Author: Dominic Trimboli
When it’s time to upgrade the family grill it can be a bit overwhelming to determine exactly what you need, and how much you should be spending. We’ve all heard the horror stories of friends buying what they thought was the best grill on the market, only to find out their expensive 24-in-1 grill is a hunk of junk once the excitement wears off.
With nearly a decade of experience, the staff at Grilla Grills know exactly what makes an exceptional grill that will withstand the elements and the test of time. Read on to learn the difference between the three main fuel sources, how to choose which grill style works for you and some additional info about taking your gear camping and tailgating!
What Fuel Source to Use?
The first step to choosing your grill is deciding the type of cooking you want to do. If you’ve recently been to a hardware or big box store, you may have noticed that they seem to be jamming as many styles of cooking as possible into a grill. Unfortunately, even with all those gadgets most people quickly find that a grill that calls itself a jack of all trades is actually a master of none.
To simplify everything for you, we’ve broken down the three main fuel sources below. See the pro’s and con’s of each and decide for yourself which style works best.
Pellet Grills and Smokers
Pellet grills burn tiny, compressed pellets of hardwood in an internal burn pot that is maintained by a digital controller you can adjust on the fly. These are generally used for lower temperatures but are absolutely capable of reaching upwards of 450-500F. Pellet grills are ideal for people that want great food without having to put forth a lot of effort. The controller of the pellet grill will ignite the fire, regulate the temperature, monitor alarms or timers you set and even enact safety measures should an issue arise. The only thing you do is prep the food, toss it on the grill and remove it when the timer goes off!
· Automatic Fire Tending
· Extremely Durable
· Built-in Safety Features
· Ability to control grill from phone
· Easiest grill to use
· Precision control of temp
· Even cooking throughout chamber
· Requires Electrical Connection
· Longer time to get to high temps
· Cannot set above 500F
· Slightly more upkeep than other grill styles
If you’re looking for a great example of a pellet grill, check out the Silverbac Alpha Connect. This is Grilla Grills flagship Pellet Grill model and is tailor-made for people who like to entertain the whole family, and still cook incredible food at the same time. The Silverbac stands out among competitors with stainless steel construction where it matters most, an industry leading controller with exclusive features and dual-wall insulation to ensure your grill performs how it should even in the dead of winter. The best part is that Grilla Grills stands by every grill they sell with a phenomenal warranty and outstanding customer service.
Gas Grills & Griddles
The most common grill style is gas grills, which burn compressed gases (usually propane) to produce flames. You manually control the grill by turning the knobs on the front and there’s often no way to set it to a specific temp. While gas grills are the pinnacle of simplicity, they do have a few drawbacks you won’t see in other grill types.
Gas grills will cook your food the fastest and can reach temperatures that a pellet grill simply can’t compete with. If you like to sear steak, grill burgers and crank through a ton of food for large groups of people then this is the grill style for you.
· Easy to light
· Can achieve high temperatures quickly
· Keep their high temperatures steady and sustained
· Lots of available accessories like removable grill grates
and replacement griddles
· No fuel cleanup
· Can hook up to the natural gas coming from your home
· Simple to use
· Gas has no inherent flavor
· Gas grills don’t smoke the food
· Gas grills don’t perform well at lower temperatures
· Foods might not cook as evenly
· It can be difficult to control the temperature
· Gas Grills require constant monitoring
· No built-in safety features
The Primate Grill and Griddle is constructed of heavy-duty stainless steel from top to bottom. It comes standard with two separate cooking surfaces allowing you to switch between classic grates, or a seasoned steel griddle. This behemoth of a grill has nearly 500sqin. of cooking space and pumps out 15,000 btu through each of its 4-burners. You can use the griddle in the morning for eggs and hashbrowns, then throw on the grill grates in the afternoon for burgers and hotdogs. Take it a step further and get the 2/3 Griddle attachment to cook with open flames and indirect heat at the same time!
Lump Charcoal Kamado Grills
If you think nothing beats the taste of a burger cooked over charcoal, then a Lump Charcoal Kamado grill is exactly what you’re looking for. Kamado grills are incredibly versatile, able to hold stable low temperatures for hours or reach upwards of 800F for searing steak and making pizza. This flexibility comes with a tradeoff though, you will need to spend a significant amount of time learning how to best ignite, adjust and monitor the firepot on your own. Fortunately, that extra effort will pay off as Kamado grills provide outstanding smoke flavor in the hands of an experienced smoker.
· Lump charcoal is often less expensive than gas
· The smokiest flavor
· Many accessories available
· Provides the largest range of temperature
· Can cook with direct or indirect heat
· With regular maintenance ceramic kamado grills will have the longest lifespan of any type of grill
· Take the most time to light and get up to temperature
· Takes the most time to cool down
· Very heavy
· Need a fairly large amount of space to use
· Can be very messy, require lots of ash cleanup
· Significant learning curve to overcome
· Wind conditions significantly effect performance
The Kong is an ideal example of a kamado grill, combining a classic ceramic cooker with modern hardware to ensure it lasts for years. It has a stainless-steel nest and fittings for the best in durability and an easy open spring-loaded lid hinge for safety. It even has real bamboo handles and side tables that stay cool during use to keep you comfortable.
Camping or Tailgating: Taking Your Grill on the Road
Grills for camping and tailgating have come a long way in the last few years and it’s finally easy to get great food on the road by bringing a little extra gear with you. Whether you’re a pellet smoker, gas grill lover or kamado grill enthusiast there’s an option for you to bring your grill where you need it.
If pellet grills are your preferred style then check out a tailgater pellet grill like the Chimp. Weighing in at roughly 90lbs this pellet smoker can be used in nearly any conditions. Either leave it in tabletop mode on your tailgate or fold out the four legs and allow it to stand on its own. Simply hook up the Grilla Grills 300W Power Station and you’re ready to start smoking anywhere.
If you’ve got a kamado grill you might think there’s no way to take it with you on the road, but Grilla Grills has solved that problem. The All-Terrain Kamado Cart is tailor made for people who want to take their competition worthy grill on the road. While it was made specifically for the Kong it works for dozens of other kamado grill brands as well. With its heavy-duty 14-gauge steel frame, all-terrain legs, extra-wide base and 8-inch solid rubber wheels you can easily maneuver your heavy ceramic grill over dirt, gravel, sand and grass.
While gas grills are the easiest of the three styles to take on the road with you, they aren’t a great choice if you plan to use it often. A small gas camping grill will cost roughly $50-$100 and will be able to do simple grilling like burgers, brats and steak. While it’s nice to have a low-cost option, unfortunately that means these grills often can’t withstand heavy use. If you plan to use your camping grill on a regular basis, you may want to look toward a tailgater pellet grill.
Evolve your Backyard with a BBQ Island
Over the last few years homeowners have started to overhaul their back deck turning them into luxurious outdoor kitchens. Not only are they gaining a great place to spend time with friends and family, they’re increasing the value of their home at the same time. Fortunately, now Grilla Grills is offering a build-your-own style of outdoor kitchen allowing you to avoid going through costly contractors charging upwards of $10,000.
Start with a grill base for a pellet smoker, kamado or gas grill then add on the extra pieces you want. Whether you want to add a sink and fridge, some extra storage, more counter space or corner pieces to form an L-shape it’s all up to you. Get more information on Grilla’s modular outdoor kitchens here.