What is a Grill?

Grilling outside is often one of the most anticipated summer activities. Grilling can be a low-fat and healthy way to prepare your favorite meals. The warm weather has arrived, and if you’re anything like us, you’re probably eager to get some tasty grilling recipes on the table! However, if you’re in the market for a new piece of equipment, it can be not easy to know how to choose a grill because there are far more options than charcoal vs. gas.

Don’t worry; we did all the legwork, so you didn’t have to. We’ve got you covered whether you’re cooking burgers for two or smoking a turkey for the whole family.

 

What is a Grill?


A grill is a piece of cooking equipment with an open rack or grate as the cooking surface and a heat source underneath. The heat source can be an open flame (gas or charcoal) or electric, depending on the type of grill.

Because food is cooked directly on the grill’s rack or grate, the best foods for grilling are meats and poultry, though we can also cook firm fish, seafood, and vegetables on the grill.

Because a grill cooks with high-temperature dry heat, grilled meats should be tender cuts of meat, and marinating can help retain moisture.


Grill marks from the grate or rack are one of the characteristics of food cooked on a grill, and we can achieve this by using a grill pan, which is a specially designed pan. A grill pan has raised ridges that produce grill marks, but purists argue that cooking on a grill pan isn’t grilling.

 

What are the Different Types of Grills?

Charcoal Grills


Ideal for:
 People who don’t want to spend much money on a grill, enjoy the flavor of charcoal, and cook for small groups.

A genuine classic! Charcoal grills are portable, simple, and produce an unrivaled smoky flavor. They take longer to heat up than gas or electric grills, but they can get much hotter. Grillers will have to arrange the coals to create indirect and direct heat cooking zones because there are no temperature control knobs.

Using a charcoal grill is messier and takes longer than using a gas grill (briquettes turn to ash, which we must clean out after each use), but we think the flavor is worth the extra effort. For the best results, please read our guide to the various types of charcoal.

Weber’s Original Kettle Charcoal Grill ($109) comes highly recommended. You may have never experienced heating quality or longevity comparable to Weber.

 

Pros and Cons of a Charcoal Grill:

Pros:

Fantastic smoky flavor

Simple to use

Easily transportable

Cons:

Temperature control is less precise, and takes longer to heat and is more difficult to clean.

 

Gas Grills 


Ideal for:
people who want more space on the grill grates and simple operation.

These are the most common types of backyard grills. Gas grills heat up quickly, are simple to use, and require far less clean-up than other grills. Although you won’t get the same smoky flavor as when cooking with charcoal, you can still grill up various delicious foods, including these tasty grilled side dishes.

Gas grills are available in a variety of sizes. They are usually the most expensive option, so plan on making a longer-term investment. Your gas grill will last for years if properly maintained and cared for. Most gas grills are propane-powered, and you need to refill and replace the tanks.

 

The Senior Food Stylist, Shannon Norris, prefers gas grills and recommends the Char-Broil Performance Series 6-Burner Gas Grill. Because it is large enough for entertaining and easy to use, it has useful features such as a top rack for keeping food warm and a side table for storing your favorite grilling accessories. The built-in thermometer is also a nice feature.


Pros and Cons of Gas Grills:

Pros:

Simple to use and clean

It quickly heats up.

There are numerous size options.

Cons:

It could be more expensive.

Reduces the smoky flavor

A propane tank requires maintenance.

 

Electric Grills for the Outdoors


Ideal for: Anyone who lives in a condo where gas or charcoal grilling is prohibited or who lacks a large outdoor space.

Try an outdoor electric grill if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of running out of propane or cleaning up an ashy charcoal mess. Plug it into an outlet and start cooking. Outdoor electric grills, on average, have the smallest footprint. (They are ideal for a balcony!)

Better Chef’s Electric Barbecue Grill ($102) is a small option that can still produce a tasty meal.


Pros and Cons of an Outdoor Electric Grill:

Pros:

Compact Safe for Small Spaces

Simple to use and clean

Cons:

It can be costly.

There is no smoky flavor.

 

Smokers 


Ideal for
: Barbecue fans who crave flavor and are willing to wait a little longer to enjoy the finished product.

Gas and charcoal grills are great for everyday grilling, but nothing beats a smoker’s rich flavor. Smokers are the slow-cooker version of a grill, cooking foods at lower temperatures for longer periods. Smokers, used by some of the best barbecue pros in the country, are becoming more popular among at-home enthusiasts. Smokers are also ideal for grillers who want to cook larger cuts of meat at once due to their size.

The Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker ($329) is a must-have for nationwide grilling competitions. We like how it has two-tiered cooking grates so you can smoke a lot of meat at once.

 

Pros and Cons of Smoking:

Pros:

Slightly smoked flavor

Ample cooking space.

Cons:

Long cook time

It can be costly.

 

Portable Grills


Ideal for:
 People who prefer to grill on the go rather than in the backyard.

Portable grills are ideal for anyone who enjoys camping or grilling on the go. These grills are made to be durable and portable, so you can take them with you when you go tailgating, camping, or to the beach. These simple grills are powered by small 16-ounce propane tanks that can be stored under the grill lid when not used.

The Senior Food Stylist, Josh Rink, recommends the Weber Q 1000 1-Burner Portable Propane Gas Grill ($180). “The grill is the ideal size for cooking for two people and is simple to operate.” “I especially like that it uses small gas tank canisters—no lugging giant or heavy tanks around!” he says.

 

Pros and Cons of a Portable Grill:

Pros:

Portable

Durable

Controls are simple.

Cons:

If used infrequently, it is expensive.

A separate propane tank is required.

 

Indoor Grills


Ideal for:
Those who do not have access to an outdoor space.

Indoor grills are smaller counter appliances that won’t fill your kitchen with smoke and are ideal for apartment or condo owners who don’t have access to a backyard or balcony. Indoor grills are classified into three types: grill pans, open grills, and skillets (like a panini press). Indoor grills, regardless of type, are relatively inexpensive.

They’re also ideal for beginners. Maggie Knoebel, Culinary Assistant, explains, “I do little to no grilling, but I like my George Forman.” There’s a reason it’s a classic! Try this family-sized George Foreman Electric Indoor Grill ($55), which has a clever sloped surface that allows grease to drain into the drip tray attached to it for easy clean-up.


Pros and Cons of an Indoor Grill:

Pros:

Simple to clean

low cost

we can use it inside.

Cons:

There is no grill flavor.

Cooking space is limited.

 

Pellet Grills Made of Wood


Ideal for:
People who prefer a hands-free smoker.

Wood pellet grills are one of the simplest ways to impart a rich, smoky flavor to your meals. Set the temperature and cooking time, and the electric-powered grill will add wood pallets and a firepot. The specialty pallets are available in various wood flavors and can be bought online or at a home improvement store.

The Traeger Ironwood 650 TFB65BLE grill ($1,200) is a bit pricey, but it is well worth it. It heats evenly and consistently, making it ideal for hot-and-fast or low-and-slow grilling. Furthermore, the grill has built-in wifi, allowing you to adjust temperatures, add smoke, and check in on your meal from a smartphone app.

 

Pros and Cons of a Wood Pellet Grill:

Pros:

Set-and-forget controls

Heats up quickly

Excellent smoky flavor.

Cons:

Expensive

An electrical outlet is required.

How can you Avoid Foodborne Accidents from these Grills?


As simple as grilling may appear, it is critical to remember building, personal, and food safety regulations. Thousands of fires and injuries are reported yearly due to grilling accidents. Keep the following safety precautions in mind:

  • We should only use propane and charcoal grills outside, and indoor grilling can result in a fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Place the grill at least 10 feet away from the house.
  • Before using the grill, inspect the propane grill tank hose for leaks.
  • Children and pets should be kept away from the grill until it has cooled.
  • Never leave a grill alone.

Here are seven suggestions for making grilling a fun, healthy, and nutritious experience:

  • Before, during, and after handling food, always wash your hands and wrists with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds. Bacteria thrive in moist environments, so remove all moisture from your hands by thoroughly drying them.
  • We should use separate utensils, cutting boards, and dishes for raw and cooked foods. Before reusing anything that has come into contact with raw foods, thoroughly wash it in warm, soapy water. We should never serve grilled food on the same platter as raw meat, poultry, or fish; this is known as cross-contamination and can make you and others sick.
  • Food should never be thawed or marinated at room temperature. Refrigerate foods that have been marinated if you intend to use the marinade as a sauce on the cooked food, set aside a portion before adding the raw meat, poultry, or seafood. If the marinade used on raw meat or poultry is to be reused, bring it to a boil first to kill any harmful bacteria.
  • Keep raw foods we will grill, such as meat, separate from uncooked foods, such as salad.
  • Grilling vegetables is simple. Large vegetables, such as corn on the cob, can be directly grilled. Before grilling, wrap chopped vegetables in aluminum foil.
  • Before you put food on the grill, make sure it’s hot. Preheat the coals for at least 20 to 30 minutes before adding food to a charcoal grill.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure that food reaches the proper internal temperature.

How Long can a Gas Grill be Used?


Anyone who has heard the adage “Buy it nice, or buy it twice” understands the value of investing in a high-quality product. Gas grills are no different. While big-box store grills may only last a few summers before breaking down, a premium gas grill is built to last for many years of heavy use—even in less-than-ideal conditions.

In addition, many grill manufacturers provide lifetime warranties on their products. While you may need to perform minor repairs occasionally, you can buy with confidence, knowing that a reputable manufacturer backs your grill. Some manufacturers, such as TEC grills, even stock repair parts for grills that were discontinued a long time ago. To see specific warranty information for the product you’re interested in, consult the owner’s manual.

 

You can also take additional precautions to protect your grill from the elements. These include regular cleaning and purchasing a high-quality grill cover.

 

How should I Clean my Gas Grill?


Gas grills require little upkeep; however, this does not imply that no maintenance is required. To ensure that your product continues to function properly, you should clean your grill regularly.

Always consult your owner’s manual for specific cleaning instructions for your grill. While general maintenance will often be the same from grill to grill, you’ll want to use cleaning products and techniques approved for your grill to avoid any incidental damage. Check out our article on cleaning a gas grill for more information on specific cleaning techniques.

 

Conclusion


So it’s all about the grill. We hope you’ve also troubleshot your existing grill’s process, assisted you in finding new tools or accessories or even worked with you to redesign your entire outdoor kitchen space. So fire up the grill and start cooking your favorite dish.