Walk down any Sudbury street in the summer and you’re likely to get a whiff of something cooking on the backyard grill. It’s a staple of almost every home, but most homeowners (and BBQ owners, of course) don’t know very much about what makes their grill good or not so good.
Grab a pen and paper and make some notes before you visit our showroom. The more you know, the happier you’ll be with your purchase. Here’s what you need to know to choose the perfect BBQ for your family.
British Thermal Units, or BTUs, provide a measure of how much energy your grill can produce in an hour. A hotter BBQ cooks meat quickly, sealing in all the juicy goodness. Look for at least 12,000 BTUs per burner.
*note – our Black Olive Charcoal Grill can reach up to 60,000 BTUs. Wow!
COOKING SURFACE AREA
Do you expect to grill just for your family, or maybe a small group of friends? You can probably get by with as little as 500 square inches of grilling space. If you want to be safe, however, spring for between 700 and 900 square inches.
If your home is the social hub for all large gatherings, opt for professional sized grills of 1,000 square inches or more.
Do you normally cook quick meals, like hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks that are grilled at high termperature for a short period of time. Or do you cook more elaborate meals like ribs, pulled pork, smoked roasts using lower temperatures and longer times. This will determine how important some of the “bells and whistles” are to you that are available on the better grills. Grill novices tend to use the quick methods more frequently and hence a no-frills grill will often suffice. Those more serious cooks that adventure into the slow & low techniques will appreciate the better grills features and benefits, like rotissaries, smoker boxes, heat evenness etc.
Stainless steel is the standard, but not all stainless steel is strong enough to stand up to a few seasons in the elements. You want grade-304 stainless steel, which will never rust. Bring a magnet when you go shopping. It will stick to grade-304 and fall off of the cheaper grade-430.
A high quality stainless steel is easy to clean and maintain. It produces the most intense heat and the most pronounced grill marks (a sign of rich flavor). A cast iron grate is also an excellent choice. Cast iron needs to be seasoned with oil to prevent rusting and ideally wintered indoors to prolong its life. The thicker the grate, and the more surface area, the better for holding and distributing heat.
If you buy a model with a built in temperature gauge, the temperature should be taken at the centre of the grill. A temperature gauge keeps you from opening the lid every few minutes. If you know how long to cook a meat at a given temperature, you will only have to open the grill to flip the meat once.
Steak, for example, should cook between 4-5 minutes, then flipped and cooked 3-5 minutes more for medium-rare, 5-7 minutes for medium and 8-10 minutes for medium-well.
CHOOSE GAS IF…
Gas grills are best for the busy family who want to cook burgers and hot dogs quickly after work, before heading out to the baseball diamond or soccer field.
It’s fast to heat and easy to clean, but you don’t get the smoky BBQ flavor you get with charcoal.
CHOOSE CHARCOAL IF…
If you’re a serious griller with spare time to dedicate to the art of cooking slow over the BBQ, charcoal is your choice. You get great flavor and you can learn how to smoke your meats.
Of course it heats up slower and takes more effort to clean. You’ll be cooking big cuts of meat – ribs and the like – so make sure you get enough surface area to accommodate it.
CHOOSE PELLET IF …
If you like smoke flavor but also like the convenience then a pellet kamado grill might be for you. It gives you versatility, slow roasting for those days you have more time to quick start up times, with temperatures rising 100 degrees a minute, to 650 degrees plus,. There is no need to remove the food to refill like charcoal grills, loosing heat and smoke flavor. You just refill the external hopper with pellets, allowing for longer smoke times like 12-24 hours.
Whatever your preference, we have a wide selection of grill options to choose. Get your family outside in the evening and cook a great meal together on your new grill tonight! Visit our showroom to pick out your next charcoal or gas grill today.