Choosing a Gas Grill
Gas grills have got to be one of the best inventions since sliced bread. Nothing beats the taste of a hamburger or hotdog cooked on a grill, and charcoal is just plain messy and hard to start. Choose a grill that’s right for your needs, they come in budget models, under $200; mid-priced from $200-$400, and manly-man grills for over $400.
The amount of grilling space is a key to choosing the grill, particularly if you plan on entertaining. If you'll only be grilling hot dogs for two, you can get away with as little as 75 square inches. But overall, more cooking space is better, you need room to not only cook the meats, but what about grilled veggie side dishes?
The information tags on grills list the total cooking surface, so use them to compare. But be aware that if the grill has a side burner or warming rack, that surface may be included in the cooking area on the sticker.
Grills used to be offered in basic black, but with the trend in appliances leaning to more professional looks, stainless has become the most popular choice. Painted grills are attractive, I saw some red and green grills recently that were really nice looking, but painted surfaces can chip and fade in the great outdoors, and until a grill company can give me a guarantee against that, I’m going with stainless. It’s a little more expensive, but prices have come down, so it’s worth the upgrade for the more durable finish.
Burners and Grates
Make sure you choose grates that are coated, they not only keep foods from sticking, but they inhibit rust and make clean up much easier. The burners themselves need to be durable. Our last grill went through two sets of holes and degradation in the burners in just one season. Choose burners that are brass to avoid having to replace them, which can be difficult to find on certain models.
Bells and Whistles
We love the new accessories that are coming to grills at more reasonable prices. Side burners used to be a luxury of only high end grills, but we’re now seeing them on mid-range grills as well. Storage areas such as drawers and cabinets are making an appearance on mid-range models. But do you need them? I personally would never use them, they would just be nice to have in case I ever decide to, but decide what’s best in accessories for your needs.
If you plan on turning your patio or deck into an outdoor living area, it may be worth investing in a grill with all the little luxuries, particularly if you’re in a climate where you can grill year round.
Choose a grill that works for your needs in your price range. If you’re a fair weather bbq’er, you may not need a top of the line model. Two models that we’ve been hearing buzz on this year are the Weber Genesis in the $250-$300 price range and the Vermont Castings model in the $400 range. Both received good ratings from Consumer Reports.
If you’re shopping on a budget, don’t forget seasonal savings. Prices are reduced drastically in August and September to get the grills out of the way for the fall merchandise.