How to Choose a Gas Grill: 6 Major Tips You Need to Know
All the fancy top-rated restaurants in the world cook meat on gas grills. Firstly, these devices are ready to work within 5 minutes after turning it on. Secondly, they are equipped with 3 or more burners, which means they have at least 3 temperature zones. A hot zone is for grilling fish or meat, a low-temperature zone - to keep ready pieces warm, and the middle zone is perfect for grilling veggies. Finally, gas grills are very easy to clean. So why not buy yourself one?
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Gas Grill
1. What Kind of Cooking Surface Do I Need, Smooth or Ribbed?
The first option is better suited for seafood, fish, poultry, and lean meat. Such grills have a thin layer of fat on their smooth cooking surfaces after a few minutes of cooking. This layer protects food from burning and preserves its juiciness and freshness. At the same time, it is more convenient to roast large chunks of fat meat on a ribbed grill - the excess fat drains out, and you have beautiful baked steaks with signature grill marks on them.
If you are interested in both options - you can find devices with two cooking surface types in the market. But they are more expensive, of course.
2. What Will I Cook?
Some gas grills can only run on liquefied petroleum gas and some use methane. At the same time, there are models that can use any raw materials. You need to understand in advance which of the options in your environment is the most attractive and make sure the chosen grill supports it.
3. Price or Reliability. What is More Important?
Grill grates can be steel or cast iron. The first ones are easier to maintain and more durable, but the second ones are quite profitable in terms of cost-savings. They are cheaper and can keep your food warm longer.
4. Additional Features?
For safe and convenient use of the device, some grills provide protection and auto flame control functions. If a burner goes out, the gas supply will stop automatically, so you will not need to worry about safety. As for auto flame control, it makes our life a little more comfortable. A model with such a function should be taken if you are going to use your gas grill more than once a week.
5. What to Check First?
This can save you money because you will not have to buy any parts that were never even supposed to break. Branded warranty for quality products is 5 to 10 years, and some businesses even offer lifelong repair or replacement of their devices. Practice shows that overpayment ("for the brand”) in such a case is almost always justified.
It should be proportional to the size of the device. Some manufacturers are trying to attract customers by creating a large, impressive metal housing. It seems as if you can bake an elephant there, if necessary. However, sometimes a burner, pretty small one, in fact, is placed there. This means that your grill will be full of cold areas which will only harm the dish.
Remember: here, size doesn’t really matter. More than that, to make delicious eats, the number of burners and their output are also not that important. Even heat is what matters though. A heat distributor will help in this case. A large grill is required only when you have many guests gathered at your place for a celebration, etc..
It is desirable that the burners are made of stainless steel and adjusted independently. The best coating material is porcelain-enameled steel. The control knobs for most devices are made of plastic, and there's nothing you can do, but make sure they have a smooth adjustment, and not just set in three positions - for "high", "medium" and "low" temperature. You will have a lot of situations when you want just a little reducing the fire. With the three-way switches, you will not be able to do this.
According to grillfaq article, another important thing is the design and location of the flame tamers. These are large metal plates that do not let excess juice, grease/fat get into the burner and mess up the fire. The formation of all kinds of impurities in the burner is one of the main, most common reasons for grill malfunction. Want to buy a reliable device? Then make sure that the flame tamers cover the entire burner from above, and are not located somewhere on the side of it (as in some models). Also, make sure these "fire handlers" have no rust marks.
Shelves and Drip Tray
If you are going to grill professionally, make sure that your chosen model has side shelves and a drip tray. Would be nice to have a drain and a cup for easy grease disposal. This will make using the device much easier, and also save you time when cleaning.
The design of gas grills is basically very durable. Almost no problems ever arise. High-quality devices are distinguished by polished welds and stainless steel AISI 304 housings. However, if you live near the coast or have a very humid climate, and you want to grill outside, even such protection is not really useful. It will only delay the inevitable - make the rust occur some 3-4 years later. This is where a good warranty comes in handy. In general, when high humidity, copper and aluminum housings are the best.
If you are worried about the look of your grill, when buying a stainless steel appliance, make sure that the cover has double walls. The outer layer of it will not change its color then.
You have to know what your grill grates are made of. They may be coated with porcelain-enameled cast iron or stainless steel. Many sellers insist they need to be cleaned while they are hot. But in fact, porcelain, at such times, is particularly fragile, so it can crack. Left uncoated, the iron will quickly rust, and if you took a grill with a one-year warranty, you can forget about the replacement or free repair. It is clear that manufacturers need to somehow increase sales, but they don’t have to be at your expense.