It’s a grand debate that has been waged over decades. Families have been split apart. Tempers have flared. Civilization, as we know it, could be teetering on the brink of collapse if we do not take a stand in this issue. Yes, summer has brought the great grilling wars. Where do we stand in this battlefield of food? Do we take the side of the gas grill and its ease and practicality? Or do we feel at home with our charcoal and the traditional open flame? Oh, the humanity of it all!
In all seriousness, choosing a grill can be almost as difficult as buying a car. There are so many different kinds, sizes, shapes and options. (Big Green Egg, anyone?) So, this post is the 411 of the different types of grills and the pros and cons of them.
Let’s start off with the basics. You have two basic kinds of grills: charcoal and gas. Either one of these will cook delicious, wonderful food outside on your grilling deck. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses and, honestly, it’s simply a matter of taste as to which one you prefer.
These harken back to the caveman days and cooking over an open flame. Personally, I prefer this type of grill. These are just your average grill that allows you to burn charcoal and then cook your food on the grate over the top of the flames.
They use charcoal briquettes for fuel. Cooking with charcoal is usually more time consuming and more expensive than cooking with gas. It does, however, give you a better taste. (Of course, the taste all depends on what type of charcoal you use and how you light your grill and a dozen other things.)
The advantage to this type of grill lies in the taste and the experience. If you are the type of person who loves to smoke meat and loves that smoky grilled flavor, then this is the type of grill you will want.
The disadvantages are many to this type of grill, however.
- It is more expensive than a gas grill. You are constantly having to buy charcoal whereas with gas you only have to buy one tank every few weeks.
- It takes longer. To have the coals ready to cook, often you have to light the grill and let them burn for a while. The time depends on the type of charcoal, but its usually between 45 minutes and an hour.
- It’s messy. Not only do you have to clean the surface of the grill, but you also have to clean up where the charcoal is burned. You have to remove the ash and debris from the grill before you start cooking.
The best part about charcoal grills is that you there are models with smokers attached. My husband has this type of grill and he can smoke some mean ribs.
This is the grill we all grew up with. It’s a kettle grill so it has lots of room for cooking. It also has a convenient ash system to help you clean it out after you use it. Get it here for $164.00.
This is a smoker and grill combination. It looks a lot like the one my husband uses nearly every weekend. This one gives you 30 inches of cooking space. They are little harder to clean out than the kettle grill, but the smoker allows you to permeate whatever you are cooking with that traditional flavor. Get it here for $110.00.
While this one has the same name as the grill above, it is a different animal. This one will give you lots of space for cooking. It also has a lever that will raise and lower the grate so that you can control how much heat is getting to your meal. It also has a convenient door on the front so that you can add fuel to your fire or clean the grill out easily. Get it here for $109.99.
This is the most popular type of grill. Usually they run on either propane or natural gas. Here, you can get refill tanks at just about any of the stores. Or you can get it from a provider. Just make sure that you get the correct kind of gas for your grill.
The advantage of a gas grill is its convenience. It can be ready to cook with almost instantly. No cleaning it out. No setting up the charcoal and letting it burn. Just push a button to fire it up and get started grilling.
There are two major disadvantages to this type of grill.
- Flavor. You don’t get any real flavor from a gas grill. You might as well be cooking inside on your stove. Even the models that have a smoke box attached to them don’t give you that much flavor.
Price. Gas grills tend to be more expensive at the get-go. Because you are using a highly flammable gas to cook with, there are certain precautions that need to be built into the model. These cost money.
This grill gives you everything that you would need in a grill. It has a large cooking area with 4 separate burners. It also has a gridle on the side for food that needs a solid surface. (I’m looking at you hot dogs that like to fall between the grates.) Get it here for $299.99.
This is the classic gas grill. This grill gives you 2 burners to control your temperature. It also has a good size space for cooking. This grill can be compared to the Kettle charcoal grill as far as price and, just like that one, is a good starter grill for a young family. Get it here for $101.95.
This is the mack daddy of grills. This has all of the bells and whistles. If you thought you might ever need it when you are grilling out, this grill is going to have it. This has 4 burners to control your temperatures, a separate side griddle and is made of durable stainless steel. It even has a cabinet area to store your gas tanks so that you are not having to constantly look at them. Get it here for $1249.00.
Other Types of Grills
While Gas and Charcoal are the champions in the arena, there are other types of grills out there. These are the contenders that are made for a specific purpose or circumstance.
These are the original grills, the OG of cooking out. This is the simplest type of grill. Literally just open fire with a grill set on top of it. Think camping out and making hot dogs and smores. That’s what we’re talking about.
These are the grills that you either have permanently installed in your outdoor living area or you use when you are camping. This type of grill is very authentic and can lend you the best flavor, and possibly memories, of any of the other types of grills.
These grills are powered by electricity and don’t require any open flame. They are great for people that live in a city or an area that has burn restrictions. This type of grill lets you have that outdoor experience and not have to worry about open flames, charcoal or any of the mess that you normally associate with cooking out.
These are also great for apartments. Many apartment complexes have rules against having even a small gas or charcoal grill. Electric grills let you have the best of both worlds and keep your landlord happy.
This is a grill that can be used inside or outside and lets you have that grilled taste without worrying about burning any buildings down. This gives you the same space that you would have with a charcoal or gas grill. Get it here for $89.99.
This grill was actually made to be used outside primarily. It gives you the same satisfaction of grilling without worrying about building or maintaining a fire. And it’s red! Get it here for $99.99.
Now this is just the mini version of another grill. Primarily made for tailgaters or for people who like to go camping, these are usually either gas or charcoal grills that can be moved and stored easily. My grandparents had one for when we would go camping. It could fit in the corner of bed of the truck and it had wheels so we could roll it to the campsite.
The advantage is also its disadvantage. They’re small. You can’t cook a lot of food on them all at once. It is easier than having to try to load up your full-size grill for a weekend trip.
This little powerhouse will give you space to cook up to 6 burgers at a time. That’s actually a lot for a small grill. It is small and compact but still gives you everything that you need in a grill. Get it here for $54.99.
This little guy is perfect for that weekend camping trip or hunting trip. It gives you 2 heights so that you can adjust it as necessary. It also gives you an easy to clean cooking surface. Lodge is a great brand, as well. They are known for their hunting and camping supplies. Get it here for $84.95.
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