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Which features should a gas bbq grill have?

free sample addict aka Tracy L Jun 10, 2007 07:25 PM

Brand isn't all that important at this point, I am at the shop and compare stage. I am mainly looking for the most grill surface area for my buck. However I am at a loss with all the other features. I own a Weber charcoal grill but would like to use the gas grill during the week and the Weber on the weekend. Or for large parties have both going. I don't want to spend more than $500. Thanks

  1. weinstein5 Jun 10, 2007 08:57 PM

    I am not a gas grill user but what I have heard (and it makes sense to me) other factors to consider are BTU output of the burners and at least 3 burners so you can do the indirect grilling besides cooking area-

    1. n
      nyfoodjoe Jun 10, 2007 09:16 PM

      I would agree with the three burner theory...you need it to do indirect cooking. I have a Fire Magic, which I love...it has the extra burner at the back of the grill to do rotisserie(sp?), and it work great...I would look for that with a gas grill.....

      1 Reply
      1. re: nyfoodjoe
        n
        nyfoodjoe Jun 10, 2007 09:42 PM

        I agree with the stainless steel grates...forget the cast iron becomming more well seasoned with use. You want something that is easy to clean...you can basically close the lid, turn the burners on high, and in a few minutes your grill is ready to be brushed and oiled. Do opt for stainless part in the burners...will last longer

      2. b
        bulavinaka Jun 10, 2007 09:38 PM

        I think you want to stay away from grills that are coated with a porcelain-like glaze, as the grills will chip as they get handled quite a bit. I personally like good old cast iron, but it does have a tendancy to eventually rust. I actually place a cast iron grill on top of my (coated?) steel grills that come with my Weber Kettle grill. Many gas BBQs now come with stainless steel as well. I don't know how well these season, but cast iron does season well - you do have to clean and maintain it though.

        I think the material that the burners are made of is important as well. I would go for stainless, as alot of stuff might drip on the burners, depending on what type of heat defusion method is used. This leads to corrosion on cast iron and steel, unless you are meticulous about cleaning your unit regularly.

        Having a large enough effective cooking surface is important, as you probably want to do some direct and indirect grilling and cooking simultaneously. You'd have to decide on the size because you pretty know how many folks you typically are cooking for, and also you may have space constraints as well. As I mentioned earlier, I am a charcoal person, and I resolve this issue by using two Weber Kettle BBQ grills. One is for direct grilling where the coals are spread out evenly across the charcoal grates, and the other is for finishing off, where the coals are placed off to the two opposite "sides" of the grate.

        Another thing to consider is the system set up to catch the drippings of juices and fats. It should be easy to remove and maintain. Some have a simple can at the bottom, others have nice slide-out pans or drawers that can be wiped off, even put in the dishwasher.

        If you have natural gas piped into your area, you may want to have a plumber give you an estimate as to how much it would cost to put in a gas outlet for you BBQ if you don't already have one. Keep in mind that if you do, you need to specifically request a gas BBQ that is made for natural gas.

        $500 gives you lots of options nowadays, as many of these gas grills are now made overseas, and the prices have dropped relative to what one could purchase as recently as a few years ago. But I would be very cautious about going with any off-brands that seem to have no business making these units. Reason being, you will eventually have to replace parts like grills, burners, igniters, etc. If you have any of those shops that specialize in BBQ grills, I would start there, as you will see some models that scream quality (and price). With the gold standard set, you can shop elsewhere, know what features to look for, what prices you'll have to pay for certain features, and so on, and go from there.

        1. JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Jun 10, 2007 10:31 PM

          I have to agree with CI... definitely get one with an attached side table, or better, two attached tables. It makes everything much more enjoyable.

          1. m
            mpalmer6c Jun 10, 2007 11:46 PM

            Consumer Reports, under medium size grills, recommends the Blue Ember FG50069 ($450) and the Char-Broil 463268007 ($300). I've had a Char-Broil for a couple of years now, and it's worked fine.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mpalmer6c
              free sample addict aka Tracy L Jun 17, 2007 10:30 PM

              Wow thanks, I appreciate your looking the information up for me because I don't subscribe to CR.

            2. free sample addict aka Tracy L Jun 17, 2007 10:27 PM

              Thanks to everyone. I have some better ideas now as to what look for.

              2 Replies
              1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L
                s
                Shazam Jun 17, 2007 11:47 PM

                I was watching BBQ U a couple of nights ago and Raichlen used a gas grill with a built-in drawer to put wood pieces in for smoking... That would be something I would go for :)

                1. re: Shazam
                  s
                  sarge Jun 18, 2007 09:11 AM

                  If you use a bottled propane grill, you will be much happier if you ditch the regulator that comes with it and replace it with a two stage regulator. This will insure an even flow of gas regardless of external temperatures. If you ever wondered why its so hard to cook when its cold outside, this is why. It also makes a more positive connection than the new plastic collar connector for dummies, It connects the same as the place that fills the tanks, just remeber, its gas so its reverse thread.

                  You can buy one at an RV supply store or maybe even a campground. You might have to buy some additional fittings to make it all hook up, or hire a plumber to hook it up.

                  I have owned countless gas grills in all price ranges, and they all come with crap regulators. Most of the trouble people have with low burner output is because of their regulator, not their burners.

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