Canadians love barbecue season, and getting the perfect BBQ makes the season even better. Whatever your cooking style, a good grill makes it easier to cook foods to perfection, so you can make the most of your outdoor kitchen. With so many options and different BBQ grills out there, though, how do you know which would be the best grill for you?
The right grill for you will depend on the space you have, your personal taste preferences, and whether or not you would prefer a simpler, easier or a more challenging grill experience.
Determine Your Needs
Before looking for a grill, consider what you need it for, and how you want to use it.
Something to consider are:
- Are fire bans and fire risks common in your area? Do you have a small area with overhanging roofing or plants?
- How much space do you have, and will you need to move your BBQ regularly?
- What are your personal tastes? Do you love the smoky flavor that classic charcoal grills offer, or are you more flexible?
- Do you have electrical access on your patio, if necessary?
- How many people will you be feeding regularly? How complex are the dinners you will be cooking?
- How quickly do you want to be able to cook? Do you want to be able to cook suppers in minutes, or do you enjoy the results of long, slow cooking?
- What is your price range?
Choose the Type of Grill
Once you have examined what your cooking needs are and what practical restrictions you have, you can determine the type of grill that is best for you. Gas and charcoal grills are most common, but there are other options.
A charcoal grill gives you the smoky flavor and iconic barbecue taste many people imagine when they think of barbecuing.
Cooking with charcoal grills gives you a great deal of flexibility once you master them. Searing, cooking over direct or indirect heat, slow cooking, rotisserie, and other cooking styles are possible.
You can use lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes. Lump is more expensive, but it's a natural wood fuel with no additives or fillers and is a good starter. It's also easier to clean up.
Temperature control is more difficult, and you cannot get an exact desired temperature, so it will take more time to learn how to cook properly with these, especially if you like to cook more complex meals. Many people enjoy the challenge, though. They do take a long time to heat up, so you aren't able to spontaneously decide to grill. They also usually take longer to clean and remove the charcoal ash.
Because of their open flame, charcoal grills may not be allowed in some municipalities or during fire bans. They need to be placed far enough away from any structures that could catch fire, so you need to have a place you can put it safely. A fireproof mat underneath is recommended, too.
Charcoal grills are available in a wide variety of sizes, if you need or want a smaller grill.
They come in different shapes; there are kettle grills, and barrel grills. Kettle grills are good for cooking for smaller groups and slow grilling. A barrel grill has a larger grill surface for cooking for more people.
Charcoal and Pellet Grills
A similar alternative to charcoal grills are pellet grills, which are cleaner burning and easier to use, but still offer the same flavour. They’re easy to start and use and they heat up quickly. A pellet grill is great for slow-cooking and smoking, but can be used for other types of cooking.
Some issues with pellet grills is that they have more limited sizes and options. Food-grade wood pellets need to be used, which can be difficult to find, and are expensive. A pellet grill is more difficult to use for searing foods. You also need to have a suitable outdoor electrical outlet nearby, and be cautious of flames, too.
Grill to burn wood pellets
Gas grills are the easiest and most flexible of all barbecues. They are also a great choice for beginners. They heat up quickly and are easy to start, and temperature is controlled easily. They can provide more exact heat, which makes them easier to cook with.
Many gas grills have wheels so they are easily moved, and you can find them in several sizes. They also offer more flexibility in cooking surface options. You can choose from a classic grill cooking surface, or pick a flat surface.
Without an open flame, these are better choices for near wooden and overhead structures, or where there are local restrictions.
Propane Grills or Natural Gas
With a gas grill, you can choose liquid propane or natural gas; many BBQs can use either fuel. There is no significant difference between either for your outdoor grill.
You can choose a grill that ties into your natural gas line, although you will need to be able to dedicate a permanent outdoor kitchen space. This is more expensive initially, but saves money over time, as you don't need to replace tanks.
There are other outdoor kitchen grills you could consider.
Kamado grills are expensive, but offer a great smoky, traditional barbecue flavour, and are durable and efficient. Kamado grills excel in high-heat cooking and smoking, keeping a highly consistent temperature. They are heavy, so can't be moved easily, and are limited in size options. They can also have flare ups.
Electric grills are mainly only used where other options are not possible, including where fire risks are a factor or for indoor use. They heat up quickly, and are easy to use.
Portable grills come in a variety of fuel types and styles, but obviously, the key feature is their movability. If you have a small yard and may need to move your grill more often to make space, or will want to take your grill camping and for other activities, a portable grill will be a good choice.
Find the grill of your dreams at Smitty's. We have a wide range of sizes and styles, so however you want to grill, we have the right barbecue for you!
Choose from gas or charcoal grills, and more
Smitty's Fine Furniture is a family-owned furniture store specializing in Canadian made furniture and customized solutions. Visit our locations in Kitchener and Hanover: