If you’re someone who likes to take full advantage of the warm Australian weather, then you know how great spending time in the backyard grilling food and cracking a cold one with the boys can be. And if you’re the one who hosts the parties most frequently, then the quality of the grill you prepare the food on will be one of the deciding factors regarding the quality of the food you’ll serve your guests.
But how do you decide what type of outdoor grill is ideal for your backyard parties? An outdoor grill can be a hefty investment, and one you shouldn’t make lightly without putting in the time to do your homework. That being said, there are two important factors to consider when deciding on the type of grill that will suit your needs best.
How Many British Thermal Units Do You Need?
The British Thermal Unit measures the total heat output per burner. Worth noting is that more BTU isn’t necessarily better, as if the number is too high, it may mean that the grill is compensating for a design flaw, like poor heat retention or burning fuel quicker than it needs. However, if the BTU is too low, it may have slow recovery and preheat times. That being said, you’ll want a grill with anywhere from 80 to 100 BTUs per square 2-3 centimetres of your main cooking grate.
What Does the Grill Run On?
Grills usually operate using propane, natural gas or charcoal.
Gas grills utilise a liquid propane tank, but they can also be connected to a natural gas line. These are the most popular type simply because they’re extremely convenient. They start up quickly and reach the optimal cooking temperature in about 10 minutes. Further, they distribute heat evenly across the entire grilling surface and you can regulate the heat more precisely. This allows you to create different heat zones for cooking, warming or seating, and they’re easy to refuel. However, you won’t get the smoked flavor of charcoal grills, and they require frequent maintenance of their mechanisms, including the vents, burners, and valves.
Charcoal grills, on the other hand, can reach higher temperatures, making them ideal for large cuts of meat like steaks and they provide that smoky, rich flavour that many people prefer. However, charcoal grills can take up to 30 minutes to heat up, and controlling their temperature is very difficult. Further, they usually take more time to be cleaned up, and cleaning them up can be quite messy.