More and more homeowners are choosing high-end gas grills that do more than grill. But you don't need to spend a fortune to get great-tasting burgers, steaks, and chicken at your next barbecue. Nor do you need to sacrifice style. As you'll discover in this grill guide, many lower-priced models now have at least some stainless-steel trim, side burners for side dishes, and other perks once found only on the priciest grills. Keep the following tips in mind when shopping.
Size it up
Match the size of the grill's cooking area to the number of people generally around the table. Remember, manufacturers might include racks when tallying cooking area. Our measurements are based on the main cooking area and how much food it will hold. Next factor in how much space the grill will take up on your patio or deck. Some of the large grills we tested are a whopping 6 feet wide and 2 feet deep.
Look over the menu
A basic grill is fine for cooking hamburgers and hot dogs, but if whole chickens, turkeys, or large roasts are regularly on the menu, look for a model with a rotisserie burner. Side burners and griddles let you prepare or warm side dishes while using the grilling area for the main course, but our tests have found that they take longer to boil water than a range and they become too hot to simmer sauces well.
Bring a magnet
Many grills use a mix of stainless-steel grades. Our salt-spray tests have found that 300-series stainless is less likely to corrode than cheaper, 400-series stainless. While a magnet won't stick to higher-grade stanless, some lower grades are also non-magnetic. Know what you're getting by asking to see which grade, 300-series stainless or the lesser 400-series, makes up most of the grill, especially if it's non-magnetic. Also be sure to clean stainless regularly and cover it with a vented cover when it's stored.
The more stable the grill, the better. When shopping, gently push the grill from several angles to see if it tips. Check the cart, firebox, lid, and shelves for sharp corners and edges. Grip the handle. Your knuckles or fingers shouldn't be too close to the lid or your hand could get burned. Once you get the grill home, place it in a low-traffic, well-ventilated area away from buildings, dry leaves, or brush. Use a fireproof mat underneath. And never grill in the garage or in any enclosed area. The carbon-monoxide buildup could be lethal.
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