How to Choose the Right BBQ Grill

Once the weather gets warm, no food is safe from grilling. From burgers to kebabs to fruit (served over ice cream), I love it all. I’ve grilled on several different gas and charcoal grills, but I haven’t decided which kind to purchase for myself. With summer fast approaching, I’m excited to announce today’s guest post: How to Choose the Right BBQ Grill. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the great gas vs. charcoal debate!

bbq grill easy recipes

Can you believe that we are already a quarter of the way into the year? 2013 is flying by. Spring is well and truly here, with summer just round the corner.

As the sun comes out and the temperature gradually rises (fingers crossed), many people will be thinking about getting out the grill and cooking up some tasty treats to celebrate the beginning of BBQ season. But what if you don’t own a grill, and haven’t brought one before? Don’t panic!

Buying your first BBQ grill can be a bit of a daunting decision. It’s a huge step-up from the portable BBQs used fondly by teens on camping trips. It’s certainly not the biggest decision you’ll ever have to make, but it is one that’s paramount to ensuring your enjoyment of the entire BBQ experience. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to give you a better understanding of choosing the grill that’s right for you.

Charcoal versus Gas: The BBQ Battle Royale

These two grill types may be the titans of the barbeque world, but in reality choosing which type of BBQ you want is usually just a matter of preference. Do you want the more traditional BBQ experience of cooking with charcoal, or are you tired of waiting around for your BBQ to light and are looking for a gas BBQ with a little more spark?

Below is a quick summary of each BBQ type, complete with pros and cons in order to help you decide:

how to choose bbq grill charcoal

Charcoal:

There’s nothing like the original BBQ experience of cooking with charcoal. Lumps of this fantastic fuel source are easy to come across and relatively cheap. Plus once charcoal gets going it burns really well, and leaves your food with that unmistakable BBQ chargrilled flavour. As an added bonus, charcoal grills are less expensive than their alternatives, making them the ideal choice for those who are barbequing on a budget.

Problem is, unless you cheat a little bit and use something more flammable, charcoal can be a real pain to light on a windy day. You’ll also always need someone monitoring the grill, moving the food to the cooler spots when it’s cooked and shuffling the charcoal in order to get the best heat. Charcoal can get messy too, so after the party stops you’ll have to designate someone to empty all the ash and dust, ready for the BBQ to be used again tomorrow. For many though, this is all part of the fun with barbequing.

Pros:

  • Original BBQ Taste
  • Cheap and easy to come by fuel
  • Burns well
  • Charcoal grills are less expensive than others

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to light
  • Has to be regularly monitored
  • Lots of clean-up afterwards
  • Can take longer to get started

how to choose bbq grill gas

Gas:

If you’re looking for a versatile, quicker-lighting BBQ then you’re in the right place. Gas barbeques are the kings of compatibility. Because they run off of gas (either propane or the more natural butane) the grill can be used all year round as long as you keep it supplied. You don’t have to waste valuable grilling time waiting for the BBQ to heat up either, as a decent gas grill should heat to cooking temperature just 10 minutes after you ignite it with a simple turn of a valve or flick of a switch. You can then adjust the temperature as easily as you’d adjust your own oven at home.

Whilst it may have some great features, they come with a price. In this case it’s literally the price tag, as gas grills are usually much more expensive than their charcoal counterparts. It’s not just the grill that’s expensive either. Whilst they may be easy to clean up, gas grills contain a lot of intricate parts that can cost considerable amounts to keep maintained or to replace, should it come to that. On top of this, BBQ traditionalists don’t feel that gas grills can deliver the same authentic grilled taste associated with charcoal.

Pros:

  • Incredibly versatile, grill whenever you want
  • Easy to light
  • Steady and manageable heat
  • Cleans up easy

Cons:

  • Although it’s close, they can’t quite replicate that original BBQ chargrilled flavour
  • Larger price tag
  • Pieces are expensive to replace

So which barbeque grill is better? Well, that’s up for you to decide. Why don’t you try them for yourself and see? Sound off in the comments section below and let us know which type of grill you prefer.

