Choosing a charcoal grill
Charcoal grills generally cost less than gas grills, but surveys show that
owners use gas grills with greater frequency. One could argue forever over
whether food tastes better when prepared on a charcoal or gas grill; ultimately,
it comes down to personal preference.
Reviewers say the following about shopping for a charcoal grill:
- 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 a grill
with at least 500 square inches of primary cooking space.
- Invest in a charcoal chimney starter. These allow you to start your coals quickly and cheaply without lighter
- Consider where the grill will live. If you plan to leave your grill
outdoors, you'll want to invest in a model made of heavy-gauge or stainless
steel. Regardless of where you store your grill or what it's made of,
it's still a good idea to invest in a cover to help prevent wear and rust.
for grills with vents above and below the cooking grid. These allow
for better temperature control. Also, look for vents that can close completely
to help the grill cool down more quickly.
- Look for a hinged cooking grate. Hinged cooking grates make it easier to add more charcoal without disturbing
your food. Not only is this more convenient, it's essential if you
plan to slow-grill food.
- Consider the grill's cleaning mechanism. Cleaning out
charcoal grills can be a hassle, so make sure your grill has a good
ash-collection system, as well as a slide-out tray for easy disposal.
- On portable grills,
look for a locking lid. If you plan on moving your grill around a lot,
a locking lid is key to prevent ashes and coals from spilling.