Summer time is made for outdoor enjoyment and an increasing number of people are investing in outdoor entertainment spaces for their homes. Beautiful decks, elaborate patios, or just some refreshing outdoor furniture in the back yard can bring great value and usefulness to your entertainment area and sets the stage for some truly excellent summer get-togethers. The centerpiece of these fun and carefree events is almost always the grill, but what grill should you choose to complement your backyard paradise? Is the price of higher end grills really worth the cost? We’ll take a look at some of the options and see what you really need to make your backyard space shine.
Throw Away Grills
Let’s face it, if something is cheap, there’s usually a reason. Shopping at the big-box stores for an entry level grill might get you through the summer, but you’re not getting a machine that’s going to last. Grills are exposed to a lot more environmental stress than the average household appliance, from extreme temperatures to wind, rain, and insects, the right grill has to be able to stand up to a lot, and frankly most of these lower end grills are not built for the task.
Low-end grills are generally made from aluminum, stainless steel, or cast iron. It is pretty safe to say that all of us know that aluminum grills are not the most sustainable way to BBQ. Rust and corrosion are serious issues for the aluminum grill, and even with exemplary care, this type probably will not last very long.
Unfortunately you have to be very careful with stainless steel as well. Many cost efficient grills will use a lower grade stainless steel produced in a foreign country where legal standards are a bit more lax. This results in a steel grill that, while it proclaims to be stainless, is actually quite likely to rust in a short duration. Keep in mind that over time smoke from the grill will combine with water to make a weak form of acid that will slowly eat away at a weaker material.
Cast iron components aren’t necessarily a problem, although they do need more care than high quality stainless steel parts. Much like a cast iron pan, you will need to keep cast iron grill parts seasoned with oil to protect them from the elements. This may be more work than you are looking for, but if paired with other inferior parts, it can turn your fun grilling afternoon into a frustrating struggle.
Since low-end grills aren’t manufactured to last, you can’t expect much help when the inevitable happens and you start to have problems. Unfortunately the quality of grill that could most benefit from a solid warranty program usually does not offer one. In this case you really are getting what you pay for.
Inexpensive grills are appealing at first, but the poor craftsmanship will end up costing you more in the long run. Saving for a better quality grill now will save you a number of expensive purchases down the road.
Mid-class grills, while still affordable, offer you a much higher quality product. Companies like Napoleon Grills have a higher standard of quality and will allow you to have a better grilling experience than a bargain basement machine.
At this level, you can expect stainless steel grills and sometimes porcelain coated burners, with a combination of other materials. This will provide even heat to your cooking surfaces and prevent rust and the elements from damaging your outdoor kitchen. Mid range grills are built with a better grade of stainless steel (304 stainless is the best) and are thus better able to stand up to moisture and smoke.
You will also see more options and versatility at this level of grill. A larger grilling area, from 360 square inches to 400 square inches typically, will allow you to get everything from hotdogs to steaks lined up and ready for summertime. You will also find the option for side burners, which can be a great help depending on your grilling style. These burners can be great for making sides, vegetables, and sauces without having to run back and forth between the grill and the kitchen, leaving you with more time to spend with your family or guests. Some grills also offer ceramic searing plates in this class as well as entry-level rotisserie systems.
The makers of mid range quality grills will stand behind their products far more than Lowes or Home Depot, so if you do encounter problems you have far better options than throwing it away and buying a new one next year.
For the true outdoorsman, a high-end grill like Delta Heat or Twin Eagles Grills offers great functionality and up to a lifetime of reliable use. If you want your outdoor living space to really shine, a luxury grill will bring it, and your cooking, to the next level. Whether you choose a stand alone cart or a built in grill model, it will enhance the overall look of your space. A high quality grill reinforces the atmosphere of a luxurious outdoor living area for your family and guests.
In addition to high quality stainless steel and reliable parts, high-end grills come with long term, sometimes even lifetime warranties. There will be no tossing it in the dump at the end of the season with this grill. This kind of high-end system will stay with your family for many years. If cleaned and maintained properly, a quality grill could last you up to 50 years. Since every grill has its own quirks, this long-term warranty will give you time to know your grill inside and out, letting you cook the best possible food for your style and tastes.
Quality grills also offer you a wider variety of specialization options to fit your exact grilling needs. Whether you need side burners for the sides and sauces, a warming box for when you want everything to come out at the same time, interior lighting, or even separate rotisseries for a next level experience in outdoor dining. You can even find a grill system with a refrigeration section so you can keep all your ingredients fresh and close at hand, or keep a steady stock of cold drinks available for the grill master.
In this class your grill will likely be constructed completely of 304 stainless steel as well as have a ceramic radiant heating system, resulting in a cooking area that will heat your food more evenly, avoiding the dreaded situation where your meat is burned on the outside and raw on the inside. Steady, even heat will bring out the best flavors and avoid the dangers of raw food and the temperamental flare ups that often occur with your throw-away. Also, you will not have to close the hood to keep the heat high, which actually results in baking, not grilling your food. Higher end grills usually come with a greater degree of control as well, letting you choose the best temperature for your grill at any given time. If you have a custom idea for your grill to make it the best option for you, many high-end grill manufacturers will work with you to ensure that you get the grill of your dreams with all the functionality you need.
Choosing a mid range or higher end grill may be intimidating at first, but your investment will pay off for many summers to come. You may not need all the bells and whistles of the best available grill, although it would surely be fun, but you do need a product that is going to stand up to the test of time and serve its purpose well. Invest in a grill made with quality materials that is backed by its manufacturer with a generous warranty to get the best product for your money. Buying a luxury grill is simply a lifestyle choice. Grilling can be performed on a throw away grill of course, but the cooking experience, the durability, and the taste of your final product supersedes every notion that you could just purchase another grill next summer.