Types of Grills

Types of Grills

Some of the fondest memories are created when people get together for a cookout. Tensions melt with that first whiff of smoke. The simple smell of food cooking on a grill gets your stomach growling and sets the tone for a fun time spent with friends and family.

It’s no wonder that 7 out of 10 homes have an outdoor grill. People love gathering for a barbecue, and today’s grills and smokers are more fun to cook with than ever before. They’re easy to light, efficient to use, and exciting to gather around.

With so many different types of grills available, choosing one doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The variety can be used to your advantage.

What goes into an outdoor cooking station?

Outdoor cooking stations can be as simple or as complex as their owners. To some, an outdoor cook space is a showpiece. Mimicking a gourmet kitchen, they can contain various grills, ovens, and smokers, with amenities like ice makers, outdoor refrigeration, and even dishwashers. Some boast elaborate structures that keep you sheltered from the elements with overhead fans, misting systems, and built-in lighting to keep the party rolling after the sun goes down.

But for most of us, an outdoor cooking station is nothing more than a grill, a few chairs, and maybe a radio or wireless speaker for listening to music or the game.

Fortunately, you don’t need to get a second mortgage to have an awesome outdoor cooking space.

What makes a good outdoor cooking station depends on a few things:

Available space

The most important step to building an outdoor cooking station is understanding the flow of your outdoor space. Whether you have unlimited room for a grill with multiple burners or a simple balcony and choose a more portable grill, using your space effectively should be the highest priority.

Ergonomics

It’s OK now and then to just set a small grill down directly on the ground to get cooking, but that’s best saved for camping trips and tailgating with no other options. The ergonomics of cooking, or positioning your equipment at a comfortable working height, is important and it’s not just about feeling comfortable. Having your ingredients, grill, and utensils close by and easy-to-reach is safer when cooking over a hot grill than having things strewn about.

How much food will you be cooking?

If you’re only feeding a few people, available grill space shouldn’t be that much of an issue. But if you plan on making enough food to feed a teenage soccer team, it’s worth considering the larger options.

The Blackstone 28” flat top grill can cook up to about 18 burgers or 44 hotdogs. If your team wins the championship and you really plan on celebrating, the 36” griddle can cook about 30 burgers and over 70 hot dogs!

What are the most common types of grills?

Types of grills are most commonly broken down by fuel source. Although there are some exceptions, most grills are powered by gas, charcoal, wood pellets, and electricity.

Gas grills are the most common of all grills. They are powered by either liquid propane or natural gas and typically have between one and four burners. Gas grills burn cleanly, heat up quickly, and fuel is simple to find.

Charcoal grills provide consistent heat with the addition of some smoky flavor that many people enjoy. If you like smoky foods, wood chips or chunks can be added to the charcoal for an additional burst of flavor.

Wood pellet grills are typically known for smoking food, but they work fine for grilling as well. Sawdust is compressed into small pellets that the grill uses as a heat source.

Electric grills are less common than other types of grills but are incredibly convenient. Some enjoy the ability to be able to plug in and start cooking immediately without having to mess with fuel. Electric grills like this griddle are also perfect for people who live in an area where open flames are not permitted or homeowners associations frown upon using smokers in outdoor spaces.

Why do people love cooking outdoors?

There’s something primal about cooking outdoors.

Between hearing food sizzle and smelling how delicious it will be, outdoor cooking is something that makes our mouths water. But outdoor cooking has other benefits too.

When you cook outdoors on a flat top grill, all your food is being cooked on a single surface. When you’re done, a simple wipe-down of your griddle with water and paper towels is often all you need to have it clean and ready for the next time you use it. There are no pots and pans piling up in the sink, making cleanup much simpler than when you use the stove.

Another benefit of cooking on an outdoor griddle is where the cooking happens.

When you cook indoors, grease and oils from foods like bacon and steaks will vaporize, often coming into contact with your stove, counters, and walls. But when you cook outside, those vapors have no way to stick to your kitchen.

The same goes for the smells of fragrant foods like fish or Brussels sprouts. These rich-smelling foods may taste delicious on your plate, but it doesn’t mean you want those smells hanging around your house.

Regardless of how much outdoor space you have, how many people you normally feed, and how much you plan on spending, there’s a grill out there for everyone. With plenty of options to choose from, don’t be surprised if the hardest decision is what to cook next.

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