A gas, charcoal or electric grill lets you prepare easy outdoor meals on your deck or patio. Pair it with a compact smoker to take your outdoor cooking to the next level. Ready to step into the master griller category? Add the right cooking accessories and tackle breakfast, lunch or dinner with ease.
Gas grills — fueled by liquid propane (LP) or natural gas — make outdoor cooking almost as simple as cooking in your kitchen. Flip on the burners and after a few minutes of preheating, you're ready to grill.
Some gas grills are equipped with infrared burners as an additional cooking feature. Infrared heat comes from a radiant heat source rather than hot rising air (convection) used in conventional grilling. Infrared elements heat up faster and therefore cook faster. If you’re new to infrared grilling, experiment, follow directions carefully and keep an eye on your food until you master the technique.
What's a BTU?
A gas grill's heat output is rated in British thermal units (BTU). Because this measurement is related to the size of the burner, it can be difficult to compare BTU ratings of different grills. A large grill with a high BTU rating cooks at a similar temperature as a smaller grill with a lower BTU. The ability of a grill to reach and sustain cooking temperature is more critical than how hot it can get. To ensure the best cooking performance, look for infrared burners that help to seal in juices.
A standard propane tank holds 20 pounds of fuel. Depending on the cooking temperature and number of burners working, a full tank usually lasts nine hours.
Charcoal grills use charcoal briquettes, wood or a combination of both to produce a more intense, smoked flavor.
Cooking over charcoal requires time. Depending on grill size and the number and type of briquettes, you should be ready to cook 15 to 30 minutes after lighting.
Electric grills offer quick long-running operation but must plug into a power outlet.
Smokers cook "low and slow," typically between 225 and 275 degrees F for several hours. Ribs, brisket, pork, poultry and fish are traditional favorites, but vegetables, fruit and even cheese are also possibilities.
Electric smokers can operate as long as you have power, but you need to keep them close to an outlet. Gas smokers are more portable and heat quickly. Look for models with gauges to help you keep them fueled during the cooking time. Electric and gas smokers heat wood chips or pellets to produce the smoky taste. Charcoal and wood smokers are often larger and less portable but offer a flavor that's hard to beat. More compact, vertical charcoal smokers are also available.
With all of the available accessories, grilling is no longer limited to burgers and steaks. In addition to the usual utensils and skewers:
When considering accessories, make sure your grill, smoker or other cooking appliance is designed to use them.
Consider a few other factors to determine the best grill for your needs.
A grill can generate over 800°F of heat. Use caution and follow the cooking appliance manufacturer's instructions for use and safety. Here are some basic tips for cooking outdoors safely: