When summer rolls around, hungry visions of grill-striped steaks and juicy burgers may come to mind. A portable grill is necessary to make those dreams a backyard reality. But how does one go about selecting a portable grill? It seems there are more grill choices available than there are beans in a barbecue side dish. There are three important factors to consider when you go grill shopping: Construction. Fuel. Space.
CONSTRUCTION. When you approach the vast array of portable grills available, your first thoughts should concern construction. Some grills can seem like a bargain, but if they are shoddily constructed out of second-rate materials, they’ll cost you more in the long run. Can it tip over easily? Is the metal durable enough to withstand the heat, and perhaps the elements, if it’s to remain outside. Some metals can warp and bend under the stress of the heat. Even holes could develop that could cause hot grease to splash on your feet or perhaps on an unfortunate wandering pet. Stick with stainless steel. It’s value will be evident as it stands up to the heat of the cooking, as well as any inclement weather.
FUEL. Wood, charcoal or propane are your options. Let’s consider each. Wood, depending on its type, can impart a great flavor to the foods you grill. It may be more difficult to find, depending on your location, and it tends to be a bit more expensive than the other two options. Charcoal is another fuel that can lend a smokey flavor to the food. But, you need to use lighter fluid to start the coals and the coals must be tended until they are hot and ready for grilling. Propane is another option. If you have an aversion to the smokey taste imparted by the other two fuels, you may want to use propane. The price of propane can fluctuate and it may be hard to find at a reasonable price, especially during the summer months. Also, the propane tanks can be rather heavy to carry and you have to be careful as you’re hooking them up to your portable grill.
SPACE. How much food are you going to be grilling at one time? For a small family of four, or a couple who often invites another couple over for a little repast, a relatively small grilling area is all that’s necessary. As you’re looking at the size of the actual grill area, try to envision four, nice-sized t-bones cooking there along with a few ears of corn. Purchasing a grill with a larger space than you’ll usually need, can cost you in terms of fuel economy, efficient cooking and therefore money. On the other hand, if you’re the kind who invites the whole neighborhood over for a highfalutin grill-fest, you’ll want to invest in a far larger grill. Running out of grill space while trying to entertain a horde of hungry folks is just not a good idea!
So, you’ll be trying to figure out if a little hibachi will do, or if a grill that looks like it came out of a hotel kitchen is needed. But, when you consider construction, fuel and space, the selection process is far less confusing. So, don’t get stressed out as you face the wide-array of grills available. After your selection, you’ll find that grilling is an easy process and you’ll probably end up surprising yourself as you become a great chef dishing up great grilled food for yourself, or for a horde.