One of the best things about the end of winter is the chance to begin grilling outside -- the odor of charcoal and starter fluid, the fragrance of hamburgers and hot dogs, ears of tin-foil-covered corn-on-the-cob steaming on the side of the grill, bread and buns warming up -- all a harbinger of family and friends getting together for good times.
If you need a BBQ
grill and want some suggestions, read on.
As with many discretionary purchases, do you invest heavily in a BBQ grill
that you'll use on an irregular basis, or go for cheap? To my mind, you do both -- buy a residential-amenable grill for the gatherings of family and friends, and grab a smaller or portable unit for trips to the park, beach, or campground. The best of both worlds.
In no particular order, then:
This Napoleon OG 3000 Freestyle Travel Grill
is at home on the road, or on the back deck -- it sports compact, folding legs, a one-handed carrying capacity via its very comfortable handle, and the piezo ignition kicks off the heat of the 9000 BTU stainless steel burners. Operating on a standard propane cylinder, and priced at about $180, this grill is pictured at the left. As a splurge, look at this Ultra Chef
($925) or the Freestyle
($265) for a steal of a deal.
has been in the outdoor grilling business for a long time; this One Touch Platinum Unit
, shown right and costing $249, features a stainless steel grill almost 23" in diameter perched atop a porcelain-enamel bowl. The large ash tray is removable for easy cleanout, there's a thermometer in the lid, and the pair of work tables and tool hooks will make the job of knocking out loads of hamburgers a breeze. You may also like this Genesis E-320
($650) as a splurge, or the Q220
at $200; a steal.
also will be more than happy to provide a high-end grill, like this one; their Summit S-470
. It features 4 stainless steel main burners, and one on the side, for a total of 90,000 BTU of heat. Individual ignition systems on the burners allow you to use only as many heating elements as you wish. The cart, topped with a rotisserie, is also stainless steel -- for superb weather-resistance -- and includes a pair of prep tables and tool holders; locking and swivel casters keep your grill locked into place. The grill runs on LP gas; it goes for about $1,800 and is shown at the left. Weber also has this splurge model, the Stephen
, at $388, or the steal, at $131, the Q100
And, if that grill isn't large enough to feed your flock, how about this monster? The Fire Magic Echelon Elite
is a free-standing propane-powered unit that will provide almost as much heat as the space shuttle's booster rockets -- 150,000 BTU! This guy doesn't mess around. At just over $10 grand, this grill has a rotisserie, stainless steel burners and cooking grates, and the stainless cart sports inside shelves with condiment and tool hooks, a paper towel roller, and a 110 volt power port that you can tie into with electricity from your residence. Good thinking. Pictured at the right, the grill will operate on your choice of natural gas or propane. The Gourmet
, at $4,143, is a big splurge grill, but the Deluxe
is a steal, at $1,814.
Stepping down in price and size, but not in quality of manufacture, Meco
offers this Tabletop Electric BBQ Grill
. This company has been making electric grills for more than 40 years, and this design is really clever. It has a grilling surface of more than 160 square inches and needs no starting fluid or charcoal to get the job done. The 1500 watt variable power controller get its juice from your home's electrical grid and the grill is UL-listed as a grounded appliance for outdoor use. At about $105, this neat grill is just right for those folks who live in apartments or condos. Shown left. Meco offers this Cart Grill
($210) or their steal, the Black Charcoal Grill
Continuing with the lightweight
grills -- back to Weber; their Smokey Joe Silver
unit is compact and highly portable. For $29 and up, you get a 14" round cooking grate, ash catcher, non-rusting aluminum vent, and convenient lid handle. Running on traditional charcoal, the grill features a 5 year limited warranty and is pictured right. Another Weber, the Black Spirit
, is a splurge at $400, but the Go Anywhere
is a steal at $55.
If you spend a bunch of time outdoors, portability of your grill is paramount. Primus
has your back, especially if you enjoy grilling out at the beach, balcony, or campground. The Vidar BBQ Compact Portable Grill
offers 9000 BTU of cooking power, a 5 minute boil time on a liter of water, piezo ignition, an 11 x 14 non-stick grill with a center pan support if you want to throw a rasher of bacon on the fire, and it has sufficient cooking room to cook for four. About $99 and pictured at the left. For a splurge portable grill, try the Patio Hearth Pro
($145) or a steal of a buy, the Brinkman Camping Stove
Continuing with the theme of portability, Perfect Solutions Portable Popup Grill
is just that -- you remove it from its carry case (including a couple handy cooking tools) and open it up. The stainless steel grilling grate sits on top of the coated steel base; the whole thing is yours for about $50 and is shown at the right. Safari Chef
($100) is a splurge for a portable, while the Lightweight Propane Stove
is a great bargain at $17.
For simplicity, you can't ask for more than this Portable Bucket Brazier
from Sagaform. It's an open-bottomed chrome bucket with a charcoal grate below, and a 10" stainless steel cooking grill at the top. A wire-wrapped handle and foldout legs complete this ultra-functional grill that is well-suited for apartments or condo patios or, well, the beach; anywhere you have a non-flammable surface for the hot charcoal ash. At about $32, it's a deal. Pictured left. For a more sophisticated grill, the CGG-200
is $199 and the Meco
goes for $46.
makes outdoor gear from tents
to sleeping bags
to stoves; and this is a good one -- the Road Trip Portable Grill
. It's a table-top propane gas unit that will give you 10,000 BTU of heating capacity to keep your campers full of hamburgers and hot dogs. It has piezo ignition for ease of operation, an adjustable stainless steel burner and warming rack, a slideout grease cup for simple cleanup, and you keep an eye on the cooking process with the temp gauge mounted in the lid. At about $150, it will serve you well. The Deluxe Roadtrip
model is a splurge at $200, while the InstaStart
is a steal at $80.
From simple to sophisticated, the horizon of available BBQ grills
is huge; you can easily find one to meet your needs.