Knowledge is power when it comes to purchasing your next grill. Here are some tips and questions to ask that will help equip you with the information needed to make a savvy purchase.
Looks can be deceiving: The most important aspect of any grill is the performance. Performance is a function of careful design and features working together as a cooking system. Remember that performance is not readily visible, and can be masked by cosmetic features. Always ask about the grills cooking system and look inside to know what it offers. One feature to keep an eye out for is heavy duty cooking grids in either cast iron or stainless steel. The heavier the grids the better the heat retention and flavour results. Cast iron is the best material for heat retention. Also, heavy duty cooking grids combined with the right burners will give you full surface searing, instead of a searing zone. The Broil King’s heavy duty cast iron and their 9 mm thick stainless steel rods are the heaviest available and provide superior heat retention that delivers searing heat across the entire surface.
Gas or charcoal: One of the most common grilling debates is gas or charcoal. A common misunderstanding is that barbecue flavour comes from the charcoal, when in fact the great flavour associated with grilling comes from fats and juices dripping onto a hot surface. When food juices hit a hot surface they vapourize and permeate the food with that unmistakable barbecue flavour. Charcoal is tasteless and odorless, but it does a great job of vapourizing the juices of food being cooked. On a gas grill you want to look for a heat medium that covers the entire cook box so that it will capture and vapourize all of the food juices. Grills with heat tents or gaps in the vapourizer will allow food juices to drip through to the grease tray, meaning lost flavour.
Heat Retention and Control: The heart or engine of a grill is the burner system. Burners are typically subject to much abuse; high temperatures, corrosive food acids and salts; rapid temperature changes and condensation. You want to look for a thick burner with flame ports on the side for optimal heat distribution (two sources of flame) and to reduce the risk of the ports getting clogged with food drippings. Most grills offer single tube burners. This burner design could result in more heat at the back vs. the front due to the flow of gas being concentrated at the back of the burner. There are burners with a tube in tube or dual tube design that distribute the flow of gas evenly front to back resulting in more even heat distribution.
Grill the experts: Take advantage of reviews when shopping for your next grill. With so many users sharing their product reviews, get online are read what consumers are saying.