How To Choose A Good Electric, Gas, Charcoal Grill
A modern household grill will allow you to get really tasty and healthy food with a special taste and aroma. In this case, in most cases, it is not even necessary to leave the house. Such devices are “powered” by electricity, coal, or gas – this determines which option is suitable for a house or a summer cottage.
- Classification of electric grills
- Choosing the surface material of the grill
- Additional options of the grill
- Features of gas grills
- Varieties of gas grills
- What to focus on when choosing the grill
- Gas Grill Manufacturer Recommendations
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Charcoal Grilling
- How to choose a charcoal grill?
- Grill manufacturer
Classification of electric grills
This type of grill can be classified into the following types:
- portable or stationary;
- open or closed;
- contact or contactless.
By type of accommodation
A stationary apparatus can be not only free-standing but also built into kitchen appliances. As a rule, such models for the kitchen have tangible dimensions, they have high power and advanced functionality. It remains only to determine in advance the place of “registration” of the future assistant.
A portable device is convenient in that it allows you to arrange a grilled snack in any convenient place. Among such proposals, compact models that are easy to clean after use have gained particular popularity.
There are also more bulky “brothers” that are more suitable for summer cottages and country houses – when choosing the latter, you should pay attention to the stability of the structure. In terms of functionality, this technique is in no way inferior to stationary options.
The home electric grill is found in open and closed interpretations. In the first case, the grate itself is the heating element. The use of such a technique is accompanied by the release of smoke during cooking, which means that you need to think about a good hood.
You will need to turn in the processed food pieces yourself.
The closed versions have two compartments. Thanks to them, heating will go from both sides. Very often, one such surface will be corrugated (due to which the strips characteristic of this method of frying are obtained), and the second one will be smooth (convenient for making pancakes and pancakes).
By heating method
Contact models imply the direct interaction of technology and product.
The technique can be one-sided, i.e. have only one surface, and two-sided – a clamping device, when two surfaces, like a press, clamp, and heat-treat food from both sides.
In non-contact models, food is cooked to completion by rotating around the heating source without touching it. For this, skewers (skewers) or cradle baskets (electric grill) are used.
Choosing the surface material of the grill
The most practical, from the point of view of users, surfaces are those made of stainless steel. They are easy to clean and heat up quickly. A cast-iron surface is ideal for electric grills.
They are most often used in open models. Of the latest know-how, glass ceramics are attractive. However, this undoubtedly beautiful and stylish grill can crack if cold water is spilled on it. So long service should be preferred over aesthetic suggestions.
But as for the case, it may well be plastic. Today it is not necessary to focus on metal: the high cost of such models is in no way justified.
Additional options of the grill
For an electric grill, functional features are determined by the possibilities of their application. In general, such a technique has rather limited software options: temperature control, degree of heating indication, timer, and automatic shutdown of the device.
But among the design features, there are quite interesting solutions.
- Some double-sided press models expand to form a large frying surface.
- Certain representatives have special tanks. It is worth pouring water and spices there, as the cooking dish will have a rich aroma. Typically, in such devices, the upper part slams shut, like a suitcase lid.
- It is very convenient when the model has removable surfaces. This not only turns it into a multifunctional technique (waffle maker, sandwich maker, pancake maker, etc.) but also makes it easier to care for the device.
Features of gas grills
These grills are used in most cases in cafes and restaurants. Owners of cottages and summer cottages can also demonstrate the skills of a chef – this is where a gas grill is most often purchased.
The principle of operation is as follows: the gas will heat the burning burners, and those, in turn, the surface of the device. This will ensure fast and optimal heating throughout the entire panel area. But these are not all the features.
The most important feature of all gas grills is the ability to smoothly adjust the temperature. It is also realistic to create several different temperature zones: in one zone, for example, food is cooked, and in the other, it is only kept warm.
Another bonus is that the device is easy to clean, unlike the charcoal grill that works in a summer kitchen, there is no need to remove the ash after the process is complete.
Not without drawbacks:
- risk due to incorrect connection of the gas cylinder;
- constant diagnostics of the device;
- emission of harmful substances from gas (plus an unpleasant odor).
It is better to buy such devices for homes and country houses. If used in an apartment building, it will be necessary to obtain prior authorization to use the gas cylinder.
Varieties of gas grills
There are these types of gas grills on sale.
- Built-in options are more related to professional technicians. Most often, these are the ones used in restaurants, but they are perfect as a barbecue grill and for a country house. They have high performance, and it is better to connect devices to the gas main.
