The Pros and Cons of a Gas Grill
There are some cooking tools that can make you feel like you should have a PhD — candy thermometers, mandolines, and pressure cookers, we’re looking at you. The gas grill, though, is not one of those. Its ease of use is the main thing a gas grill has going for it. But you’ll pay for that convenience.
It’s easy to use.
If you have used a stove, you can use a gas grill. You operate each burner with a dial, turn the heat up or down to customize, and quickly turn it off when you’re done. It’s so easy, you can multi-task: Fire it up, start cooking, and just check in on your meal every few minutes while you chat with friends, prep the rest of the dinner, or even fold laundry!
It’s relatively quick.
We usually recommend allowing 30 minutes for your gas grill to really heat up, but it’s probably safe to say it’ll be hot in closer to 15 minutes. That means that you can get your food on the table pronto, which gives you more time for, well, everything else in your life.
Gas grill options start at around $200 and to get something in durable stainless steel, with great heating, it’s likely to cost closer to $500 (with options ranging into the multiple-thousands mark!).
You’ll need gas.
If you decide to have a gas grill, you’ll need to be able to fuel it — either through a natural gas line that’s connected to your house, or by keeping a propane tank filled. Adding a gas line to your outdoor area is a costly endeavor, so most people opt for propane tanks. It adds about $20 to the cost to buy an actual tank, and then around $20 every time you have to fill it (which all depends on how much you use it!).
The best way to think about this problem is to remember that the more convenient a grill becomes the less smoke flavor it produces.
An electric grill is the easiest to use but doesn’t have that real fire flavor, while hardwood fires give you the best flavor, they can be the hardest to deal with. The question to ask yourself is, do you want a fast and easy meal, or are you looking for something more. Hardcore grillers and barbecue cooks treat this style of cooking much more like a hobby that just a way to cook a meal. Of course, charcoal really isn’t that complicated and with practice can be just a reliable as using a gas grill.
The authentic smoky, off the fire taste of grilled foods, is strongest with the original heat source, wood. As you move to electric units, there is very little of this flavor left. In fact, many electric grills add virtually nothing to the taste of foods. However, the simplicity of flipping a switch and grilling can’t be beaten.
On the subject of taste, in a study conducted a while back participants were presented with hamburgers and steak cooked on gas and charcoal units.
No one could tell the difference between the charcoal or gas when it came to the hamburgers, but they could tell the difference with the steak. The charcoal grilled steak had a distinct smoke flavour. If you are going to be cooking larger items, particularly items that benefit from slow roasting and you want a deep smoke flavor, charcoal is the only way to go.
To decide what kind of grill is right for you, consider where the grill is going to sit. A small patio or covered area is not the place for a large grill. Electric grills produce no flare-ups and are safer in smaller areas. Gas grills do produce flare-ups and need to be away from any structure to avoid those pesky house fires. Charcoal can be lit with an electric starter and therefore, used with virtually no open flame.
Another thing to consider is how you plan to grill. If you want to come home from work and throw a couple of steaks or chicken breasts on the grill with virtually no hassle, then an electric or gas unit might be what you are looking for. These heat much faster and have the convenience of a general cooking appliance.
Finally, there is the issue of cost. Gas grills are generally more expensive than electric or charcoal; charcoal being the cheapest. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money then charcoal might be the answer. However, charcoal is a more expensive fuel. You can easily spend more for a cookout on charcoal while gas might cost much less per cookout. Charcoal won’t save you money in the long run, so think about the long term investment as well as the immediate purchase.
1, Char-Broil Performance 475 4-Burner Cart Liquid Propane Gas Grill – Stainless
It’s really sturdy once assembled (be ready for a bunch of parts but a fairly easy assembly). Looks sharp and cooks great. I set it up with all 4 burners turned 3/4 of the way up for an hour to break it in and when I checked on it the thermometer said it was at 550°! Needless to say mine gets plenty hot lol. No complaints. We also bought a cheap $20 grill cover from Amazon and we were shocked at the quality of the materials and fit, it was great too.
The grills are heavy iron. It heats up fast and has plenty of space for food for the entire family. It’s got two wheels which makes it easy to roll around my deck. I also bought the cover for a few extra dollars which keeps it nice and clean. Definitely worth that small additional investment. It also comes with a sideburner – I always wondered what I would ever cook on this thing but the other day but some onions and peppers on the side there and didn’t have to run back-and-forth inside the house while the rest of my food was cooking.
Char-Broil Performance 475 4-Burner
4-Burner, 36,000-BTU Cart-Style Gas Grill with 10,000-BTU Lidded Side Burner
475 square inches of primary cooking on porcelain-coated cast iron grates plus 175 square inches of secondary cooking on porcelain-coated swing-away rack
Stainless steel lid, handle and control panel add style and durability.
2, George Foreman 15-Serving Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill
My steaks come out perfect every time. veggies dont fall thru the grates like on my propane grill. Best buy I have made. I fit six burgers on it with no problem. I use this for small gatherings and my propane for large ones. The cleanup is sooo easy. It doesnt take long to cool down then I take the lid, grill plate and drip pan in the kitchen and clean them. No matter what I cook, it all comes off so easy, no scrubbing. I use rubber prongs and spatulas so not to scratch the grill plate.
George Foreman GFO240S Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill
240-sq.-in. cooking surface; cooks up to 15 burgers at once
Dimensions: 10.88L x 20.50W x 21.25H in.
Sloped non-stick cooking surface for even grilling and easy clean up
3, Cuisinart CEG-980 Outdoor Electric Grill with VersaStand
What a great alternative to natural gas/propane! I never thought an electric grill would do such a good job. We rent a condo in warmer climate during the winter and they prohibit gas/charcoal grills. We have missed having a grill here for years. But, not his year!
The Cuisinart CEG-980T Outdoor Electric Tabletop Grill provides authentic grilling performance and flavor. Its small-format fits easily on balconies and small patios. It is made for places that propane or charcoal grills aren’t allowed. Although the Cuisinart tabletop grill is compact, its ample cooking grate is large enough to heat most family meals. It heats up very quickly and reaches temperatures high enough to sear a steak. With its folding legs, the Cuisinart grill stows almost anywhere.
The item plugs into a standard household electrical receptacle and is UL approved for outdoor use. A nice alternative for charcoal or gas heating, the handy cooking surface is simple to clean when you are done. Just plug the device in and within minutes, it is heated to the temperatures you need to cook most foods. The Cuisinart CEG-980 T Outdoor Electric Tabletop Grill makes a nice gift for anyone who likes to cook outdoors safely.
Cuisinart Outdoor Electric Tabletop Grill
Portable electric grill with 145-square-inch grilling area and foldout legs
Cooks 8 burgers, 8 steaks, 6 to 10 chicken breasts, or 4 pounds of fish at once
Powerful 1,500-watt, 5,120 BTU burner and porcelain-enameled grill grate
4, Char-Broil TRU Infrared Electric Patio Bistro
The Char-Broil Patio Bistro 240 Electric Grill is the perfect grill for those who do not wish to use charcoal or gas fuel, and is ideal for apartments, condos, balconies and patios. Operation is simple- just plug it in to any standard 120-volt outlet and get grilling. The Patio Bistro features Char-Broil TRU-InfraRed technology, for even and juicy grilling with low flare-ups and delicious results. Also features a 240 square inch primary cooking surface over porcelain-coated grates-which are rust-resistant and easy to clean- and an 80 square inch warming rack, ideal for sides.
The Patio Bistro works great for cooking everything from steak to vegetables, and the grilling temperature is adjusted using an oven-style control knob with lighted display. Two side shelves offer sufficient prep and storage space, and easily fold down for storage when not in use.
Electric Patio Bistro 240 with Cover
240 Square inch grilling surface with 80 Square inch warming rack- 8 to 12 hamburger capacity
Electric TRU-Infrared cooking system allows you to cook your food evenly with less flare-ups - juicier food, every time
Porcelain-coated cast iron Premium cooking grates are rust-resistant and easy-to-clean
5, Char-Griller 3001 Grillin’ Pro Gas Grill
The Char-Griller company was making low-priced charcoal grills and smokers for years before it began manufacturing and selling gas grills. This offering, the Grillin’ Pro 3001, is a gas grill is built on the modified body of the smallest of their charcoal grills. Its design basically replaces the coal grate with three gas burners. In addition, this model has integrated a 12,000 BTU side burner. This hybrid design makes for a much heavier gas grill, since the chassis is the same heavy thermal painted steel body and porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates found on many charcoal grills.
Char-Griller has developed a good reputation for making charcoal grills and smokers in the lower price range. Normally, the bodies of charcoal grills do not work well when adapted to gas grills, and vice versa, but in this case, Char-Griller managed to make a good hybrid. This gas grill can produce good heat and hold it, partly because of the porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates and the relatively heavy steel body.
Many low-end gas grill manufacturers have moved to thin sheet metal bodies, but this one has enough thickness to hold in heat to sear steaks and cook at high temperatures.
Although it looks a little unusual, this is actually a fairly conventional three-burner gas grill with a supplemental side burner.