Some may think that grilling is for warm weather, or a summer, activity. The truth is you can grill any time of year if you have the right equipment and space to fill.
What Is a Grill?
This term refers to the general concept of cooking food on a grate over an open flame. If you think about it, this is the way we probably started cooking food in the first place. In contemporary society, we aren’t required to sit around an open flame with our kill. We’ve taken this concept of securing food over a fire to enhance the flavor to unbelievable heights.
Today, we enjoy the grill, and it’s the centerpiece of parties and enjoyable evenings with your family on a warm summer weekday. For some people, outdoor amenities can become the cornerstone of their cooking endeavors.
Do You Need a Grill?
Instead of answering this question I’m going to ask you a few of my own. Do you love to make grilled hot dogs and burgers for your kids?
How about chicken, steak, ribs, corn, and vegetables like portobello mushrooms, red peppers, tomatillos, jalapenos, tomatoes for salsa, corn, potatoes, eggplants, and almost every other plant-based food that won’t fall through the openings?
If you are anything like me and believe everything tastes better cooked over an open fire, then you know the answer to the title question.
Types of Grills
When it comes to the average everyday person, there are seven types of grills you can purchase. We’ve broken them down to seven types and listed them here from easiest to the most difficult to use.
First on our list is powered the same way most things in our lives are. As you have probably surmised, it is first on our list because it is the easiest to operate. You plug it into an outlet, let it heat up, and start grilling. Besides the obvious, there are other benefits to owning an electric grill.
These types of grills come in different sizes and can even be put on a countertop, depending on the one you choose. They plug into any regular outlet from a 120-volt or 220 voltage power source or electrical potential energy per unit.
Voltage needs are also contingent on the size of the product. The smaller models plug into the 120-volt outlet while more massive, outdoor versions, require 220-volt. Electric versions come with simple startup options and timers.
Convenience doesn’t come without a price. While there aren’t many, electric grills have a downside.
Electric grills can run you anywhere from less than $30 to more than $200. Still, after you read the rest of the types listed, this kind comes in as being one of the less expensive.
Arguably the most popular of all the types on our list, gas grills decorate nearly every suburban, rural, and urban landscape in the United States. While they are not as easy to use as electric in the sense that you plug it in a start to cook, these types are purchased more frequently because of the ease in use.
When looking for a gas grill, there are options to keep in mind. Ours has four burners, which makes it easy for me to cook a lot of food or place some of it off of a direct heat source. Also, ask about the propane consumption, so you are getting the most from every tank.
Also, make sure the grill material is what you want. Stainless steel and cast iron are attractive choices.
Gas grills have many advantages.
Within this one variety of grill are subcategories.
Gas grills can run anywhere from under $100 to several thousand. As the price climbs so do options and size.
When I think of barbeque, my mind goes right to this type of grill because I am a fan of the flavor and they remind me of charred hot dogs and apple pie. It’s not the easiest to master but you can if you try.
They are typically simple in design, with a bowl holding room for burning coals, a catch for falling ash, a grate for cooking, and a lid with air holes you can open and close.
Chefs who love conventional methods swear by charcoal over gas for many reasons.
Charcoal is a general term for several subtypes. While researching remember that models with cast iron or stainless steel grates are the best.
I once saw a small charcoal grill for $20, and I know there are large built-in versions for the serious chef that cost more than $2200, which is an excellent choice for larger families and people who like to throw parties.
Some of the Kamado grills we listed under charcoal are made from ceramic, and they deserve a category all their own because, as they become more and more popular, there are assets to this style of cooking that are unique.
They look a bit different than the traditional kettle grill, but some aspects are the same. There is a catch for ash, a vent at the bottom, and an opening at the top with a circle of holes you can open or close. Be sure to take the size and thickness of the materials into consideration while looking.
Plan on spending at least $400 on a ceramic grill, and that’s on the low end. Higher end products can run well into the thousands.
Wood Burning / Pellet
When humans first learned to cook food, it wasn’t actually over charcoal. More likely it happened over a wood fire. For some, they feel there is no substitute for wood. Some popular choices are sweet chestnut, English oak, and apple wood.
There are fire pits that offer outdoor cooking without a cover, and large pellet grills that offer smoker options.
Of all grills, this one is the most difficult to use.
As for the cost of the actual grill, that depends on the type you buy. There are small camping systems that cost just under $200 and others that go into the high thousands.
Moveable grills fall all over the board when it comes to ease in use. Most of the types we discussed come in compact sizes for mobility.
Depending on the type you choose to purchase, there are heat sources proved for some portable gas and charcoal grills. It is an excellent tool for anyone who is trekking over long distances, let’s say taking a few summer months to visit as many national parks as they can. How fun it would be to take a road trip and grill along the way.
Portable grills are great for apartment living when you don’t have the space to keep a standard sized cooker, for this need the electric grill works nicely.
You can get a portable grill for a low price no matter what type you choose to buy.
If the rain is falling so heavy that it looks like someone is throwing buckets of water at your window then no matter how wind resistant your kamado or gas grill is the last place you are heading is in the yard to make burgers. The same goes for people who live in areas that wait out massive snow storms.
The elements may not be cooperating, but you had your heart set on a grilled black bean burger. That’s the moment you realize you need an indoor grill.
As much as you might love the taste of wood and charcoal, we do not recommend anyone use an open flame indoors. The only type of grill for indoor cooking is electric, specifically the smaller versions.
You can obtain an indoor electric grill at a reasonable price.
Other Things You Might Need
Now that you have a better idea of the type of grill you want to get, there a few items you should consider.
The tongs you have in your kitchen might not be long enough to reach over high heat. You will also need a long fork and spatula for flipping burgers. Some even come in cases and sets.
You may not like the way aprons look but in cases like this function is more important than fashion. Useful aprons come with pockets to keep other things.
The best way to learn is by doing, but you learn what to do by reading books.
As you will learn in some of those books, the internal temperature of any meat is crucial if you want to avoid getting you or your family sick. For example, you should never serve chicken before it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You can get a good reading by putting a meat thermometer in the center.
We aren’t saying a fluffy hat is necessary for a chef to create an amazing meal, but it sure is fun and looks good!
A Final Word
A general rule of thumb when shopping for any grill is to know where it needs to fit and to keep in mind how much you plan on cooking at one time. Knowledge of what you want in comparison to what you can handle will help you decide. Also, ask yourself what you want to get out of your experience.
If you feel like pushing yourself, go for a challenge like charcoal and wood cooking, But, if that seems like too much of a hassle, stick with a gas or electric grill.