The days are getting longer, the sun is shining brighter, and the weather is staying warmer. These types of days with bright sunshine only mean summertime is fast approaching. This means plans for many pool parties and cookouts. Before you send out the party invites for your big party cookout, you need to make sure all of your equipment, like your grill, is in working order.
Also, if you do not have a grill and financially are ready to move forward with this purchase, it is better to be completely up-to-date with the best options out there.
There are many different types of grills, including:
- Charcoal grills
- Pellet grills
- Gas grills
- Open style grills
- Rotisseriie style grills
- Smoker grills
- Campfire grills
- Electric grills
- Portable grills
- Hybrid grills
- Microwave grills
They all serve different purposes, and the one you choose depends on your particular needs and preferences.
There are several factors to consider when purchasing your grill. The amount of space you have to use and store it will be one of the primary components and the number of people you plan to cook for. The second component is going to be the amount of time you wish to spend cooking in addition to the kind of experience you have with barbecuing. Finally, the last component will be the style of grill you want.
Table of Contents
- Various Types Of Grills
- 1. Charcoal Grills
- 2. Pellet Grills
- 3. Gas Grills
- 4. Open Style Grills
- 5. Rotisserie-Style Grills
- 6. Smoker Grills
- 7. Campfire Grills
- 8. Electric Grills
- 9. Portable Grills
- 10. Hybrid Grills
- 11. Planking
- 12. Microwave Grills
- Choosing The Right Grill For You
Various Types Of Grills
Everyone knows what a grill is, but they don’t all know the different types of grills. Therefore, we thought it was relevant to make a list to help explain so you know what to look for when you purchase your first grill or upgrade the one you have now.
1. Charcoal Grills
A charcoal grill is the most traditional type of grill and probably the first kind that someone thinks of when they hear the word barbeque. It uses charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid. The main attraction to this grilling style is the smoky flavor that it gives the food; however, it can use many resources if grilling in high quantities. Always keep extra charcoal and lighter fluid nearby just in case.
You can’t go wrong with a charcoal grill. It’s perfect for any occasion, and it’s pretty easy to use. You only need to make sure that you have charcoal, and of course, the flavored pellets if you want to add some flavor to your meat. The downside, however, is that you have to stand there and constantly watch your food. Cleanup can be messy as well.
When it comes to the charcoal grill, there are several different subtypes, such as the standard, kamado, and kettle style. We’ve broken it down a bit further for you below so you can understand the differences.
Standard Charcoal Grills
The standard grill is rectangular and has multiple heat zones that allow you to cook different foods simultaneously. It is made of a heavier metal to make sure the seal is tight to keep the heat in. they also come with cast-iron grates to offer better searing to the food. This is a large grill and ideal if you grill for a lot of people.
Kamado Charcoal Grill
Kamado means “stove” in Japanese, and these grills have been used for thousands of years in Asia. They have only increased in popularity over the past ten years. The kamado charcoal grill is known for its elongated egg shape. Even though it is similar to the kettle grill, it is made of ceramic and is much thicker and heavier. It is the most sophisticated type of charcoal grills.
This grill is the best option for year-round barbequing because the ceramic material it is made from can withhold its temperature. Since the kamado grill can weigh between 150 to 500 pounds, this is not ideal for versatility.
Kettle Style Charcoal Grills
This grill gets its name because it is in the shape of a kettle, where the bottom is rounded attached to a stand. The lid is removable, and inside the grill, there are two layers of grates. The lower one holds the charcoal and allows ash and debris to fall away and aiding to airflow for the heating charcoal. The top grates are, of course, where you would cook.
Kettle-style grills are small and compact. Because of their size, they are easily portable and use less charcoal than the average charcoal grill. They are highly resourceful that let you choose how hot and fast you want to cook your food. They also are expected to last a few years.
2. Pellet Grills
A pellet grill is a grill with a smoker adapted to it to add more quality cooking features. These grills have gained popularity over the past five years due to their convenience as well. You would load food-quality wood pellets into the hopper and place them in a burn pot. The burn pot and thermostat control the temperature and keeps it within your specified range. This means less time and monitoring with grilling for you.
It is a grill that requires electricity, so it may not be the best option for outdoor barbeques. Furthermore, some reviews state that it may not be the best at browning the meat the way you want despite how the manufacturer portrays the results of the grill. But regardless, the pellet grill is easy to use and pretty easy to clean. Even though it won’t brown the meat the way you want, it will pack the flavor into what you’re cooking.
3. Gas Grills
If you are the type of person that prefers to entertain their guests more than keeping up with the grill, then a gas grill would be a better option for you. It does not require handling charcoal and has less heat-up time than the other grills. Also, it can be cost-effective as you don’t constantly need to purchase lighter fluid and charcoal to run it. Not to mention, it’s convenient since you don’t need to plug it in anywhere and can grill your food anywhere.
The downside to a gas grill is that it can be dangerous if someone doesn’t know what they are doing when operating it. Ensure you read the safety manual or ask for help if you aren’t sure what to do. Like the charcoal grill, there are a few subtypes to the gas grill as well.
