How to choose the right barbecue?
By Martine Rolland
| March 3, 2023
Our experts are frequently asked: “how to choose THE right BBQ?” What should be considered? Faced with so many models, price ranges and fuel possibilities, how do you find your way around? Once again, our fine connoisseurs have their say. They have put together this handy little guide that should help you not go crazy when choosing your future device.
Choose the right fuel
Propane and natural gas
They are the most popular on the market. They are intuitive devices: easy to light, quick to heat up and simple to maintain. Although it is easy to clean, frequency is important. For longer life, baffles and burners should be scoured. Positive point for natural gas, if your neighborhood has the service, you just have to connect and you will not have any more tank to fill!
Unlike charcoal grills, with gas grills, the temperature range that can be achieved is determined by the design of the appliance. A low-end BBQ, either with less powerful burners or a less sophisticated construction, will not allow you to make nice grill marks or sear properly.
Our experts’ favourite. This analogue device allows you to grill, smoke, roast and even bake pizzas. Indeed, by manipulating the air inlets and the quantities of coal yourself, they offer good temperature control that can vary from 165 to 1000 degrees. They also provide moist heat that gives a unique flavour and great tenderness to your food. The multitude of types of wood for charcoal available is interesting to test and is easy to find on the market. No more returnable bottles to lug around! Since there are fewer components in these grills, they have fewer parts that can get damaged or need replacing over the years.
As nobody is perfect, these devices also have their small points to consider. Lighting and reaching the desired temperature may take a long time. Our experts recommend this type of grill for intermediate cooks and above. A period of learning and improvement is necessary regarding the management of air supply and quantity of coal.
Accessible to all, these BBQs work like a conventional oven. Yes, yes, you can cook food with convection. All this thanks to the integrated controller which manages the fuel supply and the fan which ensures good oxygenation in order to reach the desired temperature. Easy to use, you can cook in peace, enter the desired degree and let your BBQ take care of the rest! They also have no flashback, because they are hidden under the components of the grill. This again makes it easier to use.
However, being designed with several mechanical elements, these devices are more prone to breakage. Interviews become essential. In addition, wood pellets are sensitive to humidity. It is important to keep them dry. Note that the temperature variation will differ greatly from one BBQ to another, some are limited to only 450 degrees.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BTUs
When it comes to choosing the right BBQ, the first thing that comes to mind for most of us is the BTUs. British Thermal Units are really just a unit of measurement that equals the heat capacity of the BBQ per hour when all burners are on. We tend to believe that BTUs is the only guarantee of quality. However, a grill with a high BTU rating, but of poor design will not have a long life cycle and will not offer optimal cooking. It is therefore important to be vigilant and to check the composition of the parts, their density and the oxygen supply.
The thicker the materials, the more the device will withstand extreme temperatures and be durable. The cooking time will also be faster. Also, make sure that the deflectors are not too close to the burners, this will allow better air circulation, therefore a more uniform heat. It is better to choose a solid and well-designed BBQ than to select high BTUs.
SELECTing the NUMBER OF BURNERS
The burners are what constitute the main heat source of the gas BBQ. They need to cover as much area as possible to be fully effective. Most appliances have between 2 and 5 burners. So, on this side, your reflection should focus on these few questions:
- How many people do you want to feed?
- Are you a fan of indirect cooking?
- Would you like to convection cook your food?
- Will you use the side burner, this practical accessory to concoct your accompaniments?
- Is an infrared burner that allows you to sear meats and reproduce the effect of an ember essential to you?
The answers to these questions will determine the number and type of burners you need.
FINDING THE RIGHT COOKING GRID
The final step to guide your selection is based on the grid component. There are different types on the market:
- Steel: Easy to maintain and inexpensive. On the other hand, they do not retain heat well, do not support large temperature variations and tend to rust.
- Made of porcelain steel: Easy to maintain, they clean well once cooled. Alloy of materials that do not have a long life, because they do not support large temperature differences.
- Cast iron covered with porcelain: Easy to maintain, they are easy to clean once cooled.
- Cast Iron: Extremely durable, heat resistant and perfect for marking food. Note that they require special maintenance and must be coated with grease regularly so as not to oxidize.
- Made of stainless steel: Very resistant, does not rust and retains heat well. They have a long lifespan. The heavier they are, the better the quality of the grid marks will be.
In summary, to enjoy a cooking experience at the height and to keep your device for a long time, it is better to invest in a quality grill. A top-of-the-range BBQ comes with very interesting guarantees that will go up to 5, 10 and 15 years. Some components are even lifelong! Isn’t that a big argument? Moreover, one of our experts wisely taught us that we are never rich enough to buy cheap. So think about it. Choosing THE right BBQ by investing a few extra dollars or having to shop for a new appliance every 3-4 years? To us, the choice is obvious!
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