keep clean. However, because gas grills do not reach the temperatures of burning charcoal, the flavor of grilled goods might be less complex.

In some homes, the gas is provided through a connection to neighborhood gas lines, as a gas stove or water heater would be, but more often, gas grills utilize tanks of gas that must be refilled or replaced. This alongside regular cleaning is the only maintenance required for gas grills to function properly. Gas grills come in almost unlimited shapes and sizes, and there are dozens of exciting accessories that grillers can add to their grills to customize them for their unique needs. For all these reasons, gas grills are by far the most popular option for grillers, beginners and masters alike.

During warm and cool seasons alike, you can make good use of an outdoor grill. By considering your own expertise and your grilling priorities — such as cost, convenience, flavor and more — you can find the perfect grill for your outdoor kitchen.