What type of grill is right for you?
What type of grill is right for you? (A comparison between the different fuel types)
When the time to buy a new grill comes, we don’t always know which one to get.
There are many purists out there who swear by charcoal grills, but… that does not mean that it is what you need or that it is what will make you have the most fun. In order to know what YOU’ll have a blast using, it’s better that you do your own research and decide for yourself what you want. To help you out, however, I’ll give you a couple of pointers. 😎
First thing’s first, you need to know the basics before installing your future grill in your backyard. Now… What do you need to look for when buying a grill?
Honestly, there are quite a few things to consider. In no particular order, I would say that you need to think about:
- the space you have available (if, say, you only have a tiny balcony, a small gas grill [like a Napoleon Rogue with 2-3 burners or a Capt’n Cook from OvenPlus] is ideal);
- the number of people you want to cook for;
- the number of times a week you want to use your grill (if you don’t plan to light your appliance often, a charcoal grill is surely a better investment for you than a gas grill is, for example, as it is more practical for frequent use);
- the features you are looking for (an infrared burner to get the ultimate typing experience, a WiFi connection, etc.);
- the grill’s brand reputation (side note: if we sell it, it’s because it is among the best on the market 😉); and
- the budget you have.
Once you know the answer to these points, you have to think about another important aspect: what are the advantages of each fuel type?
Right off the bat, I would tell you that:
- charcoal stands out for its performance and taste;
- hardwood exudes an abundance of heat, generates a lot of smoke, and leaves an amazing taste (grills that run on wood are often very large, though);
- gas equals simplicity and speed;
- pellets are easy to use, versatile, and create a pleasant atmosphere;
- electricity allows you to meet your needs (because let’s be frank, electric grills are not the most ideal type of grills that exists); and
- briquettes are shaped uniformly, which makes their combustion time the same at every use and makes them “easier” to use than charcoal.
To demonstrate it all better and in more detail, I have also drawn a table for this. The more “x” there are in a column, the stronger the intensity is.
|LIGHTING TIME||COMBUSTION TIME||HEAT INTENSITY||TASTE NOTICEABILITY||HANDLING EASINESS||PRICE|
Following this, there are still a few clarifications I’d like to make.
- Wood charcoal and charcoal are the same things. We sometimes use one term instead of the other but know that it is indeed the same fuel. Yes, charcoal is in fact pre-burned wood pieces, which means that there are fewer wood fibers in it, and, therefore, it generates fewer flames and smoke, and, in the end, less heat than a log.
- Briquettes are made from compacted charcoal dust and a bunch of other stuff, like starch or chemicals. This, obviously, makes it not as great taste-wise and health-wise as charcoal, which is the fuel type that we, at House of BBQ Experts, recommend, because it is purer. (The Weber briquette that we sell, however, is the best on the market and allows people to grill their foods in a “less toxic” manner as it’s only made with compacted charcoal dust.) If you haven’t taken our BBQ 101 course, briquettes are the easy way to go, because their energy can be quantified (if you put 12 briquettes in your grill, your appliance will heat up for 12 briquettes). It is a bit easier to handle than charcoal but doesn’t get as hot.
- There are virtually no differences between natural gas and propane gas. I’d say natural gas gets about 10% hotter than propane gas, but it’s not very noticeable. The advantage of natural gas is more the fact that if you can have it at home, you can plug your grill into it.
Once you’ve considered all of that, you also want to think about the type of person you are. Is there a type of grill that is better for a beginner? Someone who wants to participate in BBQ competitions?
The answer to both these questions is: yes. If you are new to the wonderful world of grilling (hi! 👋), I would say that the best way to start is with a Weber Kettle, or a Napoleon Rogue or Prestige, depending on your budget. Why? Because their quality/price ratio makes these beautiful, high-performance and durable machines great choices. We don’t recommend these models to beginners for no reason, they are among our best-sellers: they are inexpensive, well designed, easy to handle, and bring a lot of happiness. The experience you will have with them will be exceptional and will bring you peace of mind.
If you really don’t want to scratch your head, pellet grills are also good options to start with. They’re like an oven, are easy to manipulate, and last a long time.
In fact, I’ll say this: What’s important when you embark on something new is to equip yourself well. First, to save money in the long term and, second, to have fun (and you’re sure to have fun with a grill 😜). And what’s great about shopping at House of BBQ Experts is that you’ll get both! 💯
Being well-equipped also comes with other advantages. If you were to buy a cheap grill, for example, and it turned out that you didn’t like it, you wouldn’t be able to do anything with it. A quality grill, on the other hand, whether you like it or not, would enable you to resell it. And… since I know that you’re a smart person, you see all the great things a quality product can bring you. 😉
If, on the other hand, you’re already a great pitmaster and want to give BBQ competitions a shot, pellet or wood grills are the types of machines that I recommend, both for their easy handling and the distinct taste that their fuel gives to food. These are also the two types of grills that I prefer using to cook large pieces of meat (which is, also, very practical for competing); there is plenty of space in these beautiful babies.
Maybe you are looking for a way to cook “hot and fast”?
If quickly cooking food “on the side”, is something that appeals to you, I would say that gas or charcoal grills are generally the ones that will suit you best. The reason is simple: they are grills that light up fast and can maintain a big power source consistently when it comes to grilling something.
Or maybe you’re more the “low and slow” type?
If you are someone who likes to take their time, then wood or pellet grills are the ones that I recommend to you the most. Wood grills operate with logs, which gives them a little “camping” effect that’s great when you want to have fun cooking around the fire and enjoy the moment.
Pellet grills, on the other hand, are “automatic” and heat up a little less than a gas or charcoal grill. Cooking with this type of device is therefore done slowly but surely, and practically by the machine itself.
Attention! Although these are my recommendations, “hot and fast” and “low and slow” cooking can both be done on all types of grills.
Finally, maybe you’re also a person who loves to explore the world. If this is you, then you want to know what types of grills you can take on an adventure with you.
Otherwise, pellet grill-wise, the Camp Chef Pursuit 20 is incredible. It has all the advantages of a pellet grill: you can cook, grill, and smoke food with it (and don’t underestimate its size, there’s room to cook two small briskets in there! 😳👌) and, in addition, even “fold” it and take it everywhere, like you would with a suitcase.
My favorite portable grill, the Capt’n Cook, can also do the job very well. It’s super versatile: you can sear restaurant-style steaks or brown lasagna to perfection with it.
Now, all that said, you may have managed to find the answer to what you were looking for as you read this. I hope that I was able to help you make a good choice and… if you are even more confused than you were (I know, I know, it’s not easy! There are so many incredible grills!), I invite you to chat with a member of our team on our website or social media pages. Either way, we’ll help you make the right choice and… I’ll say it again, you can’t go wrong with any of the grills we sell because we test them all beforehand to make sure that they’re “the bomb”! 🔥
Happy grilling everyone!