Outdoor Gas Grills and
Kitchens - Propane Compared to Natural Gas and Charcoal - Features
June 10th 2006
With the summer season getting underway, outdoor grills and kitchens are
becoming more popular. There are dozens of natural gas and propane
grills to choose from. But what should you look for when choosing a
Typically charcoal grills are less expensive, but require refills of
charcoal and lighter fluid to use. Although natural gas is cheaper,
liquid propane (LP) burns cleaner and can produce more heat; but you
will need to refill your propane bottles.
There is a big debate between charcoal and gas grilling, but it all
comes down to flavor. Charcoal does provide a distinctive flavor that is
not easily reproduced. It is a tough decision for grilling enthusiasts,
and that decision is whether the gas grill is worth the convenience.
Gas grills use a spark supplied by the grill starter, sometimes referred
to as the igniter. Most of the time the igniter is configured with the
gas knob, and uses piezoelectricity to generate a nice spark that lights
Some gas grills will have more burners than others. These burners mix
the gas with the oxygen and each burner usually has a pair of electrodes
attached to them. The spark across the electrode ignites the burner.
Most gas grills have at least two separate burners.
Of course there are differences in gas grills. Burners add cost, so
typically the more burners they have the more they cost. The more
stainless steel, the more expensive the grill will be. There is no need
to paint (or enamel) stainless steel because it will not rust or
corrode. You will want to compare cooking area and BTUs as well. Built
in thermometers are convenient, and so are drip systems for grease.
Gas grills can start as low as $250 but can go into the thousands. Some
grills are made to be integrated into outdoor kitchens with tile and
other amenities. Some grills will come with a back-rack for buns.
Others may have built-in griddles. These are flat surfaces of steel or
Deluxe models will come with stainless steel burners, spit fork
rotisserie, a rear-mounted infrared rotisserie burner and a stainless
steel smoker box. Some may also come with warming racks, a warm-up
basket, and drawers for storing utensils.
Outdoor grills can be a big investment. My recommendation is look
around before you buy. Compare prices and features. Write down the
features and price of the models you look at and sleep on it before you
open your wallet.