What to look for in a barbecue grill

December 17, 2014

Is outdoor grilling an art form in your books? If so, then finding the right barbecue takes consideration. To help you out, here are some features to look for when on the hunt for the perfect grill.

What to look for in a barbecue grill

Type of barbecues

Not all barbecues are created equal. Here are the most common choices.

Propane BBQ: Heats up quickly and can provide consistent high-heat output.

  • Propane grills are easy to light and allow you to start cooking almost right away.
  • These types of gas grills come with a small propane tank that can be switched out and replaced when empty.

Natural gas BBQ: Also heats up quickly and provides consistent high-heat output.

  • Unlike propane grills that have a tank that needs refilling, natural gas BBQs are connected to a natural gas line from the house and provide a readily available fuel supply so you never run out of gas mid-cooking.

Charcoal BBQ: Adds a distinctive char-grilled flavour to your food.

  • It takes longer to heat up than a gas grill and can be more difficult to light.
  • Food can be cooked at high or low temperatures, depending on set-up.

Portable BBQ: They're perfect for camping trips.

  • These portable and compact BBQs provide a flexible way to barbecue without forfeiting quality and results.

Gas barbecue features

Here are some features common to gas barbecues:

  • Burners: Are generally made of stainless steel or cast iron and work with fuel to produce the flame in gas barbecues
  • Cooking grills: Delivers heat to food and can be made of porcelain-coated wire, cast iron or stainless steel
  • Warming rack: Smaller top grill where food is placed to keep warm or to cook slower
  • Starter: Electric ignition or push-button that creates a spark and ignites the flame
  • Fuel gauge: Indicates how much fuel is left in a propane tank
  • Temperature gauge: Monitors the internal heat
  • BBQ hood: Cover that traps heat inside BBQ
  • Storage: Integrated cabinets that hold BBQ accessories

Factors to consider when buying a barbecue

BTUs: Higher BTUs (the abbreviation for British Thermal Unit) translate into higher heat potential for grilling.

  •  Gas BBQs with higher BTUs increase the potential for higher heat output.
  • A BTU measurement between 35,000 and 62,500 BTUs tends to be suitable for grilling.

Size: If you have a large family or like to entertain often, a larger capacity BBQ may be the best choice for you.

Cooking style: Traditionalists who love that char-broiled, smoky flavour may prefer a charcoal BBQ over gas or propane.

Cooking grids: These are the grids the food sits on above the burners while cooking. While stainless steel grids conduct heat evenly and porcelain-coated wire grids have great heat retention, cast iron grids provide deep, dark grill lines on food which some people find desirable.

Portability: If you're intending to move your grill around, look for barbecues that are easy to manoeuvre and feature wheels and a handle. Solid castors help to lock your barbecue in place and reduce the chance of it tipping over.

Before buying the best barbecue for you, it’s always a good idea to first consider your cooking needs. A great barbecue is a terrific way to add that extra sizzle to your summer.


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