Best 6 Barbecue Grills in 2011
It's summer — and it's too hot to cook inside. The answer, of course, is to step outside and use a barbecue grill. If by chance you need one, we've collected listings of the six that drew the best reviews from the ConsumerSearch site maintained by About.com.
There are actually three kinds of barbecue grills: traditional charcoal units that purists love for their flavor-enhancing smoke; the more modern, clean, and convenient gas-fired units; and the high-tech infrared units where the food is efficiently cooked by heat radiated evenly from ceramic slabs (which are themselves heated by gas burners.) We'll look at the top two in each class.
[Read also ‘Grill Science: How to Make This July 4th The Tastiest Ever.’]
No. 1 charcoal: Costing about $70, the Weber One-Touch Silver 18.5-inch "kettle grill" looks like a kettle on a wheeled tripod, because that's what it is. The charcoal goes in the bottom, the food goes on a grill above it, and you put on the lid to smoke the food. You open a hole in the bottom to empty the ashes. If you want something simpler, light a campfire.
No. 2 charcoal: If your tastes demand something fancier than a wheeled kettle, for about $330 you can have the kettle with a range of built-in extras. With the Weber Performer, the basic kettle is still there, but it's surrounded by a wheeled work table. There's also a built-in thermometer and storage space. More notable, it has an ignition system using disposable propane containers that should have you cooking in minutes.
No. 1 gas: The best-reviewed is the Weber Genesis E-320, a fully enclosed wheeled cart made of cast aluminum, enameled steel, and stainless steel. It should last for years — which is a good thing, since it costs about $750. The burners have electronic ignition and can be controlled individually, and above them are porcelain-enameled, cast-iron cooking grates, which chefs prefer over stainless steel.
No. 2 gas: On the budget side, you can get porcelain-coated, cast-iron cooking grates over burners with electronic ignition in the form of the $200 Brinkmann 810-2410-S, which is also a enclosed wheeled cart. But its lightweight construction rules out durability.
No. 1 infrared: While infrared grills tend to be large and expensive commercial-grade units, the Char-Broil Red Infrared Urban 463250211 costs only about $270. Mainly this is because it has only two burners. It's a compact wheeled unit with moderate durability that you can use on a balcony.
No. 2 infrared: Costing about $300, the Char-Broil Red 500 Infrared 463250511 is a larger unit with three main burners and a side burner for warming. It heats up quickly — too quickly for some people. Its durability is open to question.
Having picked your hardware, the next step is to delve into recipes and cooking techniques. That can consume a lifetime — or at least the rest of the summer.