Charcoal, gas, electricity, and pelletlet: Here's What Grill You Should Buy

Charcoal, gas, electricity, and pelletlet: Here's What Grill You Should Buy ...

Summer has come to an end, and that means itsgrilltime. Maybe it will require a deep cleaning. Make sure you get ready for a cookout or a low-and-slow barbecue session.

If not, perhaps you should consider buying a new grill. Although the landscape is constantly changing, and the wide debate about which grill is better has only grown more complex with additional options. It''s no longer about charcoal vs. gas.

Here are five of the most effective grill techniques you can choose from if you have little grill knowledge or are looking to replace your old one with a shiny new barbecue grill.

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If you use a torch or an electric starter, charcoal grills take a lot of time to get started.

The charcoal grill is often billed as a superior or more effective way to grill meat in all shapes and sizes. However, they all use charcoal briquettes (sometimes mixed with wood chips) as a fuel source, which gives a distinct, powerful and smoky flavor.

Cooking over charcoal is also an inherently slower process to prepare. Unless you ask for a high-octane charcoal starter, controlling the internal temperature of the grill is more difficult and less precise, and getting a charcoal grill up to cooking temperatures can take up to 20 minutes. And the process is also a bit more tedious. You can also use simple techniques to keep yourcharcoal grill cooking low and slow for hours on end.

Charcoal grills are usually quite affordable, starting at $30 and starting at $300. They also come in a variety of styles:

  • A brazier grill is an open-style grill you often see at parks.
  • Kettle grills are the classic round (sometimes square) grills on a tripod (usually with two wheels) and a lid. They often have a simple vent for controlling the internal temperature.
  • A barrel grill is, well, shaped like a barrel. The first versions were actually made from a 55-gallon barrel turned on its side and cut in half, lengthwise. Add a handle, hinge, bottom grate for holding charcoal, an upper grate for cooking and some legs, and you have a barrel grill. Of course, today, you can buy ready-made barrel grills.
  • Cart grills are the style you normally see sitting outside hardware stores these days, but only some of them are charcoal. Most cart-style grills are gas-burning grills.
  • Kamado grills are based on a Japanese rice cooker called the mushikamado. Its shaped similar to a kettle grill but is usually a deeper vessel and made of ceramic instead of metal. This insulates the heat which creates a more even cooking temperature throughout and burns the charcoal more efficiently. Theyre also big, heavy and rather costly with an entry-level price of around $500.
  • Portable grills are typically smaller, shorter versions of kettle grills that can easily be packed up and taken for a picnic or weekend in the woods.


The other most commonly used grill type is a gas grill. They usually come in a cart-style form factor or are constructed into a permanent outdoor cooking area with a varying number of burners.

Natural gas is cheaper to use (anywhere from half to one-sixth the price) and no longer runs out or needing to swap tanks halfway through cooking. With natural gas, your grill will become a permanent fixture. You will not be able to move it around at any time.

Liquid propane is still widespread and gives you the convenience of transportability. However, you may also need to anticipate or do some rough estimations to determine how much cook time you have left on your current tank. Fortunately, if you have a gas link attached to your house, you may be able to purchase a conversion kit for your current grill or so you can enjoy both types of gasoline.

Watch this: How to Clean Your Grill With a Safe Rule


The disadvantage of gas grills is ease of use and reliability. It takes not too long to ignite a gas grill, but instead turn on the gas, press the igniter, and wait for it to reach your desired internal temperature. Also, make sure you get a smoker box.

While there are countless models to choose from with nifty features (like side burners or a rotisserie spit), the primary point youll need to make when buying a gas grill is how many burners you will need. Gas grills generally start at $90 for two burners, but may vary from $1,000 to $1,000 for four- to six-burner grills.


Electric grills are generally more compact and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Think George Foreman grills, but there are a variety of designs and forms factors: countertop, pedestal, kettle, open face, cart, and more. One of the most popular electric grill options is a flat-top griddle with no lid.

Electric grills are the easiest to start by pluging them into a nearby outlet and turning the control knob. Unlike conventional grills, they can only move as long as their power cord will let them go. If you have a grill handy, youll need to move it or use an extension cord to bring the heat to the grill.

Electric grills are often great alternatives for apartment dwellers who aren''t permitted to cook with (or even store) a gas or charcoal grill on their balcony.

Electric grills start at around $50 and can cost upward of $600 for higher-end grills.


Pellet grills have existed for over 30 years, but have seen a resurgence in the last few years. Traeger is the best-known brand, but other companies have recently expanded into the fray. For example, the Weber Smokefire and Cuisinart are both relative pellet grill newcomers.

The grill will have a pellet hopper on the side of the grill, which you will fill with food-grade wood pellets. Then turn the power switch on and set a temperature. An auger connects the hopper to a burning pot under the cooking grate and moves the pellets into the burning pot.

The grill also has a hot rod inside that will ignite the pellets as they fall into the burn pot. Wood pellets provide you that hardwood smoked flavor. You may cook low and slow, making it the perfect middle ground.

You will have to be near a power source to use a pellet grill, which includes ashes to cleanse after each use.

Pellet grills usually come in barrel or cart-style models, although there are some exceptions to the rule. For example, some companies have begun making portable pellet grills. They are well-suited for use on the road or tailgating. The Asmoke Traeger Scout is also a popular pellet grill, which includes a $300 to $1,800 price.


Infrared grills are similar to those used in cart-style gas grills. In fact, they are usually powered by natural gas or liquid propane, but they may be combined with electric. The difference is in how they cook.

Instead of using radiant heat by warming the grill air, they employ an electric or gas element to heat a solid surface, like ceramic, that emits infrared waves to heat the food. A grill that is heatable and ready to use in just a few minutes and cooks evenly without flare-ups.

Not to mention, infrared grilling is fast. They can often reach temperatures of 700 degrees.

The true downside to infrared is the price. While premium infrared grills have increased to around $800, the vast majority will set you back $1,500 and beyond. Additionally, additional infrared options are beginning to hit the market, such as Philips Avance''s smoke-free indoor grill.

Choosing the right type of grill

With so many possibilities on the market, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on what youre cooking, the convenience youe after, your budget, and even where you live, choosing the grill will depend on your budget.

Infrared is released immediately. Charcoal is more expensive to use over time, since the briquettes must be replaced with each. Electric or gas are your best budget options for long-term use and entry level pricing. They are the most hassle-free with the least amount of cleanup.

For flavor, charcoal and pellet grills are generally accepted as the best alternatives, but they will require additional maintenance and running expenses. Plus, youll need time for your grill to get hot enough to begin cooking. With a pellet grill, you''ll basically get a two-in-one offer for a grill and smoker.

Regardless of your grill choice, it''s always a great excuse to get your favorite six-pack, a giant slab of meat, and invite a bunch of friends to test things out.

CNETs provides a clear outline of everything you need to know about grilling.

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