Having the right grill to cook your food on is very important because it can affect how it tastes and cooks. Whether you are a newbie or a pitmaster, whichever grill you decide to choose, each has their own pros and cons. Read on to see the types of grills that are out there, their pros and cons, and how they can be beneficial to your outdoor cooking.
A charcoal grill makes your food taste amazing thanks to the smoky flavor it naturally infuses into the food. Of course, if you’re relatively new to grilling, you can grill things like burgers, hot dogs, steaks, chicken with ease.
A charcoal grill is one of the least expensive grills you can buy because it doesn’t usually have anything extra with it. Some of them may have a temperature gauge on the hood, but otherwise it’s just a simple grill that grills food over a hot fire from charcoal briquettes. There are a couple easy ways to get the fire started. The first way is simply using lighter fluid with some newspaper. But sometimes the lighter fluid aroma may get into the food and you may not want that so there is an option of the chimney starter. You stack the coals together inside the chimney and you light up the coals from there with no chemicals which you probably want.
Types of Charcoal Grills
There are usually 4 different types of charcoal grills that you can choose from. They are the Standard, Kettle, Kamado, & Portable.
These grills are usually the same size as a standard gas grill. Except that you put charcoal in it. You can sometimes double as a smoker with these grills due to the size. Some have shelves, storage underneath and temperature gauges.
These charcoal grills are usually smaller, and you can bring them anywhere such as camping, beach or tailgating and more. They are very similar to the kettle design and they’re lightweight due to their portability.
A kettle is shaped like a bowl that has free air circulation when grilling food on it. Some kettle grills are on wheels, so that means they can be wheeled around to an area that you would like to BBQ. Usually there’s some kind of latch or hook where you can close the lid and make sure it stays closed while it’s grilling.
Kamado is usually made out of thick ceramic construction which means they’re excellent for heat retention (which we love). You can sometimes double as a smoker due to the Kamado’s ability to retain heat.
Charcoal Grills Pros and Cons
- More Heat: This is the biggest factor when grilling. Some grills can’t produce as much heat. But since you’re literally grilling over a bed of fire and hot charcoal coals, you’re guaranteed that heat. The average is around 500 degrees F (260 Celsius) with the hood down, but some designs can go all the way up to 700 degrees F (371 degrees Celsius) which is good for needing to sear food at high heat.
- Flavor: You can’t beat the taste of food that comes from charcoal grills due to the fact it’s over a fire and charcoal. The reason for this is because when the juices hit the charcoal, the charcoal vaporizes it and basically returns it to the food. Because the grill is already hot, it vaporizes the juices evenly, giving that delicious flavor.
- Inexpensive: Charcoal grills are inexpensive because they have fewer parts. It’s also less complicated as well and normally very easy to use. When you buy charcoal briquettes, you can usually store them in a dry place, and they usually last you for a while, whereas fuel, you’ll go through it much quicker and will be paying more.
- Not easy to start: It’ll take you a few tries or maybe some time on YouTube videos to figure out how to use a charcoal grill. We promise that using a chimney starter will make your life 100% easier and you’ll finally be grilling.
- Heat Control: You’ll have to learn how to control the heat once the fire is started. Having vents open means it will get hotter, while having it closed means the temperature will drop. You won’t always have 100% control of the heat like you would with the gas grills.
- Safety/Legal: It can be a bit dangerous especially dealing with a fire. You’ll need to be away from anything that is combustible, children and pets. For legal reasons, you can’t have a charcoal grill if you live in apartments due to close proximity.
This Weber grill is made out of U.S. grade steel on the exterior and porcelain on the interior. It is 32 x 24.4 x 42.3” and weighs 62 pounds. It controls heat by using the dampers and you can add more coals via the hinged door on its cooking grate. You get 508 square inches to cook on so that means you can probably grill large pieces of meat or at least 25 hamburgers if you wanted to on this grill. With this grill you have the option to do indirect cooking as it has two included Char Basket fuel holders.
There is a temperature gauge at the top of this grill, and it stands on 4 aluminum legs which means you can move it around if you want to. It’s the perfect charcoal grill that any family should have in their backyards.
