Best BBQ Grills
We are confident that you know what braai, tandoor or asado are. The terms might be unfamiliar, but what if we put it this way – have you heard of barbecuing? The weird words from the first sentence are just different names for a barbecue around the world. Hell, we have at least a dozen BBQ styles only in America. It doesn’t come as strange that you are thinking about purchasing a grilling system for this purpose then. If the answer what best BBQ grills are is on your mind, let us help you with that.
We will help you select the most appropriate model depending on your needs, but we will also discuss what type of fuel is the best for barbecuing, as well as share some tips that will help you make the juiciest food.
Essential Tips for Barbecuing
Barbecuing is different than grilling because it takes time and effort. Grilling is a quick way to prepare a burger, but barbecue will give you that struck of juiciness that will get your mouth water. Let’s take a look at some tips that you should know if you are embarking on a BBQ adventure:
- Be patient – as we mentioned, barbecuing is a process that takes time. You want to preheat your unit before you arrange the meat on the cooking surface. If you are using coals, wait until there are no more flames, but they remain glowing to secure highest but even heat. It helps if your concentration is at max during the entire process since you don’t want to forget your food and let it burn.
- Get the right tools – you also don’t want a risk flipping a hamburger only to watch it end up on the ground. Hey, that is something that can happen to the best of us, but you will diminish that chance if you use proper tools. Tongs are mandatory, and an oven glove can be useful, too.
- Make the burgers yourself – don’t buy ready hamburgers from your local store or supermarket. You might have read the label, but you can’t know if what it says is true. We suggest going to the butcher’s and asking him to mince chuck or flank that is adequately fatty. Even if you combine that meat with only salt and pepper, you will be thrilled with the results.
- Brush your meat with marinade – depending on the recipe you might need to leave marinated fish or chicken in the fridge overnight. However, if you notice that you could use some extra moisture during the barbecuing process, it’s a good idea to use some of the saved marinades. Feel free to brush the meat and add the additional
- Consider side dishes – you shouldn’t underestimate veggies or bread because they make a considerable part of your portion. Some models have zones for direct and indirect heat cooking or side burners. They are perfect for simmering some onions or mushrooms or even heating your bread
The crucial tip that we can give you is to keep safety at the top of the priority list. That includes not keeping flammable materials close to your unit, making sure to always BBQ outdoors, as well as carefully reading the instruction manual for other directions when it comes to safety.
What Is the Ideal Fuel for Barbecuing?
A long time ago it all started with hardwood logs. However, they are extremely tricky to handle, especially when it comes to controlling temperature. Although some veteran grillers are using them, barbecuing has gone a long way since then. Instead of logs, we moved on to pellets.
That is also a type of fuel we get from hardwood. We could describe pellets as compressed wood sawdust that is at most ½” long and thinner than a pen. As a natural hardwood source, they can also provide that delicate wood-fired flavor to barbecued food. Plus, you can choose between various types of pellets, from classics such as hickory to aromatized blends such as Texas beef. The biggest advantage that pellets have over other types of fuel is that these types of grilling units are the easiest to control. In most cases, they have a digital thermometer that you can “set and forget.” However, they are also more expensive than other alternatives.
Charcoal is another excellent option for all your barbecuing needs. There are two types available – briquettes and lump coal. Charcoal is produced by carbonizing hardwood into char. It is capable of reaching high temperatures and very efficient. It might be a bit tricky to learn how to arrange a charcoal bed or pan correctly and ignite it. As for the latter, some hybrid models offer automatic gas ignition but burn coal during the cooking process.
Our final recommendation is gas despite the fact that you will hear that these grills cannot provide the flavor like charcoal or pellet-fueled ones. While that is true up to a certain extent, you can also choose the manufacturers that offer vaporizing grease feature and other perks that will deliver excellent results. You should just take a look at our best BBQ grills for the money suggestions and decide for your favorite model and the type of fuel that goes along with it.
Best BBQ Grills for the Money
It’s nice when the price is not an object, and you can buy the best BBQ grills for the money no matter their cost. When it comes to premium grilling lineup, you just cannot overlook Memphis Grills Pro 28-Inch Pellet Grill on Cart. Thick gauge stainless steel (304) is a guarantee that the quality of construction is unmatchable. The item weighs over 200 pounds and has excellent durability and sturdiness. It is fueled by hardwood pellets, and there is a digital thermometer with built-in Wi-Fi control. The customers praise the versatility that is achieved by the fact that it can deliver consistent heat in the range from 180F to 650F, which is perfect for anything from smoking up to searing. If you are looking for a more spacious model, you can take a look at the Memphis Grills Elite 39-Inch.