This article was written on behalf of the Garden Gift Shop, home of the perfect gifts for all gardens. If you are interested in submitting a guest post to Humble Foodie, email me at alicia (at) humblefoodie (dot) com!

About Humble Foodie

While we both love to eat well, life as AmeriCorps volunteers doesn’t afford us the budget to try every new restaurant and type of cuisine. With many post-graduate expenses and limited financial resources, what’s a foodie to do? The answer is here, at The Humble Foodie. Instead of spending our hard-earned cash paying other people to cook for us, we’re spending as frugally as possible making delicious meals at home.
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13 Responses to How to Choose the Right BBQ Grill

  1. Great post as we get into grilling season! We currently have a charcoal grill but are actually looking at switching to gas. We will pry keep a smaller charcoal grill for certain things but we live in a really windy area — so more often than not it is a pain in the butt, lol! Plus I think we would grill even more if we could just turn on the gas and go to town. 🙂
    Kenley

    • Alicia says:

      Kenley, since you are the entertaining queen, I’m glad to hear your thoughts on gas v charcoal! I love the smoky charcoal taste but I’m with you- I’m more likely to use a gas grill that requires less set up…and certainly one that isn’t a fire hazard in a windy area! 😛 The small charcoal kettle grills are a lot of fun for tailgates or picnics in the park, but once I’ve settled into a home I think I’d like to buy a larger gas grill.

  2. This post is reminding me that A still hasn’t built the balcony off our 13th story of our apartment that I’ve been asking for my birthday for the past 4 years. He better get to work, girlfriend needs an outdoor grill space!

    But, for serious, this post makes me long for summer BBQs. We’ve got a huge outdoor space at our condo building which includes a ton of gas grills – I like the ease of operation but I’m a charcoal girl at heart.

    • Also – VEGGIE KABOBS = best thing ever.

    • Alicia says:

      Hahaha, men and their promises! Having outdoor space is so important to me. At the risk of sounding like a hippie (which I guess isn’t so bad), I need a certain amount of barefoot in the grass/sand time every summer to really get happy.

      How nice that your apartment provides gas grills! At least you have that easy option, but charcoal does keep the tradition alive. Are you allowed to add your own grill to the mix, like a small kettle grill? I’m really hoping that I can find a place with at least a small outdoor patio or balcony.

      • Girl, grass under my feet is a necessity. We live across from Lincoln Park so thankfully, we’ve got easy access to outdoor space right along the lake. Chicago is fantastic for the amount of parks available. I think you’ll find yourself happy with how easy it is to carve a space of your own outdoors. For example, there is a tree across the street that I have totally come to refer to as “our tree” per the amount of time spent reading under it during summer.

        I’m sure you’ll find something with a space of it’s own or with something nearby.

      • Alicia says:

        Aw! “Our tree” sounds like the cutest. Green space is a necessity for a truly livable city.

  3. It’s like you knew we spent all weekend talking about getting a grill! (Because…we did). Nothing’s been purchased yet, but it’s definitely in the works. The minute you break out the grill, it becomes officially summertime, so…that needs to happen.

    • Alicia says:

      Mind meld! I’ve been trying to write (and accept, since this was a guest post) more seasonal posts, so I’m glad to hear that this topic has been on your mind! I’ve been thinking about what kind of grill to get as I prepare to move. If I’m going to be staying somewhere for a year, it might just be time to suck it up and buy a medium/large gas grill. There’s a three months span when I think it would completely replace my oven, so it’s probably worth it. Let me know what kind you decide to get!

  4. Sarah says:

    We have a gas grill, but it’s mainly for the convenience and ease of cleanup that led us to choose that. Nothing beats eating something straight off the charcoal grill while camping.

    My favorite thing to grill is marinated paneer alongside veggie kabobs. It really can hold its own among all of the delicious meat options that usually accompany a BBQ. You end up eating like a vegetarian king and it sure beats a frozen veggie burger patty any day!

    • Alicia says:

      You’ve pinpointed my priorities- convenience and ease of cleanup. I do love camping though and eating straight off a fire rather than a grill. That’s always my favorite way to have a burger or do baked bananas with dark chocolate.

      Paneer sounds amazing! I’ve only had it as palak paneer, but I love that suggestion.

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