With so many grills to choose from, which one is right for you?
Memorial Day Weekend is fast approaching and like many Americans, we are excited to be hosting friends for a barbeque.
When we design outdoor kitchens for our clients, we like to understand their preferences, especially when it comes to grilling! Grill size and capacity will depend on the number of guests you’d likely host – no one wants to serve 4 people at a time when you’ve got a party of 30! Secondly, what do you want most out of your grilling – a nice smoky flavor? Easy cleanup? Set it and forget it? Each of these will weigh heavily on what you end up choosing for your grilling station.
For more detail on the different options, here are some pros and cons of each type of grill:
Pros: Authentic Flavor and High Heat Capacity – The smoky flavor you get from a charcoal grill is hard to match on gas or electric. Charcoal grills can reach higher temperatures, allowing for excellent searing and grilling.
Cons: Longer to Preheat, Maintenance, and Temperature Control – You’ll spend more time preheating your charcoal grill than other options. Cleaning charcoal grills can be messy as you dispose of ash and clean the grates. Achieving precise temperature control can be challenging with charcoal grills.
Pros: Convenience, Maintenance, and Temperature Control – Gas grills are quick to start and heat up, allowing for spontaneous barbecues. They offer precise temperature control through adjustable burners. Gas grills are generally easier to clean than charcoal grills.
Cons: Lack Smoky Flavor and Higher Cost – Gas grills may not provide the same smoky taste as charcoal grills, though some models have smoke boxes or flavor bars. Gas grills tend to be more expensive upfront, and ongoing gas costs should be considered.
Pros: Simplicity and Easy Cleanup – Electric grills are easy to use and require minimal setup. They often have removable drip trays, making cleanup hassle-free.
Cons: Limited Flavor, Power Source Dependency, and Temperature Limitations – Electric grills may lack the distinct smoky flavor associated with charcoal grills. They require a power outlet to function. Electric grills can have difficulty reaching high temperatures needed for certain grilling techniques.
Pros: Excellent Smoky Flavor, Versatility, and Set-and-Forget – Smokers are designed to infuse a rich, smoky flavor into the food. They allow for slow cooking and are ideal for smoking meats, fish, and even vegetables. Once set up, smokers require minimal monitoring, making them great for low-and-slow cooking.
Cons: Time-consuming and Limited Temperature Range – Smoking requires longer cooking times compared to other grill types. Achieving high heat for searing is challenging with most smokers.
Pros: Great Flavor, Versatile, and Even Heating – Kamado Grills give that great charcoal, smoky flavor. They are capable of grilling, baking, smoking, roasting, searing, and barbecuing. With its ceramic structure, temperature remains stable throughout the cooking chamber.
Cons: Need to be Hands-on, Somewhat of Learning Curve, and More Fragile Material – Unlike a pellet smoker, you will need to regularly check the temperature gauge and airflow to ensure correct heat levels. Kamado Grills are not entirely intuitive and require some practice to understand how to use the air controls properly. The ceramic material is more delicate and might not survive tipping or getting knocked around.
Hopefully this list gives you a better idea of what to consider in choosing a grill. In Colorado, where grilling is a year-round activity, a number of us have more than one type to fill all of our needs. You can’t go wrong!