There's nothing that says summer quite as much as a backyard barbecue. Whether it's just you and the family, or you invite the whole neighborhood, it's one of the best ways to spend a summer afternoon.
But, while the barbecue itself and the company you have is a big part of the experience, it can only be made better by choosing the best barbecue and grilling equipment. As they say, it's all about having the right tools for the job. here's what you need to know about choosing the right grilling equipment for your next summer BBQ.
In This Case, Size Does Matter
The first thing you need to consider when choosing grilling and cooking tools, is that size is a factor. When you are grilling for a crowd, you want to avoid having to cook in multiple different stages. So, you want a grill that is big enough to accommodate all the food you're cooking.
The Traeger Ironwood Series 885 Pellet Grill has 570 square inches of cooking space on the bottom grill and 315 square inches on top, so it can cook a lot of food at the same time – and keep even the biggest BBQ party crowd happy!
The Traeger Pro 780 has about the same cooking area (only about 100 square inches shy on top) and is a little cheaper if you want a budget friendly option.
Choose the Right Fuel
The next thing you need to consider when shopping for your next grill, is the type of fuel you want to use.
Some grills like Weber grills use charcoal briquettes as fuel. This gives you a natural smoky flavor to your food, and burns clean a hot. Others like Traeger grills and Traeger smokers use pellets which burn quickly and also provide smoky flavor.
if you don't like a lot of smoke on your BBQ, there's always an option to get a gas grill. Or you could go for a hybrid model that works with more than one type of fuel. gas grilling doesn't give you the smoky flavor that you get from charcoal or pellets, but it is extremely convenient in that you can go from zero to grilling in a matter of minutes.
This Pit Boss Memphis Ultimate 4-in-1 Gas & Charcoal Combo Grill with Smoker is one of the best all round outdoor cooking investments you can make. It will cook almost anything using nearly any fuel you can think of to absolute, lip-smacking perfection.
Add Some Flavor
Grilling meat and other foods undoubtedly adds a flavor all its own, but it’s not enough to make your BBQ the stuff of legend. You’re going to need to add some flavor of your own to take things to the next level.
You have several choices when it comes to flavoring for your BBQ cooking.
You can choose a dry seasoning, like this Swine Life Mississippi Grit Championship All Purpose Barbecue Seasoning 16 oz. Coat the food you’re seasoning with a little mustard or mayo before you sprinkle it liberally on every side and then grill.
Or you could use either a store bought or home-made marinade or BBQ sauce to do the job. Remember that marinades need to be left for a few hours or overnight to soak into the food, but you can brush a BBQ sauce on while you’re cooking.
Another great option to add flavour to your grilling is to use smoking chips. These turn even a run of the mill gas grill into something that rivals the best Weber smokers and pellet smokers. All you need is a couple of aluminum pie plates with some holes in the top one, and a bag of B&B Apple Wood Smoking Chunks 549 cu. in. Soak the pellets for a couple of hours before you load up the pie plates, and put them directly over a burner to create a whole lot of tasty smoke.
Having the right grill, using the right kind of fuel, and flavoring your food right is a good start, but you need a few tools to do a really great job of grilling and outdoor cooking. Some of the best include:
* A flat metal spatula that is large and strong enough to flip your burgers with ease
* A pair of strong BBQ tongs that you can use to move food around on the grill
* A nonmetal wire brush or grill scraper – this is very important for safety! Metal brush bristles can break off and lodge in food, which is very dangerous if eaten!
* A set of metal skewers that you can use to make kabobs
* A fish grill, that clamps fish between two metal grids and holds it together so you can turn whole fish easily on the grill
Grill and Smoker Combo Options
Sometimes, when you can’t choose which kind of BBQ you want to get, the best option is to choose a combination grill and smoker. These allow you to cook with or without smoke, using a variety of fuel types. They’re usually fairly roomy units, so you can fit a lot of food on them and feed a crowd, and they usually have useful features like thermometers that you can use to make sure your food is cooking at the ideal temperature. Here are a few options from the best combination grill and smoker manufacturers:
Louisiana Grills LG700
A roomy combination smoker and grill from Louisiana grills, with nearly 500 square inches of cooking and grilling room on the bottom grate and 210 square inches on top. This grill can get up to 600 degrees, which is more than hot enough for any kind of cooking you want to do. It’s on wheels too, so it’s easy to move around the backyard as needed.
Pit Boss 1000 Traditions
A large, well-made smoker and grill combo from Pit Boss. This model has nearly 700 square inches of cooking space on the bottom grill and 360 on top, so it’s got space for cooking or grilling nearly anything that happens to be on the menu.
It gets up to 500 degrees, which isn’t the hottest out there but will certainly get the job done right, and it has a set of large wheels that allow you to move the unit around wherever it needs to be.
Weber SmokeFire EX6
You can’t talk about smokers or grills without talking about Weber, and the SmokeFire EX6 is about as good as it gets.
It offers nearly 650 square inches of cooking space on the bottom grill and 360 square inches on the top grill. It has wheels for easy movement, and even connects to the propriety Weber grilling app. So, you can get all your grilling information on the fly!
Choosing the Right Grill Is Part Art, Part Science, and Part Preference
The truth is, when it comes to grills and cooking tools, some people already know what they want. They will go to the store with the goal of buyi9ng Traeger grills, Traeger smokers, Weber grills, Weber smokers, Pit Boss Grills or Louisiana Grills.
If you already know what you want, the decision is a lot easier, because you only have to worry about which model to choose.
But if you’re like most of us, you’ll spend hours in the store, flip flopping between different smokers, pellet grills, pellet smokers and more. So, it’s best to stick to the basics, which are:
1. What is your budget? You should never buy a grill you can’t afford, but you should also buy the best one you can. You will be using your grill for several years, so you want something that’s going to do what you need for as long as possible.
2. What do you like to cook? If you love to smoke everything, then your choice is easy – a smoker. Likewise, if smoke is not a big deal for you, you could get a regular grill and use smoking chips when the urge arises.
3. Go slightly bigger than you think you need. Unless you’re routinely feeding the whole block, you want to have something that’s small enough for when it’s just your own family, but big enough when you have guests too.
4. Don’t forget about style! Sure, basic black looks great, but there are also smokers, grills, and other types of BBQ out there that come in bright, vibrant colours. So don’t commit to plain black until you’ve seen all the options.
5. When in doubt, choose a brand name. Brand names don’t always matter, but this is one area where they do. The best grill brands have many years of research, trial and error built in, so they usually give the best results. They’re also usually made better than cheaper options, and they might even come with a warranty.
Summer is grilling season. It might not be here just yet, but it’s just around the corner, so it might be time to start looking for the perfect smoker or grill for your backyard.
Article last updated at: 02/27/2022