Grilling, the boiled-down definition is the radiant transfer of heat from the fuel source to the cooking grid. Beyond the dictionary is where the excitement happens. Tailgate and holiday parties, gatherings, new recipes, and any other excuse are good ones to get outside and fire up the grill.
Armand’s Discount began in 1947 and is still family owned today. We know a thing or two about outdoor cooking and want to share our knowledge with you. So, how to choose a grill that matches your style? Our Ultimate Grill Buying Guide is here to help.
Types of Grills
There is not enough time in the day to cover all types of outdoor cooking appliances, so we’re going to stick to the ones you see most often in backyards: gas and charcoal.
First, one heat source is not better than the other —all get the job done. Most chefs have their preference and would swear on their favorite apron that theirs is the correct choice. We’re not here to persuade, just to educate.
But, for those who can’t decide there is American Muscle Grill, a company who throws all fuel types under one lid. Ask us about this option for your outdoor kitchen.
Gas grills run on propane tanks or natural gas lines running directly from your home. They heat up quickly and are easy to clean. These cookers come with automatic ignition as a primary benefit and can include as many bells and whistles as your budget allows. Some have infrared burners optimal for rotisserie cooking, as well as sear plates, side heat sources for warming, lights, and smoker boxes.
For the other team, the advantage of charcoal grilling is the unique flavors produced by the types of coals used during cooking. Achieving the desired temperature takes more time because you have to light the briquettes and let them heat. You can buy charcoal grills for as little as $150 or as much as $1,200. Keep in mind you have to clean them regularly which includes properly disposing of the charcoal ashes.
While the outcome of each heat source is the same, cooked food, the challenges of attaining that result differs with makes and models of grills.
Uneven heat distribution is a common source of frustration for gas grill owners. A slight temperature variance is normal, but some grills are better at circulating heat than others. The more burners, the easier it is to create an environment of indirect cooking, which is what you want on non-seared items. Dynamic Cooking Systems installs ceramic rods in their gas grills to help keep heating uniform.
Inconsistent temperatures can be a thing of the past with adjustable height charcoal pan for easy heat control like the ones in Fire Magic’s line of grills. Then there is the Big Green Egg, the end-all-be-all of consistent charcoal cooking. Because of the wheeled airflow design and seals, a Big Green Egg can reach temperatures of 1200 degrees or hold whatever temp you need.
Uncontrolled flare-ups happen when oils reach the flames. Weber charcoal grills’ designs allow for stacking coals on both sides while keeping the center free. This way if you have a flare up, you can move the meat to the middle while it cools. Weber’s gas models come with Flavorizer Bars that cover the burner tubes and direct grease into the catch pan under the cooking box, making the likelihood of flare-ups less.
You have choices of metals used to hold your food over the flames: coated aluminum, cast iron, and stainless steel. Coated aluminum is cost effective, and an excellent conductor of heat, but less durable than cast iron or stainless steel. Cast iron retains heat better than any other cooking grate type, but it can crack. Stainless steel is the most durable, the easiest material to clean, and it resists corrosion but doesn’t conduct or keep the heat as well as aluminum or cast iron.
But, there is more to grilling than the basics. We think these additions make for an exceptional grilling experience:
- Smoker boxes
- External thermostats
- Built-in lighting
These are a few of the grill manufacturers we stock and recommend:
- Big Green Egg
- Broil King
- DCS-Dynamic Cooking Systems
- PGS- Pacific Gas Specialties
- Traeger Wood Pellet Grills
Hopefully, this gave you a good start on your grill-buying excursion. Ready to learn more? Call or stop by our showroom.