No matter what time of year, grilling season is always in full swing. There are plenty of grills that fit your outdoor style as well as fuel preferences.
The trusty gas grill has taken many forms over the years, but today’s propane-powered grill is more high-tech than ever. For example, many gas grills now use infrared heat to grill food more precisely, retain more juices, and save energy.
Plenty of food can be cooked on a propane grill, including meats, fruits, and vegetables. Another advantage of the gas grill is the ability to cook using direct or indirect heat, which allows even more control over what you’re grilling.
Where these grills fall short (in the eyes of some) is the lack of a smoky taste that some expect when grilling. However, this could also be viewed as a pro because it lets the food retain its natural flavor.
We recommend RCS or Fire Magic brand gas grills
Nothing says backyard barbecue like the tried and true charcoal grill. When many think of grilling or throwing barbecues, this is what first comes to mind. Charcoal grill designs vary dramatically, but this says more about the grill’s versatility than its quality.
The biggest advantage (or disadvantage, depending on your palette) is the smoky taste that comes from the charcoal. For anyone who enjoys the taste, it’s almost impossible to replicate it on any other type of grill. Charcoal grills can also be very portable in size, especially when you don’t have to carry around a propane tank.
Because of the easy, low-tech setup (charcoal, fire, food), charcoal grills can be found at a low price, sometimes going as low as $20. So if you’ve been out of the grilling game for a while and want to brush up your skills before going all-in, or you’ve never grilled before, a charcoal grill can be the perfect start.
For an adventurous griller, the smoker might be the way to go. The smoky taste is similar to the charcoal grill, but because it’s cooked in indirect heat, it’s able to retain most of the meat’s juices. The fuel source varies depending on the user, but many use wood pellets or logs to maximize flavor. Some popular types of wood to use when smoking meat are oak, pecan or mesquite.
For the meat to keep its juices, it usually has to be cooked at a lower heat than standard grills, which unfortunately means it’ll be a longer wait. This just means you won’t be able to start smoking a chicken for your patio guests on a whim. But good things come to those who wait, and the taste can’t be found anywhere else.
Smokers vary in size and price, meaning you’re almost guaranteed to find one that fits your dream patio.
Griddle (Flat Top Grill)
If breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day, then the griddle might be the most important part of your patio. The large surface area allows plenty of foods to be evenly cooked at once, which can be great for large families or outdoor events.
While most people immediately think of breakfast foods like pancakes, eggs, or hashbrowns, griddles are also great for meats and vegetables. Higher-end griddles sold by Blackstone are usually more expensive than the average propane or charcoal grill. Still, the convenience and easy-to-clean surface will pay for itself over time.
Whether it’s gas, charcoal, a smoker, or a griddle, there’s truly a grill for everyone. So when celebrating your first gathering on your new patio, make sure you’re ready to grill.