- Portable versions are installed on a kind of trolley with wheels. It additionally has a place for placing a gas cylinder. At the same time, there may be shelves for storing related accessories.
- The most compact grills are called tourist grills: due to their low weight, you can take them with you on a trip. However, they do not have very high performance.
What to focus on when choosing the grill
When choosing the best gas grill for yourself, you need to pay attention to such components.
- It is better to select stainless steel burners. Another option is cast iron or brass. The burners must warm up all zones – at the same time, each of them must provide independent control. The more burners – the more opportunities to create such “islands” on the common panel. Separately, it should be said about infrared burners – usually behind them the highest heating quality, the ability to emit heat up to a point of 370 degrees (perfect for a steak).
- A very important role in the preparation of food is played by the grill on which it will be cooked. Accordingly, this element must be of high quality. Here it is worth choosing either stainless steel (with thick rods) or the cast iron version – they will equally collect heat, process the product, and create a characteristic pattern. The location is also important – being wide and close to each other, the bars of the lattice will work better than round and thin ones.
- Portable versions have casters for easy transport of the device. However, it is worth making sure that they are securely fastened and fixed. Also, they must be strong enough and made of quality material (preferably rubberized).
- The ignition element is also important. When buying, you should make sure that, in addition to the possibility of an electric igniter, the device also has a hole for manual ignition.
- Finally, in any country gas grill, the function of a smokehouse is important. It can be either built into the device or sold separately. With its help, the dish will be impregnated with fragrant smoke obtained from sawdust.
Gas Grill Manufacturer Recommendations
Such products are quite specific so that the main manufacturers can be counted on one hand – these are Napoleon, Kamado, Big Green Egg, Broil King, Char-Griller, Primo, KitchenAid Grill, already familiar to us by Maxwell and Weber. The latter is worth telling in more detail.
According to users, this brand has embodied all the advantages of this technique. Most of Weber’s creations are compact and powerful machines. They are designed in such a way that with the minimum fuel consumption they will prepare the most delicious meals. The device is well worth the price.
This company has other undeniable competitive advantages:
- design ergonomics;
- non-stick coating (even on grates);
- mobility and compact dimensions (from 43 x 32 cm);
- powerful filling from 2.5 kW;
- material of manufacture – emphasis on stainless steel and cast iron.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Charcoal Grilling
The charcoal grill, as the name implies, heats up and functions like a regular barbecue – thanks to the hot coals that give off the heat. But that’s where the similarities end. Unlike the barbecue, the device has a cover that drastically changes its characteristics. For example, a charcoal grill allows you to:
- cook in any weather;
- use some of them as a stove;
- smoke food;
- keep the temperature high for many hours and save coal;
- evenly and quickly fry any dish, reducing the usual cooking time by two to three times.
If we are talking about grills, we must not forget that there are other types – electric and gas. Why did we choose coal? Unlike the electric “brother”, it does not require a connection to the power supply, which means it can be used anywhere. As for the gas counterpart, the charcoal grill is much more compact, since it does not need fuel cylinders.
A gas grill is easy to prepare: just a few minutes and the device is completely ready for frying any food, while coal requires lighting and heating for 20-25 minutes. But this does not scare away lovers of traditional grilling on coals, because its main advantage is the unique smell of smoke from food cooked on a “live” fire.
Cleaning a charcoal grill is a little more difficult than other types, but you will not feel this disadvantage if you opt for a quality device, such as a ceramic one, in which food debris does not burn. The use of special Kamado coal eliminates ash problems, as it burns almost completely without contaminating the device.
It is interesting
Cooking food over charcoal is known to be one of the oldest ways to get tasty and nutritious food. The closest “relative” of the modern charcoal grill is not the traditional grill for Russians, but the Japanese Kamado clay oven, which has existed for several millennia.
How to choose a charcoal grill?
There is no one-size-fits-all recipe for the perfect charcoal grill – it’s important to find the one that’s right for you. But what should you pay attention to and what parameters do you need to decide on to buy a grill for grilling on charcoal?
Want to open your restaurant and serve charcoal meals? Or, perhaps, you regularly get together with a large group of friends in the country or at home? Large charcoal grills make it easy to cook large amounts of food, enough to serve 15-30 people.
For a family of two to four people, you can limit yourself to a medium-sized device, especially if you do not have enough free space to install a large one.
The smallest models of grills are designed for preparing one or two servings of delicious food and can be located in a small area near a townhouse, on a veranda, or even on a balcony. They are also often bought for outings and travels, as they are compact, easy to fit in the trunk, and carry in a bag.
