Tips for Buying the Perfect Gas, Charcoal or Electric Grill

1. Use a Magnet

When you spend money on something, you want to make sure that you are getting a quality product or the best quality for your money. Sales ads will often advertise a grill is made of stainless steel, a sought-after material for grills.  However, is it quality stainless steel or poor-grade stainless steel that will not hold up under extreme temperatures, such as grilling?  The best quality stainless steel is heavy-gauge stainless. This material lasts and withstands heat at extreme temperatures.  To test if a grill is made of heavy-gauge stainless steel, carry a magnet with you to the store.  Place the magnet on the burner or grate. If the magnet does not stick, you are most likely dealing with top-quality stainless steel.

2. Know the Grill Language


When you go to buy a grill, you will read about the specs of the grill.  The ad will most likely contain information on the BTUs. Do you know the difference between 25,000 BTUs and 65,000 BTUs? A BTU is the amount of heat energy a burner on a gas grill releases. Small gas grills can contain as few as 5,000 BTUS, and large gas grill can contain as many as 65,000 BTUs. The higher the BTUS, the more heat your grill exerts.  Electric grills are measured in watts, not BTUs.  Anything over 1,000 watts emits substantial heat.

Side Burner

This feature may sound pretty self explanatory, but this one feature may add $100 to the price of your grill.  A side burner is a separate burner set on the outside of the grill. This burner functions to hold pots, saucepans and skillets, so you are able to make your favorite marinade, vegetable or side dish while keeping an eye on the main grill.

Infrared Burner

An infrared burner is built inside a ceramic tile or brick with holes. An infrared burner heats quickly and stays hot longer, which is good for searing foods, like hamburgers and steak. This feature provides browned crust and juicy inside.


A convection method cooks by circulating heat around the food.  Some advertisers will say a grill comes with a convection method, when in reality all grills come with a convection method. Simply closing the lid of a grill creates convection cooking. However, few high-end grill possess convection fans that circulate the air. 

Gas, Electric or Charcoal?

A gas grill is the easiest type of grill to clean.

 Gas Grill

A gas grill is always the number one choice if you enjoy entertaining.  These grills start easily, preheat quickly and cook for the masses in a wink. Gas grill tend to maintain a constant temperature for your food of choice.  Cleaning a gas grill a fairly easy, too. The biggest disadvantage of a gas grill is the price tag. Quality gas grills do not come cheap and cost money every time you cook.  Whether your gas grill is rigged to operate on natural gas or you refill the propane tank, this can become costly.   

Charcoal grills give food a smoky flavor.

Charcoal Grill

The charcoal grill is the best grill if you want to spend smart and stretch you dollars.  The point of grilling is to get the classic, smoky taste that comes from cooking with charcoal.  The biggest disadvantage of using a charcoal grill is the cooking time.  To get a charcoal grill lit and ready for meat, prepare for 30 minutes in pre-cooking time. Additionally, charcoal grills need to be cleaned and have the ashes removed after every use.

Electric grill is an excellent alternative for bad weather or apartment-living.

Electric Grill

Sometimes outdoor cooking is not an option.  Whether the weather is bad, you live in an apartment that does not allow grilling, or you have a lack of space for any other kind of grill, an electric grill makes perfect sense. An electric grill is a low-maintenance of way of providing char lines on burgers, steaks, fish, vegetables and so on. The biggest disadvantage to an electric grill is the lack of smoky flavor in the food cooked on an electric grill.  Also, the grill is not ideal for searing, such as barbequing ribs or pulled pork. 

The Perfect Electric Grill

I have personally gone with an electric grill.  After reading numerous reviews, specs, and comparison articles, I decided on purchasing the Aussie Lock ‘N Go Electric Grill, and I have not been disappointed.  This grill is everything that I hoped it would be and more.  It weighs less than 12 pounds, yet it exerts serious heat at 1, 650 watts.  The Aussie Lock ‘N Go is equipped with two options for grilling using both direct and indirect heat via the internal charcoal pan. The steel base prevents food from dropping on the floor.  Also, did I mention that this grill only costs $80?  I award the Aussie Lock ‘N Go Grill five out of five stars.  Absolutely fantastic!!!

Cooking Tips after You Have Bought Your Perfect Grill

1. Measure the cooking temperature.

 If you do not measure the temperature of you meat, how will you know whether your meat is the way you want it?  Of course, you could always cut it open on the grill, but this causes the meat to lose flavor before you even take a bite. Cooking temperatures include: 125 degrees = rare; 135 degrees = medium rare; 145 degrees = medium; 155 degrees = medium well; 160 degrees and more = well done.  

2. Use Natural Lump Charcoal

If you have chosen a charcoal grill, use natural lump charcoal.  Charcoal is not created equal.  Most quick-starting charcoal contains chemical, additives and binders that can taint the flavor of your food.  Natural lump charcoal is made of real wood chunks flavoring your food with a natural, smoky taste.

3. Check your gas grill safety.

Always examine the tube connections prior to turning on the valve after a period of down time. Look for corrosion on any of the tubes or any disconnections.  Check for a leak by rubbing soapy water on the gas tube.  If you see any bubbling, air is leaking from the tube and this tube should be replaced. Obviously, if your grill is rusty or wobbly, it is probably time to invest in a new grill.