Welcome to How to Buy a Grill 101.
In this course, I will give you a brief overview of grills.
Then we will go over the essentials of buying a grill:
Ahhh... the sweet aroma of food cooking over a live-fire grill. Fewer delights in this world are more enjoyable.
Grills were invented to cook food over a hot fire. The first grills didn't even have lids.
A guy named George Stephen took a metal buoy, cut it in half, set it on legs, put a grate inside of it, and made the first Weber kettle grill.
Here's a picture of one of George's original grills from an article about George Stephen written by the Smithsonian Institute.
The lid changed everything because the grill worked better. It cooked foods evenly. Before, without the cover, foods would burn because the fire was too hot. And on windy days, ashes got all over your beautiful steaks.
Because of the lid, you have more control over your fire. Thanks, George Stephen.
Now grills come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. Oh my!
Which one should you buy?
Before you plop down your hard-earned cash, read this Consumer Awareness Guide about How to Buy a Grill.
The first item on our list on how to buy a grill...
Part of knowing how to buy a grill is being aware of how much grills cost.
Like anything else you buy, you need to come up with a price or price range before doing so.
You need to do some research, that's why you're reading this Consumer Awareness Guide about How to Buy a Grill.
The information below will give you some idea of how much grills cost.
Charcoal grills cost less than gas grills because there's less to them. There's no gas tubes, burners, knobs, etc...
This original Weber kettle grill costs a little over a hundred bucks! Pretty good for such a nice grill.
By contrast, this Weber Genesis gas grill is about $750.00.
And the prices go up from there. That's why it's essential to get a quality grill that'll last you years to come.
We'll cover this in more detail when we talk about materials and the company that makes your grill.
Next on our list about learning how to buy a grill, is...
Yes, size does matter. And when it comes to grilling, the bigger, the better.
Bigger grills take longer to heat up and use more fuel, but you can cook more food with them.
The size of your grill depends on what you want or like to cook. And the number of people you're cooking for.
If you want to cook an entire meal on the grill, you need to have enough space as the average dinner plate per person. That's about 104 square inches per person.
That's using the direct heat cooking method. If you want to cook indirectly, you'll need twice as much room.
For instance, if you want to cook bone-in chicken pieces, they need to be cooked by the indirect method for most of the cooking time. This means you put the chicken on the cooking grate, but not directly over the fire, or the chicken will burn.
You need room to put the chicken on the grill and space for the coals or lit burners next to the chicken.
This also applies to larges cuts like whole birds, chickens, turkeys, ducks, game hens, etc... As well as large whole fish and roasts.
Generally, if what you're cooking takes 25 minutes or less, use the direct method. If it takes longer than 25 minutes to cook, use the indirect method.
When looking at grills, the specs will give you the total cooking surface area. This includes the warming rack. Look for the size of the main grilling area. You can't cook on a warming rack.
If you want to cook turkeys, (and trust me, you do), make sure the lid is high enough. You want at least 12" from the cooking rack to the inside of the cover.
Next, on how to buy a grill, you want to consider...
Grills use different types of fuel. This affects the flavor of the food being cooked.
We'll be talking about charcoal and gas grills. Not electric or pellet grills.
If you want your food to taste like it was cooked over a live fire, you want a charcoal grill.
Charcoal imparts a smoky flavor to your food, natural gas, and propane do not.
You can add wood chunks or chips to a gas grill, but it's not the same. It's still pretty good, though. Some gas grills do have the choice of adding charcoal to achieve that smoky flavor.
Now, if you want a grill that doesn't have a smoky flavor, you want a gas grill.
Let's go over some advantages and disadvantages of each:
If a smoky, grilled flavor is most important to you, get a charcoal grill.
If convenience and ease of use is your top priority, get a gas grill.
Or get both.
Sometimes you want to be a caveman and light a fire, and sometimes, you just wanna relax and eat.
Now, an essential topic on how to buy a grill...
Buying a quality grill is crucial. If you do it right, you'll enjoy your new grill for many years to come. I still use a Weber Genesis Gold gas grill that I bought in 2002!
If you do it wrong, you'll be buying a new grill in a few short seasons.
Knowing how to buy a grill is not hard if you know what to look for.
What makes a quality grill? The materials used to build the grill is a big part of it.
Here's what you need to know:
You can't talk about how to buy a grill without considering...
It amazes me that I have to tell people this, but make sure your grill has a warranty.
