text by MICHELLE GAGE
Summer is right around the corner, which means one thing – it’s grilling season! You don’t need to be a grill master to get the burgers cooking. Put on your chef apron and get ready to impress the neighbors with perfectly cooked meats. For your vegan and vegetarian friends, grilled veggies are just as savory. Throw some corn, onions and ever lettuce on the fire for a smoky supper. If you don’t already own a grill (first of all–it’s time), and second, you might be a little confused when it comes to options–because there are plenty. The smaller items mentioned below can be purchased online, but if you’re looking for something more standard in size, a trip to your local hardware store (think Home Depot, Lowes, etc) will have great results. We’ll talk you through the best outdoor grills for your home; you worry about making dinner!
Portagrillo Portable Propane Grill, Picnic Time
- Portable gas grills are perfect for camping or a day at the beach. They pack up and fold nicely, making set up a breeze. They are easy to transport for times of travel. If you are living in an apartment and are short on outdoor space, consider this alternative to the common grill. When making plans for a day trip to the beach, this grill is a budget friendly option. A small group can skimp on the boardwalk food by bringing some of your own, along with this portable grill. It also makes for a much healthier option. This kind of grill easily tucks into your trunk or back seat – something none of the other guys can do! Small, but mighty, this grill is one that can get you a lot of use over time.
- Of course, these smaller portable charcoal grills can’t accommodate a large crowd. We would not recommend bringing these to a party – or hosting with one – but they are great when preparing dinner for two. You could also simply just cook up some mixed vegetables to supplement what you’ve got going on in the oven or on a larger grill. Think of this as your small savior. It travels well in a pinch. It can cook up a quick side dish. It can be stored on your apartment’s balcony or closet pantry. Portable grills can also be stashed in a cabinet of a shared kitchen – or under your bed if you have a roomate that likes to borrow stuff without asking! You can find these in a variety of colors. Consider supporting your favorite sports team by selecting a grill in line with their uniforms. Break it out at the next tailgate and cheer on!
- Charcoal grills come in various forms. You can find stainless steel options or simple standard black ceramic ones. These are a little bit more affordable and you’ll get a better bite. It takes a little skill to get the fire started. Smokier than gas, charcoal grills give a little more flavor to your food. With their easy lift lids and hinges, these grills are always ready to go. They retain heat well, so you can rest assured that the hot fire will stay lit throughout meal prep. This option, that can be bought petite, can also be built into an outdoor structure or can stand on its own.
- A charcoal grill/fire pit combination is for the ultimate chef. Gather the group around the built in table for the best backyard experience. For parties, you can make dozens of meals at once. Throw some chicken, beef and dogs on the grill for the meat lovers. Vegetables also make for a mighty meal. Only invest in one of these if you’re planning on using it time and time again. This is not the grill for the occasional cooker. Plan to cook often – you’ll have neighbors knocking down your door, convincing you to start the fire!
Electric Grill, Hibachi
- Most electric grills have 3 setting – high, medium and low, which makes it easy to adjust temperatures as you go. A high quality electric grill is versatile and great for all types of dwellings. Whether you’re renting an apartment or own a home, this type of grill fits almost any bill. The bonus is that you don’t have to worry about keeping charcoal or fuel around! They come in all sizes, from portable to standard sizes. Decide how much outside space you want to dedicate to your grill, make your purchase, and get cooking!
- You need not be a professional for a basic stand alone gas grill. Pricy premium gas grills can cost you upwards of $1500, but a basic model will start around a cool $200. Find one at your local hardware store. They’re not only great looking, but are also durable and easy to clean. Effortlessly grill up a burger – or seven – on this spacious fixture. There’s no beating the flavor that comes with a charcoal grill. That being said, the flames of gas grills are easier to control. Stick this stainless steel beauty in your backyard for the biggest and best BBQ on the block.
- In an outdoor setting, a premium built-in gas grill makes you the king of the meat. The larger the square footage, the more patties can cook at one time. For example, 500 square inches can cook up about 25 burgers. Snag one with multiple tiers so that you can prepare some grilled veggies above, while grilling hotdogs below. This is an investment piece. If you’ve got a pool and consider yourself a professional party thrower, this one is for you. If none of those descriptors match your personality, start smaller and work your way up the chain. While pricy, these premium grills are some of the best cookers around.