Gas grills are actually the most popular type of grills sold. Why? It’s convenient. All you do is push the button and voila the grill is on. There are usually 1-5 knobs (depending on how many burners your grill has) so you have complete control of the temperatures. It’s usually easier to clean up since there’s no ashes (charcoal) to clean up.
Most gas grills run on refillable liquid propane gas cylinders (those 20 lb ones). When you turn on one of the burners, you will feel more at comfort knowing that it’s burning clean. While it doesn’t naturally give you that wood or smoky flavor, you can usually put a small aluminum box full of wood chips on the grill grates and it’ll help infuse the food with the flavor you wanted to have.
You’ll usually see two types of gas grills: Cart-Style and Portable.
These gas grills are usually on wheels and sometimes they come with extra features. You sometimes even get shelves and extra storage to store all of your BBQ utensils.
These gas grills are the types that you can bring anywhere. Some have shorter legs; some have foldable legs or a foldable cart.
Pros and Cons of Gas Grills
- Easy to use: It’s extremely easy to use a gas grill. All you do is literally turn a propane on and you push the button on the grill. That’s it.
- Quick Cooking Times: You can get your meals cooked quickly with gas grills as you don’t have to wait for it to warm up.
- Fuel: It’ll be expensive since you’ll have to buy propane tanks all the time. Unless you are one of those people who uses a gas line to their houses (make sure your grill is compatible with natural gas), it’ll be expensive.
- Taste: You won’t get that smoky BBQ flavor you’re looking for with gas grills. It’ll just taste like grilled food that’s it. You’ll need to go out of your way to try to infuse flavors to your food if you want that smoky flavor.
This gorgeous stainless-steel grill by Weber has 3 burners and it powers up to 60000 BTUS of combined input. For cooking space, you get 669 square inches and for the warming area, 156 square inches. There’s also an extra side burner so you can cook your veggies and etc. There’s an extra shelf and cabinet storage to store all your BBQ tools. This grill is I3 Grill compatible which means it can connect to your phone via an app (the I3 and probe is sold separately). It’s a great grill for anyone who wants a beautiful looking gas grill that has storage and space to grill lots of food.
Charcoal-Gas Hybrid Grills
These grills are becoming popular because a lot of people want that authentic flavor but don’t want the work of a charcoal grill. What’s great about it, you can speed up the cooking too, especially if you are short on time.
The combo grills usually have two separate sides with lids (one for charcoal, one for gas) that is combined. You could have something like steak cooking on the charcoal side (which is usually very hot, perfect for searing) and veggie kabobs on the gas side at the exact same time.
There are just one type of charcoal-gas grill and they’re usually just the full-size models.
Full Size Models
They look like a standard BBQ grill but when you open it up, you can see gas burners on one side, charcoal trays on the other side.
Pros and Cons of Charcoal-Gas Hybrid Grills
- Flavor: You can get that flavor you want from the charcoal side of this grill.
- Convenience: While achieving the flavor you want, you can grill even fast thanks to the gas part.
- Expensive: It can be very expensive to buy the grill itself, and to keep buying the gas for the grill. You also have to buy charcoal if you run out.
This gorgeous hybrid grill by Coyote is definitely one you’ll want to have if you have a large family/gathering. It’s made out of stainless steel and has 2 burners that emit 40,000 BTUs. It has 1200 square inches, that means you can cook for the whole neighborhood over and over. It has an adjustable height charcoal tray so you can control where the heat is. Keep in mind that this is a built-in grill, so you’ll need a cut-out to accommodate this grill as the dimensions are 50×25.5×25.5 (WxDxH). This is the perfect grill if you are looking to make your outdoor kitchen even more appealing.
Pellet grills are for the true pit masters. It cooks all the large pieces of meat, slowly. It’s also versatile, which means you can smoke, roast, braise, grill and bake on the same grill. These grills have an electric burner that can ignite food safe pellet woods easily.
Pellet grills usually have more features than any other grills. They can flavor your food just like charcoal can and there is a wide range of temperatures that you can control such from 160 degrees to 450 degrees. Some pellet grills have Wi-Fi connectivity so that you can monitor the temperature remotely if there is a reason why you can’t be near your grill.