If you are a more traditional griller, you are probably a fan of kettle BBQs. Weber Ranch Kettle is an oversized grilling system that has over 1,100 square inches of available cooking space. Believe it or not, it means that you can feed up to 25 people with this unit. Charcoal is there to provide that characteristic BBQ flavor, while the construction and quality of elements secure excellent heat retention and durability. Weber is among the most renowned producers on the grill market, and Ranch Kettle is another proof that they more than deserved that reputation.
If you consult an experienced griller and ask him about which product he would purchase for barbecuing needs, there is a good chance he would say “a ceramic grill.” And if you ask a follow-up question about the manufacturer, he would probably recommend Kamado Joe. The company hasn’t been on the market for long. In fact, they are around for less than a decade, but they already managed to establish a reputable name. Kamado Joe KJ23RH Classic is a ceramic grilling system patented with a desire to resemble camados, cooking pots that were used in ancient times to cook over open flame evenly. Thanks to its broad temperature range and even and consistent heat distribution, there are not many things you can’t cook with this unit. Aside from that, the quality of materials is superb, and there are even perks that ease the cleaning process. The only downside, if you could even say that, is the size as it offers an 18” cooking surface. However, there is the BJ24RH Big Joe unit with ample cooking surface, as well as KJ13RH Joe Junior for those who are looking a more affordable price.
Top-Rated BBQ Grills
The truth is that you cannot go wrong with any of the grills we reviewed in this article. However, some models were perfect for numerous users from around the globe. They were so satisfied that they left an excellent review on Amazon for the product. Based on that, we are taking a look at top-rated BBQ grills. Our list starts with Kamado Joe Classic II, which proudly wears the familiar red design that this company made recognizable. The new series from this manufacturer has some exciting twists, such as dividable cooking grates that enable splitting the grilling surface in half. We also like the fact that the cover is resistant to both rust and rain, which means you can BBQ regardless of the weather.
Pit Boss 71240 Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill is similar to the one above. Charcoals provide an open flame, tenderness and juicy flavor of the food, while the top damper is cast iron calibrated to secure superb heat retention. We liked the side shelves of bamboo that look far more attractive than on Kamado Joe’s models. They are also foldable so that you can save some space when you are not grilling. The cooking grates are made of stainless steel, and they have two tiers for increased versatility. Once you find your way around this unit, you will be able to cook over direct and indirect heat simultaneously. The diameter of the cooking space is 24”, but there is also a smaller model available at a more affordable price.
Weber’s horse in the race for the top rated BBQ grills is Performer Deluxe 22-Inch. There is a cheaper model of Weber Performer also available, but we are recommending this one because it has electronic ignition. That puts it into hybrid grilling units’ category since it uses charcoal briquettes as a fuel, but a gas ignition system. All other recognizable features are there, including the Gourmet BBQ 2-part cooking grates and the One-Touch cleaning system. The quality of construction is terrific, and the bowl itself is porcelain-enameled and offers 363 square inches of cooking space.
Best BBQ Grills Under $500
We are taking a turn now and heading towards the “Affordable Products” street. These units are also reliable at their core, and you shouldn’t doubt their results. However, they might have limited options when it comes to bells and whistles, but that is something that comes with the price. First in the line of the best BBQ grills under $500 is Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker. We couldn’t believe that there is such a sweet deal available for a grilling unit. The smoker is located on the left, and it does an admirable job of smoking your food over low heat. As for the central components, the charcoal pan is conveniently adjustable, which means that you can use it to change the temperature level and make the most out of this versatile product. The table is on the front side, which might be a bit unusual, but you will get used to it after a while.
If you are on the market for a kamado BBQ unit, but you are not willing to pay a lot of money, make sure to check out Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker which comes in four different colors. The price insignificantly varies, and aside from red, there are also brown, blue, and black. Their features are identical, so the only difference is aesthetics. As for the performance, the insulated design enables better heat control and more versatility. The unit combines central cooking area with 314 square inches and the second rack with 133 square inches. 22 gauge steel might not be a premium-quality material, but the powder-coated finish makes it more resistant to rust. The steel is porcelain-coated on the inside, which secures that food will not stick to the surface. The entire product stands on a cart with locking casters that hold the unit in position. There are metal shelves on both sides and a catch pan for catching ashes below the grilling unit.
