Nothing unites Americans quite as much as our love of grilling. Regardless of our differing political views, religious beliefs, sports teams affiliations, and diverse walks of life, the moment you put some marinated steaks and shish kebabs on the grill is the moment we all find common ground.
With spring just about to sprung, all of the special grilling holidays are upon us: Easter, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. This time of year is basically Black Friday for grill stores. If you’re in the neighborhood for new gas grills, wood pellet grills, or charcoal grills, we put together a quick guide of the pros and cons of each to take to the grill store with you.
Which Grill is Best?
You’ll find the grill store organizes their grill selection based on what fuels the flames to cook your food. There are four categories of gills: gas or propane grills, charcoal grills, wood pellet grills, or electric grills.
- Gas Grills
A gas grill, which is fueled by propane, gives you the convenience of immediate fire with very little work, and less cleanup than a charcoal grill. However, if you love that smoky taste that comes from food cooked on the grill, you may be disappointed by the limited smoke taste that comes from a gas grill.
Gas grills tend to run a little more expensive than their charcoal counterparts, but the ongoing cost of propane is fairly low. A three gallon propane tank might cost your about $10 to refill (give or take, based on the going market price), and lasts an average of nine or ten grilling hours; since a gas grill doesn’t require any time to heat up, this might be enough to last you several months of weekend cookouts.
- Charcoal Grills
Charcoal grills are a good choice for grilling snobs. Getting a fire going with a charcoal grill takes a little more work, but the taste is incomparable. Charcoal burns a lot higher than the heat produced from propane, which gives a grilling aficionado the ability to get that perfect caramelized sear on the outside of the meat while locking in the moisture and flavor on the inside.
The downside to a charcoal grill is the extra work and the ongoing cost. Purchasing Charcoal is a lot more expensive than the propane to fuel a gas grill. A 16 pound bag of charcoal costs about $15 and lasts about 8 hours, however 8 hours doesn’t go as far in quantity of grilling sessions since it takes a lot longer to heat up.
- Electric Grills
If you are making your trip to the grill store for your grilling enthusiast, go ahead and skip over this section. Most grill snobs don’t even consider electric grills worthy of the title. However, if you want instantaneous grilling capability and flavor isn’t as important, an electric grill is a good option.
- Wood Pellet Grills
Pellet grills are the new kid in town. Pellets are sort of a hybrid between a charcoal in an electric grill, combing the benefits of both. You get the convenience of instant heat, rather than waiting 45 minutes for your grill charcoal grill to heat up, while maintaining the succulent flavor that is sacrificed with a propane grill. As a downside, a pellet grill costs more than its charcoal or propane classmates, and the ongoing cost of the pellets also cost more. But you get what you pay for.
Grills come in all shapes and sizes, and so does their attached price tag. If you are on a modest budget, you can find a reliable gas or charcoal grill for less than $100. With a little care, that bad boy will last you years to come!
If money is no object and you want an a grill setup that will be the center of all your neighborhood block parties, you can set up a state-of-the-art outdoor kitchen, with a top-of-the-line grill and patio furniture to match for about $7000. Just keep in mind that the heftiness of the price tag doesn’t always mean the convenience or superior flavor; take a reflection of your flavor and grilling preferences before you take the plunge into a fancy new grill.
Do you have any grill purchasing tips? Please share them in the comment section below.