What to Look for in Your New Grill: Grilling Pro Rich Wachtel Shares His Must-Haves & Deal Breakers

02 Jul, 2015

outdoor grillingBreaking up is hard to do, no matter what it’s with. Whether your grill isn’t cooking the way it used to, you’re seeing smoky emissions or you are simply ready to explore some of the latest grill features out there, this summer may be just the time to find a new grillfriend.

Take a look at the expert tips below from seasoned grilling pro Rich Wachtel, founder of Grilling With Rich. Then, check out the latest outdoor grills and grilling features for your next barbecue.

When is it time to let go of your old grill and consider a new model?

For me, the time to “let go” of an old grill and consider a new grill is when there is a lot of rust on either the outside of the grill or even the grill grates. Another important indicator for me is when the grill could be a serious danger to myself or my family, which could be indicated by a broken ignitor or even a punctured hose to and from the propane tank to the heat source.

What are your must-have, cannot-live-without features in a new grill?

That is a great question. If I was to search for a new grill right now, these are three features that I cannot live without:

  1. The material that the grill has been made out of. I want my grill to be made out of material that is easy to clean on the outside and will not rust, just in case I don’t have a grill cover. You want to not only protect your investment, but also make tons of great food on it for years to come. Stainless steel looks great, but is a pain to keep clean.
  2. The material of the grill grates. Porcelain-enameled cast iron grates are ideal. They are perfect for holding heat, evenly cooking and creating perfect grill marks. In addition, the cast iron grill grates, if properly cared for, will rarely rust and are easy to clean after you grill.
  3. Another feature that I couldn’t live without is a sear station. Having a sear station burner lets you not only maximize the heat of the grill without losing an inch of grill space, but there’s also nothing like having a perfect sear on a steak!

Is there an absolute “deal breaker” grilling feature that would prevent you from buying or using a new grill?

There are many “deal breakers” that would prevent me from buying or using a grill. The first one, most importantly, is the space of the cooking surface. If there’s a small cooking surface, then there is no reason to purchase that grill. You want plenty of space to not only cook for a lot of people, but also to try different recipes that call for direct or indirect cooking while being able to grill the simple foods. My first grill was on the smaller side, and although I thought it would be a good fit for my outdoor space, I realized quickly that I wasn’t even able to grill all of the hamburgers and hot dogs for our guests at one time.

Another deal breaker is if I can’t control the temperature of the inside of the grill. You want to be able to raise or lower the temperature of the grill depending on what the recipe calls for, where you are in the grilling process and what you are grilling. With gas, this is done by manually controlling the burners, and with charcoal or wood-burning grills, this can be done by having ample space to create different heat zones.

Gas, electric or charcoal – do you have a preference?

Right now, I am really into using my charcoal grill because I love to taste the added flavor of the charcoal and wood in my food. In addition, I believe that learning how to maintain a fire and leveraging a vent tests my skills. Also, working really hard to cook a great meal makes it taste even better.

Whether you’re looking for the latest grilling trends, are ready to shop for a new grill or just want to treat yourself to a few grilling accessories, Gregg’s got it! For more creative ways to part with your grill, find us on YouTube.

Meet Rich Wachtel

grilling pro rich wachtelRichard Wachtel, GrillingWithRich.com
Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Richard Wachtel has developed a passion for all things barbecue and grilling and sharing this love with the world through social media, digital marketing and blogging about his cooking adventures on www.GrillingWithRich.com. Richard has interviewed the top names in barbecue and grilling such as four-time BBQ Grand World Champion Chris Lilly, and other world-class pitmasters such as Myron Mixon, Melissa Cookston and Tuffy Stone…just to name a few. Additionally, GrillingwithRich.com has become a BBQ authority for media outlets and has been cited in many online publications: Yahoo News, FriendsEat.com and USA Today’s Men’s Health. Rich lives just outside the nation’s capital in Virginia with his wife and #1 taste tester – his beagle, Cooper.

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