With barbeque recipes trending as one of the top "genres" of culinary craft, gas grills have witnessed much hype being built around them. The range, variety, and designs are increasing, and so are the jargons to characterize them. If you are thinking of buying a gas grill, you may get confused by the sheer number of options, and their technical and marketing hype.
This guide aims to provide useful information that will help you determine which grill is the best for you.
Which are the points to consider before choosing your gas grill?
In the last decade or two, gas grills have mainstreamed as an essential outdoor cooking gadget. You should be mindful of the below-mentioned considerations before you short-list your choices.
Your Cooking Style
Barbeque cooking is very subjective. Grillers prefer different types of barbeque tastes, smokiness, grill texture, burn level, and sumptuousness of the bite. Some cooks prefer high heat that produces deep brown sear marks typical of steakhouse cooking. Others prefer the shallower surface texture and slow cooking on a gentle fire.
In this maze of cooking styles and preferences, which is yours? Nobody knows your cooking style better than yourself. So, look for the gas grill that matches it. Don't fall for the fancy frills. For example, if you prefer deep-cooking of thick meats and even burn, you should choose an infrared gas grill. Or, if you like slow cooking on low flame, prefer a gas grill with multiple heat control levels.
Your Preferences of Barbeque Recipes
Along with how you cook, what you love to cook also matters while choosing a gas grill. If fast-cooked yet supple and juicy BBQ recipes are your favorites, it will be a waste of money to buy a simple gas grill -- what you need is an infrared gas grill.
In general, choose the gas grill that cooks your favorite recipes well.
Gas grills are available in a wide price range - from under $100 to over $5,000. The same is true for their size and cooking capacity. Before you even begin to check out different types, plan your budgetconsidering the frequency of BBQ cooking, guest list, usual menu, and other factors. Else, you will end up overspending or under-budgeting.
Gas Grill Features
With so much on offer, it is easy to get tempted by feature-rich gas grill models. But how many of them are useful to you? Ask yourself this vital question every time you come across a long list of product features. If you prefer gentle sear on your pork or steak, it's no point considering a gas grill with infrared heating which causes intense sear marks and burning.
Consider the features wisely. Don't count how many features a gas grill offers, compare them with your needs and preferences.
What types of gas grills are there to choose from?
These are the main types of gas grills:
Portable - mini
Their main advantages are compact and light-weight body, yet efficient performance. They can be carried with you for camping or hiking expeditions. You can even carry one on your sailing trip. They function equally well in smaller indoor or outdoor spaces such as patios, decks, and porches.
They are still small in size, but not portable-small. They are space-saving grills made of steel, ideal for small groups. You can transport them into the storage area once cooking is done. Good for compact homes and apartments where floor space is a constraint.
Small gas grills usually have foldable shelves, which offer the benefit of in-built storage for crockery and other accessories.
These are the most popular gas grills. They have the function and the frills. Suited for social gatherings of about twenty guests but not capable of catering to crowds.
Mid-sized gas grills offer ample flexibility as they can be movable units. They also have plenty of storage to stack up the accessories and essentials -- dishes, napkins, forks and knives…
In terms of frills, mid-sized gas grills can have LED lights on the control panel, back-lit temperature control knobs… the works.
Choose this grill if you want to cook about twenty-five burgers at a time, meaning, host about twenty guests. It cooks the full range of BBQ recipes efficiently, so go ahead and indulge.
Are you an affluent social creature? Are you an excellent host? Do you love to entertain BBQ connoisseurs? If you tick all the boxes, you need this monster gas grill to catch up with the frequently-held outdoor parties hosting fifty or more guests.
The features of large-size gas grills are:
- Heavy-duty, tough stainless-steel body
- Seamless fabrication, which means no hazardous joints
- Thick and heavy grates
- Spacious storage
- Hi-tech drawers and sliders
- Hi-tech flame that spreads evenly and cooks uniformly
- Wide range of BBQ cooking possibilities
A cart grill design is essentially an outdoor model since it needs to be moved to the garden or backyard. It has to main units - a storage cabinet and the grill, which is on the top or side of the storage unit. Its twin benefits are movability and ample in-built storage.
Go for a cart grill model if, apart from its functional efficiency, you want to enhance the old-world charm of your barbeque party with its antic looks.
A flat-top model, on the other hand, is more contemporary and sleeker, with a single box-type unit with all units enclosed inside its body. Its main benefits are uniform cooking and searing, and unbroken food that tastes like authentic barbeque. They may or may not offer mobility.
Flat-top gas grills are your choice if you need a more compact model than a cart gas grill without compromising on the BBQ quality.
This is the latest gas grill technology. In conventional gas grills, food is cooked by direct heat generated from gas flames. But in these gas grills, cooking happens through infrared technology. There is an infrared element- a ceramic or glass tray between the gas burner/s and the grate tray. It heats up with the flames and generates intense heat radiation that reaches the grater and cooks food.
The main advantage of infrared gas grills is its fast heat generation. While conventional gas grills take about fifteen to 20 minutes to get heated, these grills warm up within five minutes. Fuel-conservation and timesaving are the main fallouts of fast heating.
Food is evenly cooked in infrared gas grills and the searing is intense. Importantly, they also retain the moisture content of food, translating into tender veggies and juicy meats that don't taste dry and dehydrated. And there are no flare-ups in infrared gas grills, since the flames don't come in direct contact with the food grate.
Apart from the pride of possessing the latest technology, infrared gas grills are yours to buy if you are not the patient type and want fast BBQs, your hamburgers and pork must be juicy, and you can't manage flare-ups.
What types of fuel are used in gas grills?
Gas grills are ignited with either natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
If the model you choose uses natural gas, it will have to be connected with your kitchen's main gas supply. It means specialized plumbing, and you will not be able to move the gas grill freely. However, it offers these benefits:
- Never-ending supply
- No running around for gas cylinder refill
- Lower cost - almost half the price of LPG
- Cleaner and greener fuel option
LPG fuel cylinder, on the other hand, can be accommodated in the gas grill cart, so it will go wherever your grill unit goes.
LPG or natural gas - choose your gas grill depending upon which fuel supply you are going to use.
What safety standards should you look for in gas grills?
All said and done, gas grills are not free from fire and other flame-related hazards. There are manufacturing standards that grill producers have to follow. In this concluding chapter, we give you a brief overview of the safety and product manufacturing standards to look for in the gas grill you purchase.
ANSIZ21.89-2007/CSA 1.18-2007. This is an American National Standard for design, performance, construction, and quality of outdoor gas grills developed by CSA, America. It is a member of the American National Standards Institute.
ISO 22702:2003 is the safety and performance standards of the "Utility lighter" or the long-handled gas lighter that you use to ignite gas inside the gas grill.
Your BBQ culinary skills and the information provided in this article - combine both to get yourself the gas grill that suits your needs and treat your guests to dreamy BBQ delights.