Pros and Cons of Pellet Grills
- Little to no maintenance: All you do is just throw pellets in the hopper and when you are done, you can take out the hopper to empty it.
- Clean burning: You are using a food safe pellet for burning, so that means the smoke will be clean. Which is naturally good for the environment.
- Easy to use: All you do is push the electric ignition, put some pellets in the hopper and away you go. It’s that easy.
- Expensive: Pellet grills are usually very expensive due to the fact they have some sort of technology and are bigger than most grills.
- Needs Electricity: Pellet grills usually work on electricity, so you’ll need to be near an electrical source to have this grill working.
- Chance of component failure: There is a high chance of a component failing so you’ll want to make sure that you have a good warranty you can follow up on just in case.
The Traeger wood pellet grill offers up to 884 square inches for cooking and there is a 18 lb hopper included. You get 36000 BTU for power and the construction is made from powder coated steel so it’s super durable. With this grill, you can get a more precise temperature control and a digital pro controller on the outside that shows what’s the temperature is inside. This pellet grill is on wheels, so you can wheel it anywhere you would want to BBQ. The Traeger Pro Series grill is great for cooking for a large family/crowd while having a party as you slowly cook your food.
Best for: Smaller places such as apartments, small patios, or where you’re not allowed to use either gas or charcoal grills.
Electric grills are the grills you can have in your apartments or anywhere you can’t have gas/fire. All you need is an electrical outlet and you’re set to go. The best part of electric grills is that you can use indoors if the weather is bad, which makes it worth considering. Most of the electric grills are small and portable, often used on tabletops.
Pros and Cons of Electric Grills
- Can be used indoors: There are no fumes or fires to worry about, so feel free to bring it inside if the weather is bad outside. Just make sure you’re near an electrical source.
- Portable: As long there’s an electrical outlet nearby, bring this grill anywhere you’d like as they’re usually smaller and portable.
- Expensive: The grills themselves are expensive because they’re made in a way where they don’t need gas or fire. Then you’ll have to use your own electricity which can cause higher electricity bills.
- Lack of Flavor: Because there is no fire or fumes, it means that there is no flavor that will come to the food, other than the seasoning you put on it. All you’ll get is the nice grill marks.
This Weber grill comes with a 6-foot cord that you can plug into any electrical outlet. It’s made out of aluminum and porcelain inside with cast iron cooking grates. You get about 280 square inches to cook on, just enough for maybe a meal for a small family. There is a removable grease pan that comes with this Weber Q so clean-up is a breeze. This grill is perfect for people who live where smoke/gas isn’t allowed, and they still want a BBQ either indoors or outdoors.
What Infrared grills have is an emitter plate that is above the grill’s gas burners. It basically absorbs the heat from the flames and emits the heat back to whichever food you’re grilling. In other words, evenly distributed heat and juicier foods. Because of this barrier, there are no flare ups that can ruin whatever food you put on these grills, making it perfect for steaks.
Infrared Grills Pros and Cons
- No Flare-Ups: There is an emitter plate that prevents flare ups specifically, so you’ll be able to sear fattier meat without that issue such as steaks.
- Easy to clean: Infrared grills are super easy to clean and maintain.
- Expensive: Infrared grills are expensive because they come equipped with the technology and such to prevent flare ups. They are more expensive than gas/charcoal grills.
- High temperatures: While this is great for searing steaks, you’ll have to be careful as these grills typically don’t have a low temperature setting.
The Blaze Premium has 684 square inches and is made out of stainless steel. The most notable feature about this grill is the rear infrared burner which can emit 10,000 BTU (the entire grill 70,000 BTU). This grill also has a flamer tamer that helps minimize the flare ups, so if you have fattier cuts of meat to cook, this is the grill for you. The other feature we like is, it has LED lights, shelves and storage underneath to put away your BBQ utensils. It’s a great grill to have if you want a grill that has next to no flare ups.
We have shown you 6 different types of grills that anyone can choose from. Consider which ones suit your needs the most and decide from there. We hope any of your questions surrounding the various types of grills available, if not, be sure to comment below and we’ll do our best to answer it for you!