Nothing says summer like a backyard barbecue. Whether you’re a first-time grill buyer or you’re replacing an old grill, achieving that iconic BBQ taste depends on the quality of your grill.
Luckily, there are a wide variety of barbecues on the market to serve your cooking needs and budget. Small, hibachi-style models can be taken along with you, while the bigger BBQ grills on the market have been designed to feed the masses. Prices can range from $30 to $3,000. Here’s what you need to know to choose the right grill for your outdoor cooking needs.
The average barbecue bought in 2015 costed approximately $365, according to survey data. Earlier surveys found that barbecues were cheaper, selling for under $300. On average, people use their barbecues for a mere three years.
What To Look For
When you’re out shopping for a barbecue, look for a grill that looks stable and well-constructed. You may want to try moving or rolling the grill or even jostling it a little to make sure it can handle the movement. Practice opening and closing the lid and assess the firebox. Don’t forget about the cart and the wheels. Stainless-steel barbecue carts with welded joints are usually sturdier than the nuts-and-bolts variety. Having four wheels as opposed to two makes the grill much easier to move. Check to see if the wheels are attached to the axle.
Safety and construction go hand in hand when it comes to BBQs. The more stable the grill is, the less likely it is to tip or blow over. But it’s also important to think of the worst-case scenario. Does the grill have sharp metal corners or edges? If it does tip over, could it cause an injury? You should opt for a big handle, so that you don’t have to move your hand too close to the lid to lift up the top. In addition, take a look at the grates and burners. A larger distance between grates usually means fewer long flare-ups.
Think Outside The Burger
Most basic BBQs are designed for burgers and hot dogs. But if you enjoy a wider sampling of barbecued offerings—such as fish, steaks, or skewers—opt for a grill that offers a wider range in temperature. The more versatile the grill’s temperature, the better it will be at cooking a variety of foods.
Check Out The Burners
On a BBQ, burners are the parts most likely to require replacement. It may be worth choosing a barbecue with a 10-year warranty, as these tend to last longer than most basic steel burners. Infrared burners are another option that’s been touted by manufacturers. These emit intense heat for searing and cooking, but according to consumer surveys they don’t have much of an advantage over standard burners.
Most barbecues have a BTUs (British thermal units) per hour rating. This is meant to tell you how much gas the grill uses and its potential for heat. But tests have indicated that this rating doesn’t mean the barbecue will preheat faster or cook better.