Choosing the perfect backyard grill should not be taken lightly. Think of it as though you were choosing a diamond wedding ring – you want a grill that lasts forever and has the most impact possible so it’s the envy of all your friends. While a grill won’t last forever, some of them cost as much as a diamond ring, so choose wisely with plans for the growth of your cooking creativity.
First, consider the size you need. If you’re only going to cook for yourself and the only thing you like to make is hot dogs, pick the smallest and cheapest model available. Better yet, get a medium sized pot and boil those dogs.
If you are a normal everyday consumer picking your first grill, consider the size of your family. Possible backyard parties and even holiday turkeys will move you to much larger models. Bigger is better and if it has a ton of gadgets, life will be sweet!
Incidentally, your wife will not agree that a bigger grill is better. Refer to the diamond wedding ring analogy. Ask your wife which is better, a very small diamond for her wedding ring or the largest you can afford? Objection solved.
What kind of fuel will the new grill use? Your choices are charcoal, gas, or electric. There is a lot of controversy among grill masters as to what is best.
Charcoal is more expensive to use on a per usage basis, but the overall grill is cheaper and provides the best smoky flavors. Gas is quick and easy. Gas heat is easily controlled and very fast to use. This method offers the most convenience as well as very acceptable flavor. Electric models are similar to gas but have much less appeal in the overall grilling experience.
The choice often comes down to time. If you don’t have the time or patience to develop the perfect charcoal fire, gas grills are your answer. If you fancy yourself becoming the true grill master and the envy of friends, family, and your neighbors for miles around, charcoal is the way to go.
Now that you have a glowing vision of the biggest charcoal or gas grill in your mind, enhance your mental picture with gadgets.
Begin with the word “Rotisserie.” This is one marvelous invention for the backyard griller. Put a turkey, roast, ham, vegetables, or basically anything on a rotisserie and it slowly turns to provide even cooking. This baby turns the food for you and ensures your success in everyone’s eyes. If you don’t drink too many summer coolers and leave the food in the grill too long, the rotisserie method of grilling is foolproof and your food will always be perfect and juicy.
Side burners are very handy on gas grills. Make everything from beans to BBQ sauce while grilling the meats and vegetables, all the while showing off your new masterpiece grill.
Smoking baskets are containers that hold wood chips to add extra smoke flavor. Of course you could wrap your soaked wood chips in aluminum foil, poke a few holes in the package, and throw it on the fire, but a gadget is so much better.
Make sure you get the full line of tools. Array your grill with brushes for both cleaning and brushing on marinades, the ever-essential massive spatula with knife edge, spring-loaded tongs, and bamboo and metal skewers.
Go to several stores for price comparisons, but don’t settle for a smaller “diamond” than you envision. A wise man once said, “It doesn’t matter if you are good or not, as long as you LOOK good at what you’re doing.” Buy the biggest grill with all the gadgets and tools you can possibly afford.
Two final bits of advice to the beginning grill master. Buy a really good grilling cookbook and read it thoroughly. Prepare for your grilling by having the right ingredients and follow the recipes exactly until you get the hang of it.
Lastly, always have one extra bag of charcoal handy or one extra cylinder of gas in the event you run out during a grilling party. If you run out of fuel during a party, it won’t matter how good you and your new grill look, the guests won’t be impressed. If you have “extra” fuel handy, they will have no doubt YOU are the grill master.