What to Look for in a Grill – Grill Girl Robyn Lindars
24 Aug, 2016
Now that you’re in the midst of barbecues, cookouts and outdoor parties this summer, you may have noticed it’s time to upgrade to a new grill. If you’re wondering if buying a new grill is right for you, take a look at a few tips for buying a grill from one of our favorite professionals and founder of Grill Girl, Robyn Lindars. Then, browse the latest outdoor grills at hhgregg for your next barbecue.
Tips for buying a grill
1. When is it time to let go of your old grill?
If the grill grates or other parts of the grill are rusted to the point where they are not usable, or the gas starter/ignition no longer works, I would consider getting a new grill. Some gas grills will allow you to replace the gas starter, but if this isn’t an option, I recommend getting a new grill as a faulty starter can be dangerous.
2. What are your must-have grill features?
There are a lot of important features to look for when buying a grill. Enough grill space to create a direct and indirect cooking zone, which will allow you enough space to make recipes that require indirect heat, like ribs. Also, a good steak will need some time on indirect heat as well. A good rule of thumb is to look for enough surface space that you can comfortably grill burgers for four people – if the grill is not large enough to do that, it’s most likely not going to be big enough to create zones.
You will never regret buying a bigger grill versus a smaller one. – Robyn Lindars, Grill Girl Click to Tweet
For gas, you will need at least two burners to do direct and indirect grilling, but I would look for more. Also, I would look for a grill that promises high temps so you can sear a good steak. This is going to come down to BTUs: the higher the BTUs, the higher the heat output. Read our Grill Features Part 1 blog post for a quick overview on BTUs.
When purchasing a standard kettle charcoal grill, spend a little more and make sure that it comes with the “ash catcher.” This usually makes the cost higher, but it’s worth it. Otherwise, all that ash will end up all over your patio over time.
3. Is there are absolute “deal breaker” that would prevent you from buying a grill?
The grill must have enough surface area to grill for at least four people, which is why I would eliminate the tiny two-burner gas grills. For charcoal, a standard 22” kettle grill is a great size.
I would spend more on a grill from a reputable manufacturer that offers replacement parts so I can maintain my grill over time. That way, I’m able to easily replace parts rather than reinvest in a new grill every few years. Think of a grill as an investment! Brand name and quality matter. Also, the reputable brands have forums where others share their tips and knowledge, which is an invaluable resource for newbie grillers.
4. Gas, electric or charcoal – do you have a preference?
Electric isn’t even an option for me. If you’re lucky enough to have both a gas and charcoal grill, I would recommend both. Gas is great for quick weeknight grilling, while charcoal is great for when you have more time and can appreciate the smoky flavor that only comes from cooking over charcoal. An alternative buying grills tip is to purchase a gas grill and a small hibachi grill when you want the flavor of charcoal. However, if you had to choose one over the other, I would say charcoal. Nothing beats the flavor of cooking over a flame. The taste in the food is so worth it!
Meet Robyn Lindars
Robyn Lindars, grillgirl.com
Robyn Lindars has appeared on the Food Network’s “Chopped Grillmasters,” The Cooking Channel’s “Foodography” and the Travel Channel’s “Festival’s Exposed.” A trained Florida Barbecue Association BBQ judge, Robyn is well-versed in cooking over a fire and loves keeping her recipes healthy and full of flavor. Learn more about her culinary adventures on grillgirl.com and find recipes, videos and more.