By N. Bhatta - AOL
First and foremost, what type of grill do you prefer? The four main types of grills are gas, charcoal, electric, and propane, each type lending its own special fragrance and flavor to the meat it cooks.
Electric grills are the easiest to use but the automatic nature of using electricity to grill the food often leads to disappointment when it comes to the flavor and texture of the finished product. However, top-rated products like the George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill offer such versatility and convenience that it's difficult to complain too much – just plug it in and grill!
Gas grills like the Genesis S320 Gas Grill and propane grills like the Baby Q Propane Grill aren't as convenient as electric grills but are still very easy to set up and clean afterwards, with minimal prep time needed. The flavor of cooked meats, especially steaks, is preferred by some over other grilling methods. A big plus for gas and propane grills is that they are usable in the rain, which is perfect for when a meal needs to be moved indoors because of a thunderstorm but the meat still needs to finish cooking. Unfortunately, gas grills tend to be more costly than their counterparts.
Last but not least, charcoal grills like this Weber One-Touch Charcoal Grill tend to require more prep and cleaning time than other grills but they offer the most authentic grilling experience and taste, too. When prepared properly, a charcoal grill has the opportunity to offer the most stable and even heat, as well as a certain smokiness that cannot be replicated on a gas grill. The cost of charcoal grills is usually much lower as well, but disposing of the coals and ashes afterwards can be a chore.
Finally, while almost any grill can be turned into a smoker with wood chips and other fragrant materials, if you like your grilled food to have a smoky flavor more often than not, you may want to splurge on a machine that specializes in just that, like this Master Barbeque MP7 Smoker.
Choosing the type of grill you're going to buy isn't the only issue you need to resolve, as not all grills are created equal. There are quite a few questions to ask yourself when shopping around for the perfect grill:
Choosing a grill is one thing, but taking care of it is another. Gas, electric, and propane grills are infinitely easier to take care of – you can usually set the settings high enough to burn off any food remnants that are then easy to scrub off. Charcoal grills, on the other hand, require more soaking and scraping and rust faster. However, gas and propane grills often require special, expensive parts and need constant care, which can be a burden if you aren't a frequent griller.
Given this information, as popular as grilling happens to be, it seems like it would be easy to buy the perfect grill, right? Not always. Common grilling pitfalls include:
So, which grill is the right grill for you? A good grill can give you years if not decades of service, so choose carefully. To recap: gas, propane, and electric grills can be used in all weather circumstances and are easier to cleanup and prep but are more expensive than charcoal grills. Though they require more maintenance and expensive replacement parts, gas and propane grills tend to last longer than charcoal grills, but the flavor is different and not as smoky as a charcoal grill offers, to the disappointment of some grillers. Which grill to buy really depends on your personal needs, interests and budget, and this all-inclusive grilling guide should help you to easily enjoy your new grill all summer long!