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How To Choose a BBQ Grill

Choosing a BBQ is not as simple as it once was, you have to choose between gas or charcoal, how big of a grill, which manufacturer, then you have to decide what features you want; smoker? side burner? rotisserie? So many choices to make, and then there is the budget to consider too. Well, we are here to help. We review the features and tell you which we think you will like and which might be unnecessary. But when it comes to grilling with gas or charcoal, well that is up to you, it is just too personal of a choice for us to stick out noses into.

Gas BBQ Grill

Rolling Grill vs: Built-In

Beyond cooking with gas vs: charcoal, the most fundamental choice is whether you want a rolling barbecue grill or a built-in unit. There is no difference in the available features, so you can get just about whatever you want in either grill, but if you choose a built-in, it is going to cost more. Minimum buy in is about $800 for a built-in grill, while a similar size rolling grill starts at hundreds less. As you add features and quality the price climbs more quickly for built-in grills, so if budget is a major factor, focus on a rolling grill. While a built-in BBQ grill situated in your beautiful outdoor kitchen may be your dream, bottom line, rolling grills work just as well, offer nearly all the same perks, features and benefits and cost substantially less, plus you can move them to another location in your yard, to suit wind conditions etc. The biggest perk to built-in models, is the available counter space around the grill and the permanent storage for utensils and BBQ equipment and supplies, but you can still build a grill center, and park your rolling grill right up next to it.

How Much Cooking Area Do I Need?

The rule of thumb is 100 square inches of cooking space for each person you will be grilling for. So if it just you and your sweetie, then a small grill will do just fine. If you plan to have friends over, then 600 to 900 square inches is the recommended size. If you will be grilling for parties, then the more grill space, the shorter the line for burgers. If you are going to cook things that require more time, like chicken, then more space is important. If you are cooking something quick, like hot dogs, then you can churn them out from a smaller grill.

Recommended BBQ Grill Features

There are many features to choose from, which we list below in the order of importance, so the closer to the top of the list, the more important we think the feature will be for most grillers.

  • Built in Thermometer - you don't want to repeatedly open the cover to check an internal thermometer, it lets out the heat.

  • Side Shelves - A sturdy shelf to hold that tray of burgers is invaluable. Although, you could use a small table for the task.

  • Upper Grill Shelf - A smaller shelf farther from the heat for slower cooking and keeping food warm.

  • Cooking Light - So much better than trying to grill while holding a flashlight in your teeth.

  • Infra-red Searing - This a toss-up some grillers will use this and some won't. Nice for caramelizing a steak or chicken.

  • Side Burner - Heating baked beans on a side burner is more convenient than splitting the cooking between the grill and the kitchen.

  • Cooking Alarm - Set a timer and listen for the alarm when it is time to check on the burgers.

  • Smoke Box - You can buy this as an add-on later, most grillers don't bother with one, though wood smoke is important for flavor.

  • Electric Charcoal Starter - Like a gas igniter, but for charcoal. Matches are just fine.

  • Web-enabled Alerts - Texts from your grill telling you to flip the steaks may be handy, but a bit of overkill.

  • Rotisserie - Great in principle, but difficult and time consuming in practice, most grillers ditch this after a few uses.
Steak Grilling

Gas vs: Charcoal BBQ Grilling

Okay, we said we wouldn't stick our nose in here, and we won't tell you which we think is best, but we will share some Pro's and Con's and also mention that gas grills have been out selling charcoal grills for years.

Gas BBQ Grills


  • Faster from lighting to ready to grill
  • Consistent heat and grilling
  • Cleaning burning
  • Faster cooking
  • Easier clean up


  • More expensive initial cost
  • Less flavorful

Charcoal BBQ Grills


  • More flavorful cooking
  • Less expensive initial cost
  • Less equipment to malfunction
  • More flavorful, yeah we repeated ourselves, because it is the most important detail about charcoal


  • Takes longer to get up to temperature
  • Slower cooking
  • Inconsistent heat
  • Requires greater grilling skill
  • More clean-up than with gas
  • More smoke and particulate matter

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