Today's backyard chefs are exploring all that backyard cooking and patio cuisine have to offer, grilling breakfast, lunch and dinner outdoors. They are using new and improved grills, new grilling tools and new techniques, all designed to keep up with this lifestyle shift outdoors.
If you're in the market for a new grill, consider how often you will use it, storage space and fuel type.
A portable charcoal grill may be the best choice for someone who will tailgate or occasionally barbecue at the beach or the park. Someone who plans to grill on the patio several times a week may need an easy-to-use propane or natural gas grill with temperature control. Electric grills are the right choice if you don't want to use gas or charcoal or your living requirements won't allow such a grill.
The availability of storage space is another consideration. A well-ventilated space and a grill cover are needed to store a grill outside. Grills can also be kept indoors if they are disconnected and the gas cylinder valve is plugged before storing the gas container outside. Never store the gas container in your house.
When buying the grill, consider the cooking surface, cooking system, burners and accessories. Porcelain is common and inexpensive; however, cast iron has better heat distribution and temperature control. Higher BTUs mean higher temperatures; lower BTUs mean better temperature control.
Burners, including rotisserie and back burners, allow for versatility in the amount, preparation and kinds of foods cooked.
Once you choose your grill, you may want to learn some grill safety skills:
Never light any grill indoors, and place the grill at least 10 feet away from any structure.
Children should be kept away from a grill that is in use or cooling down.
For gas grills, always check the tubes, connectors and hoses for any sign of blockage, cracking, holes and leaks, and cover gas hoses to protect yourself from hot surfaces or dripping grease.
For charcoal grills, never light or burn charcoal indoors-carbon monoxide buildup can be deadly-and never pour lighter fluid on charcoal that is already lit. Finally, never leave any grill unattended when lit.
The Home Depot offers a wide variety of gas and charcoal grills and "Grilling 1-2-3," a do-it-yourself book with tool selection tips, helpful techniques and step-by-step recipes for a safe and successful outdoor cooking experience.
'Big D' Danny Raposo
President of Big D's House of Munch
& Food Writer
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