Every reputable grill manufacturer has a warranty on their grills. Buy a grill from a good company that gives you a guarantee.
Some manufacturers will give you a warranty on the whole grill;
The Weber Genesis II E-310 Propane Gas Grill has a 10-year warranty!
Some manufacturers have different warranties for different parts of the grill;
The Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill has a 10-year warranty on the bowl and the lid, a 5-year warranty on the ash cleaning system, and a 2-year warranty on all the remaining parts.
What if something goes wrong? Will, the company make it right?
This comes down to reputation. Read reviews about the companies before you spend your money. Check out what other customers say about their products and service.
I have a Weber Genesis Gold that I bought in 2002. I fixed it up with new burners, igniter, and heat shields that I got from my local hardware store! All the parts were genuine Weber parts.
Good grills last awhile. It's nice to be able to repair instead of replacing them.
I would never recommend anything to you unless I was confident you would be pleased with it.
Both companies also make great accessories for all their products.
Our last, but most important topic on how to buy a grill...
Did you know, between 2014-2018, grills, hibachis, and barbecues were involved in an average of 10,600 home fires per year?
These fires caused 10 deaths a year, 160 injuries, and 149 million dollars in property damage!
I want you to enjoy a nice day outside grilling up something delicious.
I also want you to be safe, so we're going to talk about keeping you, your family, and your property safe right now.
Safety is essential when it comes to knowing how to buy a grill.
If you place your charcoal grill in a yard full of dead grass and leaves, the embers falling out of the grill's bottom may blow onto the grass and start a fire. Same with a wooden deck.
Grease coming out of a gas grill can also cause a fire.
Check with local ordinances to see if you can even have a grill. In some places, they're banned!
If you live in a house, most of the time you won't have a problem. Nobody's gonna come over and inspect your grills. You still need to be safe, though.
No, it's if you live in a multi-unit property like an apartment or condo. Some Homeowner Associations and landlords restrict certain grills as well.
It's illegal in most states to use an open fire grill within 10 feet of a combustible building. Also, all fuel must be stored 15 feet away from any structure. This makes it difficult to grill in an apartment or some condos; you can't get 10-15 feet away from your building and still be on your property!
Most states allow you to use the 2-1/2lb propane tanks used for camp stoves and portable gas grills in apartment complexes. Again, check with state, local ordinances, and your landlord if you rent.
Another safety item you need to know about is lighting and relighting propane and natural gas grills.
Gas grills are leaky. This is to prevent gas from building up in the grill's bottom and causing an explosion when lit. Because of this, on windy days, the fire can get blown out. If this happens, Do Not Relight Your Grill Right Away! If you try to relight your grill, the gas that may have accumulated in the grill's bottom may explode. This happened to someone I know, and it happens to a lot of other people as well.
Open the lid to the grill and air it out for 3-5 minutes, then turn on the gas and try to relight it. If the igniter isn't working, use a long match or light a wooden skewer on fire.
Also, if you try to light your gas grill and it won't light, You want to do the same thing as above; Let the grill air out for 3-5 minutes, then turn on the gas and try to relight it. (The lid should already be up if your lighting your grill.) If the igniter isn't working, use a long match or light a wooden skewer on fire.
People think that propane tanks cause explosions, but that's not true. The propane tanks are heavy and can contain the fuel well. It's the leaks in your grill that cause the problem.
The gas that leaks from the hoses in your grill ignites. The valve to the propane tank is open, causing the fuel inside to combust and cause an explosion.
To check for leaks, spray the hoses and their connections down with soapy water. If you see any bubbles, you have a leak. Replace the leaky parts before you do any grilling.
One last safety tip. This is more about using a grill than about how to buy a grill, but I thought I should mention it.
If you go out to grill in winter, and your grill's lid is covered in snow or ice, remove this before lighting your grill. Sometimes you'll lift the lid to your gas grill, and the snow stays on it. Then you light your grill and put the top down.
Then the snow melts around your grill and then freezes again. Now you come out and step on the ice slick, break a hip, and the barbecue's over.
Remove the snow from your grill lid before lighting your grill.
Some items about budgeting you want to be aware of so you don't have any unpleasant surprises:
I hope you've found this course on How to Buy a Grill useful. Now you know how to buy a grill!
If you have any comments or questions about buying a grill, or anything else, you can use the form below or contact me here.
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