There is one thing that we need to admit – we are weak when it comes to infrared cooking technology. That is because it is impressive how efficient it is while ensuring that the heat is evenly distributed across the entire grilling area. We particularly like that we leave flare-ups in the back of our brains and not worry about them when using this type of unit. Char-Broil Signature TRU Infrared 3-Burner uses the technology we just discussed to deliver even heat across 420 square inches of grilling space. The model uses gas as fuel, and its heat output is 30,000 BTUs. That is divided across three high-quality stainless steel burners plus you get a side burner with 13,000 BTUs and a lid. You can easily control what’s happening in the cook box with the heat gauge and control knobs on the front panel, while side tables and an enclosed cabinet provide ample storage space.
Best Portable BBQ Grills
The story with best portable BBQ grills is a lot different from what we have seen so far. They have one primary purpose – high portability. That means you can take them anywhere with you, set them up in a small outdoor space and let them do their magic. If you keep in mind that you should carry them around, it doesn’t come as strange that these products are lightweight. As such, they are also pretty elementary, which means that you can forget about all those bells and whistles of standard models. However, if you are looking for a model to take camping or to a picnic, you will find that these units are more than suitable.
ICOCO Portable BBQ Grill weighs only 4 pounds. Its dimensions are 19 x 9 x 10 inches, which in theory should be enough for four persons. However, the coal bed below the grates is somewhat shallow, and the outsides of the cooking surface will probably have lower heat than desired. As a result, you should focus on the central area which is enough to barbecue for up to two persons. You can’t expect durability from a product that costs less than $30, but it can provide for your occasional outdoor needs for at least a season or two. The important thing is that it delivers excellent results and the food doesn’t stick to the surface of the grates.
Several years ago, Weber decided to pack their kettle unit in a compact design that can be taken to road trips. Smokey Joe Premium 14-Inch weighs less than 10 pounds, but that probably doesn’t mean you can carry it in your hands. However, it is entirely suitable for the trunk of any car and ready for camping, cookouts, and days at the beach. The quality construction is also noticeable in this grill along with some neat features such as a handle that remains cool to the touch. It sounds incredible, but you get a 10-year limited warranty for a product that costs less than $40. Brilliant!
In the end, let us present you an unusual product that won our affection thanks to its design. Gentlemen’s Hardware Multi-Tool BBQ is a barbecue unit packed in James Bond style. The entire product looks like a secret agent’s go-bag that is ready to go with you anywhere instantly. Plus, it doesn’t seem like you are carrying a BBQ, but a suitcase in your hands. When you reach the desired spot, just open the bag, and the cooking grates will magically appear. The charcoal pan is technically the inside of the suitcase, while it also features foldable legs as a stand. The product might be a bit pricey for a portable BBQ grill, but it is more than worth mentioning because it is a breath of fresh air on the grilling market.
How to Choose the Right BBQ Grill for You
We already discussed the fuel alternatives and suggested that hardwood pellets and charcoal are the best options when it comes to barbecuing. Gas also comes into play as long as you pick a model that can deliver extensive flavor. Now, let’s focus on the features. You see, not all people want the same in life and it’s the same for BBQ grills. Here are some areas that you need to consider when choosing your desired unit:
Are you looking forward to organizing a BBQ party for the entire neighborhood? Or you are planning on calling a bunch of friends for a tailgating party before the match? In both of those cases, you need a BBQ unit with an ample cooking surface. But if you are often cooking only for you and your partner, there is a good chance that an average-sized grill will cover your needs.
You can also consider what food you like to barbecue. For example, burgers and hot dogs don’t take a lot of space, but ribs do, which is why you need to make sure that everything you want fits onto the cooking surface.
You need to gather all relevant information on the quality of elements used in designing a grill. Overall, stainless steel is the most durable and resistant material. There are various types of stainless steel, however, and they widely differ in thickness. The thicker the element is, the better it’s durability.
However, there is another factor that comes into the equation here, and that’s how often you will use your BBQ unit. If you need it only occasionally and you plan to take care of it properly, even weakly built units can last for long. But if you want to grill every day, consider making a long-term investment in a durable product. Warranty is usually an excellent sign that company has trust in their product, A long-time guarantee that everything will work properly is an excellent indicator of quality.
Any extra features or accessories depending on your preference. However, having a smoker (or an option for smoking food) installed is an excellent addition that can help in delivering phenomenal barbecue results. You can also consider a side burner that you can use to simmer vegetables or whip up a sauce.