Choosing the Perfect Outdoor Gas Grill
As homeowners continue to invest in outdoor living, the backyard has become a focal point as a retreat and sanctuary. Perhaps there is no more important aspect of a complete outdoor haven than the perfect gas grill. Nothing can surpass the consistency, speed and convenience of cooking outdoors with gas.
Natural Gas or Liquefied Propane
If the position of the grill is going to be permanently fixed, natural gas can be a compelling alternative especially if it has already been plumbed. A natural gas connection will offer an uninterrupted supply of fuel, eliminating the possibility of discovering an empty propane tank at the most inconvenient time.
While natural gas is cheaper than LP gas, many older homes are often not stubbed properly for the appliance. LP gas also offers much greater flexibility in terms of grill placement since the 20 pound cylinders can be moved easily along with the grill itself.
Built In or Free Standing
Aesthetics for gas grills have changed dramatically in recent years and resulted in attractive cooking centers that become part of home’s outdoor furniture. Whether pre fabricated or custom made, grilling islands have taken the cooking experience to new heights.
Offering a variety of counter tops, colors designs and finishes, barbeque islands provide a wide array of available options including microwaves, refrigerators, bartender facilities, pizza ovens and other unique and innovative accessories.
Understanding the Grill Box
Whether free standing or built in, the heart of every gas grill system is the grill box. These boxes come in a wide variety of dimensions to match the intended meal size and cooking frequency.
Grill boxes are constructed from numerous materials that affect cooking quality and price. The most common materials are stainless steel, cast aluminum and porcelain coated steel. While quality grills generally are constructed from heavier gauge material, it is also important to check the integrity of the fit between the lid and the base, as well as whether the box has reinforced corners and seamless welding.
A deeper cook box is also usually a sign of a better quality grill. The greater depth allows a larger volume of heat to accumulate which insures more even distribution over the entire surface of the food.
The method the grill box employs to collect accumulated grease is also an important consideration. Grills that redistribute the dripping for taste enhancement usually provide a factory designed collection receptacle as well. This process is superior to a wire rigged apparatus that utilizes a messy empty soup can.
The burners inside the cook box play a crucial role in the quality of the grilling experience. It is critical that the BTU capacity of the burners match the surface area of the grates on which the food will lay. Burners that provide a capacity in excess of 100 BTU’s per square inch of will accommodate quicker and more even cooking.
Burners are usually constructed from stainless steel or brass and often include angled “flavor plates” to distribute heat more evenly. This indirect heating method is preferred for foods that require extended cooking times such as ribs or whole chickens. In a multiple burner configuration, it may prove beneficial to use one burner without the flavor plate for more direct heating of swift cooking foods such as boneless chickens, bratwurst and steaks.
A relatively new addition in modern gas grills is an infrared burner. This type of grilling is used primarily for red and white meat and creates a “sear zone” which adds flavor by sealing in juices. Although expensive, infra red cooking is fast and provides a restaurant style taste.
Other Important Grill Considerations
It is important to evaluate the ergonomics when purchasing a new gas grill. Electronic ignition is a necessity for most grill buyers and checking the warranty on these components is recommended. Side burners are often included with a grill and there are numerous shelf options, rotisserie and grate choices as well.
Selecting the perfect gas grill can be an enjoyable process. With some basic research, it will be easy to discover the ideal outdoor grill that will provide many years of backyard cooking pleasure.