Charcoal Grills - What To Look For

In general, charcoal grills are less expensive than gas grills, but surveys say that those who own gas grills are likely to use them more frequently. You could argue forever about whether burgers taste better on a charcoal or gas grill, and a surprising number of homeowners own both types.

What the experts say to look for in a gas grill - Gas BBQ Grill Links

What the experts say to look for in a charcoal grill - Charcoal Grill Links

Look for at least 300 square inches of cooking space. This allows room for six burgers and six hot dogs, enough to feed a family with space left over for guests. If you plan on entertaining larger groups, look for grills with at least 500 square inches.

Invest in a charcoal chimney starter. These allow you to start your coals quickly and cheaply without any residues left over from lighter fluid.

Consider where the grill will live. If you think you'll be leaving your grill outdoors often, you'll want to invest in a sturdier model made of heavy-gauge or stainless steel. Even then, it's still a good idea to invest in a grill cover to prevent wear and rust.

Look for grills with vents above and below the cooking grid. This allows for better temperature control and gives the option of slower cooking. Also, look for vents that can completely close to help the grill cool down quicker.

Look for a hinged cooking grate. Hinged cooking grates allow you to easily add more charcoal without disturbing your food. Not only is this more convenient, it's essential if you plan to do long, slow grilling.

Consider the grill's cleaning mechanism. Cleaning out charcoal grills can be one of the biggest hassles, so make sure your grill has a good system of collecting ashes as well as a slide-out tray for easy disposal.

For portable grills, look for a locking lid. If you plan on moving your grill around a lot, a locking lid is key to preventing ashes and coals from spilling.

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