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The Home Essentials

BBQ Barbeques Buying Guides

It rarely matters what time of year it is, most people really enjoy a good barbecue. This means that a reliable barbecue is required. The big question then is what kind of barbecue is best. For example, the most common types are:

  • Portable BBQ
  • Gas BBQ
  • Camping model
  • Affordable model
  • Charcoal BBQ

While almost any barbecue will suffice, truly optimal results can be enjoyed when the most appropriate model is used. For example, while it is always best to use a full-sized gas grill when cooking at home, when you are travelling, at the beach, camping, or unable to afford a larger model, it is just fine to rely on a camping grill or a smaller portable model.

The primary differences between any model of barbecue will be the type of fuel used for the cooking. For the most part, it boils down to gas or charcoal. For the portable or camping varieties there are small jugs of gas readily available, and larger tanks for the standard units. The charcoal models can burn other fuels, such as specialty chips, and will end up actually costing more to operate than any gas grill.


The Factors to Consider

When you are about to invest in a barbecue it can become frustrating to figure out which one is the best for your needs. There really are a lot of things that enter the equation, but the first thing to consider is the type of cooking system that works best for you and your food preferences.

For example, though we all enjoy a crackling fire, charcoal is not always that easy to control or to get the best results with. Gas barbecues, on the other hand, have burners that provide controlled levels of heat, and some have several burners that can create different cooking zones. They tend to light easily and keep the cook safe from harm or risk, and most feature easy to use dials that adjust the temperatures and output.

Additionally, many gas grills control the fat that sizzles off during cooking too, and this tends to make them much easier to keep clean and sanitary than charcoal models. In addition to the cooking system, a buyer has to look at the solidity of the barbecue too. Most free- standing gas grills are made from durable materials and designed to withstand outdoor conditions. They will be covered with stainless steel and use baked enamel grills that are both easy to clean and durable.

Gas grills also tend to come with a lot of handy features such as side burners, cabinets for storage, warming areas, food prep areas, thermometers, and even rotisserie features. This makes them outdoor kitchens rather than simply an alternative cooking surface.

Now, all of these things apply strictly to the free-standing gas grills, and not necessarily to the camping, travel, or portable models. These are truly specialty barbecues that are meant to be used for specific types of cooking. They are usually the "pack and go" types that can be toted easily for a day at the beach or a weekend of camping. They are also perfect for sporting events or other outdoor gatherings.

The Costs

There are some special considerations when you start to explore the costs of the various barbecues. For example, you don't want to invest a large amount in a grill that is to be used only on specific occasions, and yet you don't want to buy a cheap system that cannot provide safe and effective cooking.

Additionally, when investing in a free-standing grill you don't want to skip out on features that you really will need in order to keep the costs down as well. For example, if you go with something like a kettle charcoal grill because you just don't want to invest in a far more costly gas grill, you won't have the adjustable controls, the side burner, and the food prep area. As we already mentioned, the cost of charcoal or other bricks can end up being far more than the cost to purchase the gas grill as well.

So, don't allow costs to dictate your choices. Instead, make a list of the different times you will use the grill. Will it be daily, weekly, seasonally? Consider how much time and effort you are willing to commit to upkeep. What materials will best meet these needs? 

Then consider how much you are willing to invest in operating that grill. If it is only an occasional use, it may be fine to go with charcoal and the more exotic wood chips that flavour your foods. If it is almost daily, you will have to consider a gas grill that is economic and remarkably easy to clean.

If you are torn between choices, we recommend a free-standing gas grill for regular use and a portable charcoal barbecue for those special events.