Ultimate tips to buy a BBQ
You’re probably asking yourself what you have to think about when buying a BBQ. We’re answering all your questions in the next lines. Have a good read!
The starting system
The starting system is one of the first components to break on an entry-level BBQ. You have to make sure that the protective casing and the joints are well made, to avoid rust and dirt. That being said, an electronic or rotative system would be better than a push-button.
The bigger the cooking surface is, the number of burners you need will increase. In facts, a big cooking surface with not many burners will raise your gas consumption. The thicker the burners are, the longer they will last and the better they’ll pack heat. Burners made of thin metal have a higher chance of getting crooked when exposed to high heat and stop working faster. We recommend having independent burners that will allow you to control the heat and make indirect cooking.
The infrared burner
The infrared burner, made to sear meat, reproduce the effects of charcoal and can reach a temperature of 1800 °F. Made out of ceramic, it absorbs the heat and grill the meat perfectly. It can be under the grill inside the tank, or on a side panel, like a lateral burner.
The BTU per hour (British Thermal Unit per hour), is a unit describing the power of a BBQ, in terms of quantity of heat, for a moment of time, produced by a heating element. The number of BTU in a BBQ is more of a sale technique than a necessity. If it’s sealed and well-built, it will get to the temperature you want with a low BTU value, while consuming less gas.
First of all, grills, in steel or cast iron, covered with porcelain. Those are the least durable. They don’t tolerate well temperature fluctuation: steel, that expands when hot, risks of breaking the ceramic enamel and then, the grill can rust easily. Furthermore, these need to be clean when they’re cold.
Then, the cast iron grill, which is good to make nice marking on your food. These keep getting hot, compared to steel, that doesn’t get hotter than the inside temperature of the BBQ. However, cast iron needs a good cleaning to prevent rust and you need to oil it often, so it doesn’t dry. Finally, the classic stainless steel grill. This one, depending on the quality of the steel, support heat and pass it on to the food. The heavier it is, the more it can get and keep its heat. Adding to that, you can clean it while it’s still hot.
The magnet trick
There is a very simple trick to know if the tank and the lid are made of quality material: you just need to put a magnet on it. If it sticks, that means the metal is, in fact, a mix of steel, nickel, and iron, which is conducive to oxidation and therefore to rust. If the magnet doesn’t stick, it’s because it’s only stainless steel, a high-quality material. However, it’s important to know that there is one type of stainless steel is magnetic but still very good: the 443 stainless steel. It’s known as a ferritic stainless, so there is iron, but by the way it’s made, it’s super resistant to salt, heat, and fat. So the best stainless steels are the 304 and 443, then 430 and 416 that are low-end steel, with a higher iron content and risk of rusting.
The tank is one of the most important parts of the BBQ. It keeps the heat and allows BBQ to go up in temperature. The tank needs to be thick and made of stainless steel or aluminum fusion, so it can stay clean and straight while keeping its thermic properties. The thicker it is, the longer it will take to heat it, but it will stay hot. A good thick tank usually has a better burner, so it can keep performing at a high level.
The best lids on the market are made of stainless steel, ideally 304 commercial steel, thick enough with a doubled tank. The better the quality of the enamel used in the lid, the easier it will be to keep a steady temperature. It is very important to check the lid joints because it needs to be stable and without leaks where heat could seep out, except for the chimney that is used to evacuate the heat of an over-performing BBQ. That’s why high-end BBQs have a bigger opening in the back. If it wasn’t there, it would be hard to control at low temperature.
The cart of some low-end BBQ is made of steel, covered with a thin layer of paint. These are likely to oxidate with time since they’re not really protected. Best case scenario, the cart will be made of stainless steel covered with quality paint offering and optimal protection. If there are wheels on the cart, make sure to check the locking system on them.
The popular charcoal BBQ
Would it be possible to combine the speed of gas and the good taste of food cooked over charcoal? Now yes!. This is finally possible with a new system that has a gas tank installed under the charcoal, that allows to start it faster. In 15 minutes, the cooking surface is ready. We recommend having a BBQ with a thermometer in the tank, so you can control the temperature and juggle with different types of cooking. Furthermore, some BBQ models from that type have a container in which the ashes fall, making the BBQ easier to clean.
For me, people with a small budget for their BBQ should choose a charcoal grill, since it’easier to find one of super high quality but cheaper.