You know summer is right around the corner when you get outside and smell the smoky goodness coming from all your neighbours’ backyards. Barbecue parties are one of the favourite pastime activities for millions of Australians. Few things beat a pint of cold beer and a delicious, juicy steak in the warm Australian summer, and if you’re looking to get a grill for your backyard or porch, you’re in the right place. But how do you choose the ideal barbecue grill for your backyard? With so many different types and models available nowadays, deciding which one is most suitable for you can take a lot of time and consideration. That being said, here’s what you need to pay attention to when shopping in order to ensure you get the best deal possible.
The Different Types of Outdoor Grills
First and foremost, you need to know what type of grill you want, and what type of grill is best for you. Grills are categorised based on the type of fuel they use. There’s not a single type of grill that beats others, as they all have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages, depending on when and how you intend on grilling.
Charcoal grills are considered the best if you want that dark crust and smokey taste on your steak. However, these grills take longer to set up, heat and clean up. Charcoal briquettes are easy to get and affordable, and they burn with slow, high heat and the flavour from the briquettes passes onto the food you grill. However, you need to think ahead, as charcoal can take 15-30 minutes to reach the necessary heat levels. Charcoal grills are available in a wide range of sizes, from super-small, portable travel grills suitable for tailgates and camping trips, to full-size grills and smokers suitable for feeding a large party.
Gas grills are quickly becoming the favourite type of grill for many homeowners, as they’re easy to use. They heat up quickly, require very little maintenance and are easy to clean. Some models come with advanced designs that let you manage the temperatures across the entire grilling area with precision and ease, using knob controls. A gas barbecue grill is great for cooking fish, chicken and vegetables. If your main concern is grilling steak, then you should know that gas grills usually don’t get as hot as charcoal grills. Furthermore, there are two types of gas grills – propane and natural gas.
Propane grills use a fuel tank that’s easily filled at your local gas station or grocery store. A full tank will give you around 10 hours of cooking time, depending on how much gas is flowing and how many burners are burning. Natural gas grills, on the other hand, are connected to your home’s natural gas system. This option is the most affordable, and you don’t run the risk of going out of fuel.
Electric grills don’t use any type of fuel, they just require an electrical outlet. These grills are best suited for areas where charcoal and gas grills aren’t allowed. The downside to these grills, however, is that you don’t get the smokey flavour. Electric grills were looked down upon, but that’s quickly changed. For the occasional grilled and apartment dweller, these efficient and compact grills provide the benefit of high-heat cooking whenever you want.
Grill Size and Cooking Area
You’ll want a grill with enough cooking area to cook all the meals you generally grill, plus the flexibility to add extra food on special occasions. That being said, get a grill with at least one more burner than you think you’ll need. Some extra things to consider are the size of the burners themselves, and whether they’re big enough to cover the entire cooking surface. If you’re going for a gas grill, remember that you’ll almost never have to use all the burners all at once. These grills also come for specialised zones for grilling different types of meat, and super-hot infrared zones that are designed to sear meat. Additionally, consider the grill’s maximum temperature – a decent grill should be able to reach at least 300 degrees. If you want to cook a few different dishes at once, some grills feature extra side burners attachments that allow you to customise your setup.
Grill Materials and Durability
Most grills you come across, no matter whether electric, gas or charcoal come in a steel housing. It’s a trustworthy material that can handle high-stress environments and high heat. Traditional models are powder-coated black or flat-painted, and most modern grills are made from stainless steel completely. The best grills are made from T304 stainless steel which is extremely easy to clean and resistant to rust. The grill’s body should be completely sealed with high-quality welding. The durability of the grill is especially important if it’s going to be kept outdoors, as it will get exposed to some harsh Australian weather.