At the same time, the shape of the device can be very different: egg-shaped, like the legendary Big Green Egg, or innovative ceramic – Kamado Joe, round, like the classic American charcoal “grill-barbecue” Weber, or the usual rectangular. The first two options are more popular because they are much more economical and more compact.
These charcoal grills can be used as a smokehouse and oven: they keep heat much longer. You can cook in them over direct and indirect heat and not only excellent steaks but also poultry, vegetable stews, pizza, and all kinds of pastries. In the case of Kamado Joe, you can cook multiple meals thanks to the Divide and Conquer culinary system.
Grill heat setting
Cooking different dishes requires different temperatures: 355 ° F is enough to fry sausages or vegetables, and a much higher “degree” is needed to get juicy and ruddy kebabs. The temperature changes like in an oven by adjusting the airflow.
Some grills also allow you to adjust the height of the grate over the coals, which allows you to cook different foods at different temperatures at the same time (vegetables and steak, for example). The boiler itself must keep warm for a long time – this is necessary for baking bread, cooking pilaf, or rich borscht with “smoke”. The heat-reflecting cover is another big plus.
Convenient ignition of the grill
Your appliance must have easy access to the charcoal container and an adjustable air supply for easy ignition, so choose a grill with ventilation control. For additional convenience, it is worth using special briquettes for ignition.
Boiler and grill grate material
Traditionally, there are two types of charcoal grills: steel and ceramic. Moreover, among the fans of the latter are not only outdoor barbecue lovers, but also renowned chefs. Ceramic devices keep heat better than metal ones. Grills in grills are made of steel (the best ones are stainless) and cast iron. Their choice depends on the needs of the griller.
Grill consumption and fuel type
The amount of fuel required is determined primarily by the type of grill, its shape, and size. If everything is clear with the last parameter initially, then the first two need to be explained. So, experienced grillers say that round-shaped ceramics are more economical than rectangular metal ones, and one “plug” of coal in them is enough for four to eight hours.
Not the least role is played by the choice of the brand of coal itself: some burns quickly, some — much longer and gives more heat. Experts recommend Kamado and Rainbow charcoal, which gives a long, even burning, which allows you to quickly cook food.
Gone are the days when you could only grill burgers or sausages, now it is a multifunctional tool with which you can cook everything from Thai noodles to waffles.
Therefore, when choosing a grill, pay attention to multi-mode units that perform, if necessary, the function of the grill itself, and the barbecue, and the tandoor, and even the wok. The more modes the device has, the wider its possibilities are in cooking different dishes.
Easy to care for your grill
Like any other cooking tool, the grill should be clean, because the food will burn on a dirty wire rack, and ash deposits will not add flavor to the dish. Therefore, choose models that are easy to wash and clean (the ceramic grill is beyond competition here, only the grate and dishes need to be cleaned). Some manufacturers offer special cleaning products that are environmentally friendly and non-damaging to the surface.
Ease of transportation and movement of the grill
Do you live in an apartment but want to enjoy perfectly grilled meats and side dishes during picnics? Or do you have a grill in your country house, but do not want to leave it there for the winter? Then it is worth choosing those grills that will not be particularly difficult to move (for example, a large device may be too heavy). It is also worth paying attention to the structural strength and whether the grill can be disassembled and reassembled.
Should you rely on brand awareness when choosing? In this case, the answer is yes, it is. After all, the reputation of firms that produce such equipment is not earned by advertising, but by many years of work with customers and their experience in using grills, user assessment of the quality, strength, and durability of products. Therefore, we advise you to pay attention to grill installations from leading manufacturers.
Kamado Joe is one of the best manufacturers of premium ceramic grills, constantly innovating in its models, improving every year.
Weber is a BBQ grill manufacturer with over a century of experience.
Broil King is a manufacturer of quality steel appliances, double wall grills, and a multifunctional control system.
Char-Broil is a company with seventy years of experience, whose name is closely associated with innovative technologies.
The Big Green Egg is the iconic ceramic egg grill used by both smoky food lovers and celebrity chefs (such as three Michelin-starred Johnny Boer) around the world.
Primo is a manufacturer of ceramic grills that are used in many steakhouses in the USA and Europe.
How To Choose A Good Electric, Gas, Charcoal Grill
In the confrontation, which grill is better – gas, coal, or electric, the needs of future users prevail. The electric option will become the favorite of apartments, but for a house or a country house, you can also purchase a gas or coal model.