Natural Gas Grills
This type of gas grill is exceptionally fuel-efficient, so much that you can entertain a whole party without needed to refill. A natural gas grill has a gas line that runs to it, so once you decide on the grill’s location, it is not easily moved. Sometimes you may even need a professional to install the grill for you.
This type of grill has been around since the 1980s and uses radiant heat to cook the food instead of hot rising air. It eliminates the need for charcoal or wood and cooks your food quickly, thoroughly, and evenly. This is an ideal grill for high temperature but short timing grilling, like a thick piece of meat. It is too intense for veggies or fish.
Propane grills use propane gas, and they provide a more efficient grilling and barbecue system. This is because it has more energy than the other options. It not only heats up quickly but offers different types of cooking methods within the grill itself. You can choose indirect heating or multi-zone cooking. It is a simple as turning it on; of course, this does come with added costs than the natural gas option. However, propane is available almost anywhere.
4. Open Style Grills
This style of grill is effortless. It is a metal or stone box with an optional grate on the top. You can use charcoal, wood, or gas options, like propane. The food is positioned directly over the fire to cook it with direct high heat. This style of grilling has been adapted to be called table grills or flattop grills. You can find an electric form of this grill at any hibachi restaurant. It is perfect for quick cooking like steaks, fish, and vegetables.
The open-style grill is extremely easy to use, and there’s no temperature monitoring as you don’t have a lid that goes over the food. Moreover, it’s very easy to clean up once you’re done. The only downside to this style is that it’s open with no lid, which means that it can take some time to cook. Also, it can be a bit of a problem to get the fire going, especially if it’s windy, as there’s nothing there to protect it.
5. Rotisserie-Style Grills
Also known as spit-roasting, this style of grilling is where the meat is skewered on a spit. To cook the meat, a long solid rod is used to hold the food over a fire. The fire could be a fireplace, or there are some electric toaster ovens that have rotisserie attachment options. This process for cooking is used for large joints of meat or whole animals, such as pigs or chickens. The rotational aspect of a rotisserie grill helps cook the meat by continually basting the meat with its juices.
The rotisserie-style grill is the perfect way to slow-cook any meat that you can think of. However, it’s not your conventional style grill. So if you’re looking to throw a few steaks on, this is not the grill that you want. You would be better served to purchase a charcoal or gas grill instead.
6. Smoker Grills
A smoker is an ideal type of grill that allows you to cook your meat at low temperatures for an extended period of time. The smoker produces a lot of smoke around the meat for absorption. A good quality smoker does this efficiently. It also provides enough space to produce the amount of meat needed for a high fashion barbecue.
Most people use grill and smoker interchangeably; however, the smoker is a type of grill that you don’t ‘grill’ meat on. So, if you’re looking to have a full cookout with grilled meat, then a smoker is not for you. However, if you want to serve smoked meat, this is what you want to use. They are easy to clean, but not very portable (depending on the style). There are many different types of smoker grill options, so you will have to decide the best fit for you and your family.
This is a two-part smoker where the main cooking chamber is a metal barrel or box with a long grate on the inside and a lift door with a smokestack. Attached on one side is a firebox that has access from the top of the side with an adjustable vent. The firebox creates heat and smoke that enters the cooking chamber through a small tunnel that connects the two parts. The smoke then travels through the chamber and out the smokestack cooking your food.
For the smoker to work efficiently, the lids and seams have to have a tight seal. This will help airflow and be a solution to uneven heating. In some inexpensive smoker grills, the temperature can be more, almost 100 °F, near the firebox than on the opposite side of the grill.
Also known as block smokers and vault smokers, box smokers are simply a box with a heat source at the bottom with an area above for cooking. With the heat sources at the bottom, it conserves more heat and has a more controlled environment. It is an investment but is an excellent option for restaurants or caterers.
This type of smoker looks like your oven and works a little like your oven too. Even though you may think it belongs inside due to the smoke, it is still an outdoor grill. They have electronic controls to gauge temperature so you can work on other areas of the kitchen while your meat is smoking in a safe, controlled environment.
The oven smoker is insulated well and has an electric heating element at the bottom with a pan for the wood chips on top. Between the food and the element is a funnel to collect any drippings from the meat. This prevents fires as well as keeps your element clean.
Vertical Water Smoker
This is one of the most popular smokers on the market. They are inexpensive and easy to use. There are three compartments: the heat source, the water pan, and the smoking chamber. The heat source at the bottom uses charcoal that heats the water in the water pan. The water pan regulates the heat and provides a cooking environment in the chamber that will not dry out your meat. To run this smoker, all you need is a fire, water, and meat.
They are a smaller smoker, so they do not take up much room. They also are more efficient than larger smokers, so you will not waste fuel or power. This is the ideal smoker for someone who wants to try out smoking their food without making a considerable investment.
7. Campfire Grills
The campfire is not just for roasting marshmallows and singing campfire songs. It is the most traditional way to cook our food. People have been cooking food on a campfire for millions of years. It is an excellent place of warmth that everyone loves to gather around, so why not cook on it too. It is a very natural way as well to add a smokey flavor to your foods.
