The smells and flavors of seared, fire-kissed meat, with the waft of smoke in the air is something that people have craved since ancient times. Indeed, it would be hard to find someone who doesn’t love or at least appreciate grilled food.
Many people who rent or buy their first home write up a list of things they will need to buy when they move in. A lot of these lists have “Grill” right up near the top.
If you don’t have a lot of grilling experience it might be hard to sort out which grill is best for you. Many first-time grill buyers fear “Buyers Remorse” when considering an expensive unit. Yet cheaper grills often leave you frustrated with inferior quality equipment.
Look For Established Brand Names
One of the best ways to hedge your bets against grill buying remorse is to start shopping through well-known, established brand names. These are the giants in the industry, and they’ve earned their reputation by offering quality units to meet just about every need.
Do you pay for the name? With clothing manufacturers and a lot of other consumer brands you sometimes do pay a lot of money for the name. This is true to some degree with grill manufacturers. Though established grill manufacturers realize that they need to attract new customers, and they value future customer loyalty, by offering quality grills for beginners.
Some of the largest names in the industry include Weber, Char-Broil, Broil-King, Napoleon, Coleman, Cuisinart, Char-Griller, Dyna-Glo and Blackstone. Though there certainly are a few others that are worthy of your time. Including niche manufacturers like Traeger wood pellet grills and smaller grill manufacturers who are enjoying strong growth like Pit Boss, Masterbuilt, Smoke Hollow, Royal Gourmet, and PK Grills.
Which Is A Better Grill For Beginners Charcoal Or Gas?
Charcoal versus gas is perhaps the oldest argument in grilling history. To really sort through which one is best for a beginner, we need to take a quick look at the pros and cons of each.
Charcoal has a deep tradition and is vaunted for the smoky fire-kissed flavor. It also tends to take longer to get the fire started. Beginners who use lighter fluid, instead of a charcoal chimney sometimes complain about tasting the fuel in the food. There also tends to be more cleanup with charcoal grills. Not to mention the fact that the fire needs to be completely put out before disposing of the ash, or you face a very serious fire safety risk.
Kettle-style charcoal grills are seen as a rite of passage for some. Though barrel grills and box-shaped charcoal grills with a friendly price point still deserve consideration.
Best Charcoal Grills For Beginners
With gas grills, most beginners start out propane, which is available in portable tanks. A grill with a built-in igniter system lets you push a button or twist a knob to fire it up. Some larger gas grills with independent controls let you create dual heat zones for grilling different foods at their perfect temperatures. This is great for making hot dogs on one side of the grill on high heat and bone-in chicken over low heat on the other side of the grate.
Electric Grills For Beginners
Of course, the itch for grilled food extends to more than people who rent and buy homes. To that end, grill manufacturers have done their best to offer some high-quality electric grills for people who live in apartments, condos, and townhomes where grilling on the deck or patio is expressly forbidden.
These grills and indoor electric cooking appliances are typically pretty easy to use, and most come with the kind of reasonable price point to insulate a beginner against buyer’s remorse. The famous George Foreman line of electric grills tends to be what people think of the most, but there are certainly other quality manufacturers in this niche that deserve your consideration.
The Best Electric Grills For Beginners
There are some people who would argue that kamado grills should be lumped into the charcoal grill category. There are even a few who would call them smokers. Still, there are enough kamado grills out there to give them their own niche category. Just bear in mind that quality units do tend to have a higher price tag. So, they are definitely an investment, but they have a tried and true history behind them.
Kamado grills can trace their roots over three thousand years to ancient China where they were used as earthenware ovens. Over the centuries they have been upgraded and given special materials by grill manufacturers. Some of which come from well-known names, while there are some manufacturers who specifically make only kamado grills.
Most use double thick ceramic walls which maximize and refract the heat produced by a relatively small charcoal fire at the bottom. Most are capable of very low temperature for doing things like smoking ribs and chicken drumsticks. Yet you can also dial them up to very hot temperatures for searing things like steaks, hamburger patties, and bratwursts. With a cordite stone or cast iron plate, you can even use them to make pizzas.
The ceramic construction spares kamado grills from the rust and corrosion issues that sometimes kill steel charcoal grills before their time. The lid seals and easy to adjust dampers also make them very thermally efficient, which in the long run can save you some significant money against the cost of charcoal.
So, while they are a slightly more serious investment than say a charcoal kettle grill, kamados are very versatile. If you happen to be in a place where you can splurge a little bit with your budget, a kamado grill is the sort of thing that can grow with you over the years.