Some Basic Things to Consider When Buying Gas Grills
I've been looking at gas grills lately. It is amazing how many different varieties and price points there are. You can literally spend thousands of dollars on one of these behemoth units with all the bells and whistles, or you can opt for a simple one that cooks the food (according to some) just as well. But I'm not here to argue about that. If you want to spend yourself silly, please be my guest. However, I do have to admit that to a certain extent, you do get more even cooking out of the nicer units. Okay, that being said, let's take a look at these grills to see some of the design features you may want to consider when deciding what to purchase.
If you have been using charcoal briquets then you are in for a real treat. The obvious nice thing about gas grills is that they give you nearly instant heat. No more waiting for charcoal to heat up. No more smelly lighter fluid to spill all over the place. No more ash dropping all over your patio or deck. And no more uneven and over hot cooking temperatures to have to worry about. Going with gas is clean, efficient, and an absolute delight to use.
Gas grills that offer a large enough cooking surface are a must have. I would not even bother buying a small one. Anything you can cook on a small one will cook just as quickly on a large one, but not just anything you want to cook on a big one can be done on a small one. See where I am going with this? There isn't much of a price difference between the two options either. Unless you are only cooking for one or two people, and never cook for friends or family, do yourself a big favor and get a grill that is plenty big.
Work surfaces that come as a standard feature on most gas grills are an important, but sometimes overlooked part of the whole grilling adventure. Don't forget to really consider the size of the surfaces when looking at grills. You will need something that is at least large enough to set a plate on. Preferably, you will find yourself a grill that has a large enough table section to easily accommodate a cookie sheet sized tray. I can't tell you how often I have found myself trying to set a large tray, the salt and pepper, a drink, and my cooking utensils on the work surface and wishing I had more room.
Quality gas grills are made out of heavy gauge metal. Stay away from the wimpy ones. The thick, quality, lids are going to last you much longer, help retain the heat so your food cooks more quickly and more evenly, and have a nice heft and feel to them. You want to enjoy your grill, after all, and how it looks and feels matters.
Gas grills sometimes include a side burner. I don't use mine much, but many people find this to be an exciting and useful feature. Just another thing to watch for and think through. Enjoy the buying process and remember to consider how you intend to grill.