Memorial Day weekend has arrived and it's time to set summer in motion. ...
Cheap Gas Grills, Gas Grill Reviews
Cheap Gas Grills, Gas Grill Reviews
Cheap gas grills are a popular choice because they take less time to heat up and give you more control over temperature than charcoal barbecues. About.com's grilling expert notes that a gas grill can get hot enough to begin cooking in as little as 10 minutes.
Grill Temperature Control.Heat control is a critical feature, because different foods need to be cooked at different temperatures. Cheap gas grills rule here because they come with control settings or dials that manage where and how high the flame is. The Char-Griller 3001 excels on this front, according to consumers posting gas grill reviews on the Lowe's website. Users say the thermometer is accurate, the temperature controls prevent cold spots, and food comes out cooked to perfection.
With charcoal, it's much tougher to control the size of the flame. As an alternative, some charcoal models, including the Char-Griller Wrangler 2123, feature adjustable grates that let you dictate how close the food is to the heat. According to reviews of the Char-Griller Wrangler 2123 at Walmart, the adjustable cast-iron grates and heat gauge make it easy to control the temperature. Vents also give you some control over the heat by increasing or decreasing the oxygen that fuels the fire: Closing the vents lowers the heat and opening the vents turns it up.
One thing to note in a cheap gas grill is its British thermal unit rating, which affects the grill's cooking capacity. According to HowStuffWorks, one cubic foot of propane contains about 2,500 BTUs of energy. Generally, the more BTUs, the larger the grill and its cooking surface; the average gas grill claims between 20,000 and 50,000 BTUs. The traditional rule of thumb, according to the expert at About.com, is to look for about 100 BTUs per square inch of cooking surface. For example, the Char-Griller 3001, our pick for best cheap gas grill, features 40,800 BTUs and 438 square inches of primary cooking surface (plus the warming rack). On the other hand, the Brinkmann Professional 3-Burner Gas Grill 810-3330-S (Available at Home Depot from $159) missed our list due to a lack of power. With three burners that generate 12,000 BTUs each, the total count is 36,000 BTUs for 416 square inches of primary cooking space, or about 86.5 BTUs per square inch. This is fine for a highly efficient grill with heavy components and a tight-fitting lid. But while the Brinkmann 810-3330-S gets many compliments in gas grill reviews at Home Depot, several users note that it doesn't get very hot. One observes that the temperature doesn't get high enough to sear meat and another says it takes 30 minutes to cook a chicken breast all the way through. On the other hand, beware of cheap gas grills with excessively high energy output. This likely indicates that they aren't very fuel-efficient.
Grill Size.Consumers shopping for a grill must consider both the size of the grill itself, which has to fit in their outdoor area, and the size of the cooking surface. Remember that if a grill has a warming rack or a side burner, that's likely included in the total cooking area listed by the manufacturer (as well as in the area we list below).
Gas grills generally provide larger cooking areas than charcoal barbecues. Among our top picks, the Brinkmann Grill King 810-2410-SB takes the cake, with a total of 638 square inches. The Char-Griller 3001 comes in a close second at 630 square inches, while the 300-square-inch Char-Broil Two-Burner Gas Grill offers less than half the surface area but also costs half the price.
Charcoal barbecues tend to be smaller, although the best ones outpace the Char-Broil Two-Burner Gas Grill. The Char-Griller Wrangler 2123 offers 435 square inches of cooking space, followed by the Weber One-Touch Gold 22.5 at 398 square inches.
The Char-Broil Grill2Go Express (starting at $186, Amazon) has the smallest cooking area of any grill we researched: 200 square inches. That's because it's a portable gas grill designed to be thrown in the trunk for camping or tailgating. We suspect that some of the positive reviews on Viewpoints may be inauthentic -- poor grammar and spelling and repeated use of the full name of the product raise red flags -- but they point out that this propane grill saves users seeking portability from having to lug around a bag of charcoal.
Char-Broil Two-Burner Gas Grill Review
Brinkmann Grill King Review
Weber One Touch Gold 22.5 Review
Char-Griller Wrangler 2123 Review
Char-Griller Grillin' Pro 3001 Review
Brinkmann Pro Series Four Burner Gas Grill 810-9415-w
Char-Broil T480 Four Burner and Char-Boil Grill2Go Advantage
Brinkmann 4 Burner Gas Grill 810-9410-S
Broil-Mate Gas Grill 13024
Brinkmann 2 Burner Gas Grill 810-9210-S
This summer enjoy the outdoors without the bugs. We suggest several make-at-home deterrents to pesky insects.
Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner and so is the start of grilling season! See our list for economical meats and ways to prepare.