Buying Guide | Find Your Perfect Grill
There are two seasons in Canada: winter and barbecue! With dozens of barbecue options to choose from, how do we choose the right one? Oddly enough, finding the right grill has more to do with our backyard lifestyle than size, colour, shape, and BTUs. Whatever you decide on, you can find your perfect grill in the Broil King lineup and start enjoying the perfect summer of backyard feasts now. Here are our five key facts to get you into the right grill this season.
We grill because we love grilled flavour. We could end on that note alone, but this industry is full of big signals about the best and better, and we need to cut through the smoke. If you’re grilling hot and fast, you want a grill that gets hot and stays hot to deliver the ultimate in sear and vaporization. Smoking low and slow requires clean, consistent, flavourful smoke and consistent temperature control. Put flavour first. A hot grill that gets hot in the winter and summer can vaporize drippings from a steak or burger. That vapour rises and sticks to your food. That’s grilled flavour; it’s why a grilled steak doesn’t taste the same as a pan-fried steak. Vaporization is grilling’s iconic trademark taste and smell.
A smoker needs to smoke, but that smoke needs to be clean. Clean smoke comes from a small fire that is easy to control. That smoke bastes our food for hours and delivers a unique flavour. Let’s compare slow cooker pulled pork to a smoked pulled pork. We rest our case. If you put flavour first, the rest of these tips fall into place easily.
There are many fuel options now. Propane, Pellet, Charcoal and Electric all have to stand out benefits and sweet spots. With the right kind of power and control, any of these fuel types can deliver flavour. Fuel can always be viewed in terms of convenience. While electric grills have the least power, they are most convenient for balcony grillers or on-the-go grillers that have electricity wherever they camp or tailgate. They’re no match for a full-size grills’ performance, but they deliver small-scale results wherever you can plugin.
Charcoal grills are the least convenient but the most rewarding in the category. Charcoal grilling is true fire mastery, and it takes practice to tame. You need space and airflow, protection from the wind, and regular attention. Charcoal grilling is an art and extra rewarding when it goes right. It’s the most labour-intensive form of grilling, but many grillers love it for that reason.
Pellet grilling is newer and very popular now. Pellet grills are the intersection of wood smoking flavour and the convenience & control of a household oven. For that reason, they’re often referred to as the Easy-Bake oven of grilling, but the results can’t be ignored: all the flavour of charcoal but a fraction of the effort, that’s pretty impressive.
Gas is still, for the moment at least, king and for five important reasons called Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. While charcoal and pellet grills are great weekend warriors, they’re not the best tools to grill up a few burgers and hot dogs for the family on short notice. Gas gets hot fast, sears wonderfully, is easy to control, and is extra low maintenance.
With the growth of pellet grills, there’s been some gas-bashing, especially around flavour. As we said before, vaporization caused by drippings hitting hot steel or charcoal is grilled flavour. Burnt propane or natural gas turns into flavourless water vapour and carbon dioxide, don’t buy into the ‘gas tastes like garbage’ myth.
Now we’re getting sentimental! Your crew at home will dictate the size of your grill but keep the following in mind before you lug home a 20 burner 1,000,000 BTU yacht-sized grill. A 4-burner gas grill or equivalent can grill for up to 20 people very comfortably because we don’t usually prepare the entire meal on the grill. Think about how many burgers you can put on the grilling surface, then compare that to your team. That’s a lot of burgers per person. Smokers and pellet grills fall victim to this overestimation regularly. One pork shoulder can produce pulled pork sandwiches to feed up to 25 people. The smallest pellet grills can smoke 2-4 pork shoulders at a time; that’s a lot of meat.
Think about features as well as the size of your grill and crew. Features are fantastic ways to get more variety into your grill life. A side burner lets you boil water, sauté vegetables, or heat a sauce right at your grill instead of in the kitchen or on the grill surface. A rotisserie is hands down the best way to roast a large cut of meat.
Speaking of grill features, they should always be a consideration. A rotisserie allows you to roast the perfect rotisserie chicken, prime rib, and leg of lamb. You name it; all these items roll baste in their juices for the best results. Without this out-of-the-box feature and the rotisserie burner that comes with it, these results would be pretty hard to replicate unless you’ve decided to sit grill side with a turkey baster and some patience. Side burners, double-sided cooking grates, and griddles allow you more flexibility when grilling to make everything you want, from Neapolitan pizzas to breakfast. But think big with features. Some grills have drop-down side shelves that save space, others an enclosed cabinet that hides your propane tank as it sits on a sliding easy-access drawer. Control knob lights are popular now and look amazing at night.
Tip: Don’t get hung up on BTUs since they can be misleading. Read BTUs as this grill requires this many BTUs to perform as the manufacturer intended. Works as intended isn’t a feature. It’s an expectation, and you wouldn’t expect the sign on the grill to say, “This grill really grills!”. Grills that retain heat poorly need more BTUs to do what well-built grills can do with less.
Some grills can be the Swiss Army knife of the grilling world. Many pellet grills now grill at high temperatures when they were only smokers years ago. Choose a product that is easy to control, with a wide range of control through smoking, roasting, and grilling. Don’t stop at the grill. Flexibility lets you “Do More” with your entire grilling experience. Think about the accessories like griddles, woks, skewers and racks and how you would lay out the perfect grilled meal on your grill. Then adjust the temperature from one zone to the next to get it just right. Flexibility is where your creativity gets the opportunity to maximize that space and get the most out of every square inch, meal after meal. Remember the accessories when you purchase too. Every grill needs a cover, a new grill brush, and fuel. Don’t forget the fun accessories that excite you to grill all summer long. Few experiences are more disappointing than assembling your brand-new grill only to realize that you now need to buy fuel.
When you’re ready to find the grill of your dreams, one of our many dealers can help you navigate all these features and more at your local grill store. Find your new favourite barbecue and enjoy ruling the grill all summer long!