You can keep it simple by creating a brick fire pit and use a metal grate over the top. However, there are some more sturdy and reliable options like manufactured campfire grills. These are made to be placed over the fire, and either have a grate or hanging grate options. Regardless they come in many styles to fit your needs, as well as being portable.
You’ll want to ensure that the fire is under control before you try to cook anything on it. If the fire is too high, this will burn your food. There are no controls when it comes to campfire grills, so you’re back to the caveman-style grilling. This can be frustrating for some and exciting for others.
8. Electric Grills
If you are limited on space but want the benefits of a grill, an electric grill is the best solution for this. These are perfect for balconies or patios. The only thing that you will need is an electrical outlet since they do not require gas or pellets. The most advantageous feature of these is that they are tabletop, and because they do not create any fumes, they can be used indoors. They will cook your food evenly and quickly since it heats up fast; however, you will lose the chargrilled flavors without an active fire cooking your food.
Of course, this isn’t your regular ‘grill.’ If you want lots of flavor and browning, this grill will not provide that for you. However, if you’re more worried about convenience and portability, then an electric grill may be something that you want to look into. Pay attention to the features of each as they change drastically between models. Some focus on temperature control and Bluetooth capabilities, while others are very basic.
9. Portable Grills
If you are always on the go and enjoy camping or going to the beach, then a portable grill may be perfect for you. It is a grill that is highly popular with tailgaters due to the ease of moving it around. Some grills can be difficult to move, but portable grills are made to be packed up and moved around.
These grills come with different options for heat, either electric or charcoal. However, due to their portability, they are made much smaller than your average grill; therefore, they may not accommodate large parties.
Furthermore, if you get a portable grill on the cheaper side, the power at which it fuels may be disappointing. When choosing a grill like this, you’ll want to purchase one on the higher end and check to ensure it has the amount of power you want. Also, you will need to clean it thoroughly after every use as the muck can cause firing issues.
10. Hybrid Grills
This type of grill offers you the best of both worlds. It uses a gas starter to heat the charcoal. Therefore, you get the charcoal flavoring without the struggle of keeping it burning. Of course, when you get a luxury item, there are added costs to it. This grill is more expensive than your average grill, plus you would still have to purchase gas and charcoal together. But it’s worth it, at least we think!
The maintenance on a beast such as this is very high, so you can’t slack when it comes to keeping your grill clean. Also, the controls and dials can be a bit frustrating as you’re managing two fuel sources simultaneously. However, the way the meat tastes off of a hybrid grill is fantastic! It just really comes down to the budget for this one. If you can afford it, we say get it!
Plank grilling is where your food is cooked on a wooden board over an indirect heat source. This is better than the standard wood chip or pellets because the meat has direct contact with the wood. The flavor, of course, will differ depending on which wood you choose for your plank.
Fish is the most common type of food grilled by planking; however, you can grill any protein or vegetable this way. Just make sure to keep all meats separated and keep all veggies on one plank. The best and most popular wood to use is cedar, but you can also use cherry, hickory, or apple to add different flavors to your meat.
It can take a long time to plank grill your foods, and the temperature needs to be just right. However, if you grill a lot of fish or seafood, then this may be something you want to consider. It keeps the meat from drying out and leaves your fish tasting great.
12. Microwave Grills
Everyone has a microwave in their kitchen for the most part. Manufacturers are adapting their microwaves to include a grill function. These microwaves come with a metal shelf that was made specifically for the microwave function. Without the original shelf from the manufacturer, your microwave may spark and be a fire hazard.
With the grill function, the microwave uses electrons to heat the food. Using this function will cut down on prep time for meats and bread. This function will allow you to sear the food without losing too much flavor. Just remember, cooking times will vary for each microwave.
Another great appliance found in most kitchens is the convection oven. It has many different options for cooking, and grilling is one of them. The convection moves air and electrons to give the food more of a crispy appeal. It is a better option than the microwave as it is built for cooking rather than reheating or defrosting. It also has the added benefit of not only being indoors but maintain moisture and flavor.
Choosing The Right Grill For You
You want to think about two main things, along with the budget, when you are choosing a grill. Those are the size and the power. Below, we expand a bit more on those for you.
The size of your grill should be determined by the space in which you plan to store it. Some grills with larger cooking areas need a lot of space. Start with measuring the site you are putting the grill to make sure the grill you want will fit. Furthermore, how you plan to use the grill, whether for parties or single-family use, will also play a factor. Bigger is not always better.
If you are getting a grill for single meals, like steak or chicken, you do not need a grill with a big cooking area. In fact, meats cook better when close together because they share heat. However, if you add the rest of your meal, vegetables, or side dishes, you may need a larger grill. Likewise, if you plan on entertaining guests often and grilling many hamburgers, then the larger grill is the way to go.
The grill’s power is measured in British thermal units, or BTUs, which is the amount of output energy produced by the heat of the grill. Do not think that the higher the BTUs, the better the grill. Usually, the larger the grill is, the more BTUs that will be needed. The more BTUs that are used, the more resources to keep the fire cooking will be used. When deciding how much power you will need, compare grill specs side by side and how much cooking you will be doing.