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The first decision to make is whether you want a charcoal or gas grill. Charcoal grills allow you to feel the primal experience of cooking your meal over burning coals whereas gas grills offer precision temperatures that ensure that food is cooked to perfection without you having to be as involved. It's said that there is no real taste difference either way so the decision is strictly personal.

Look for grill made of high grade U.S. steel along with a baked-on, porcelain-enamel finish to avoid rust and aging. You also want to make sure that the grill is stable and sturdy on the floor otherwise it's an indication that it could fall apart or tip over easily. When it comes time to assemble, a quality brand leaves less work for the consumer to do. A good grill is easy to clean and maintain and provided that service centers are available, repair and replacement parts will be available. It's also important to know if the grill controls heat safely, including keeping handles cool and has added safety features.

Charcoal Grills
The construction of a charcoal grill is quite simplistic. In the center of the grill there is a grate to place the fuel, above that is a cooking grate for the food. A lid with air vents is the final touch. The cooking grates inside the grill are usually made of nickel or chrome-plated aluminum but the top of the line grates are made of cast iron, stainless steel or porcelain-coated aluminum. A grate made of a heavier gauge lasts longer and distribute and retain the heat better.
Tip: Make sure to keep your charcoal dry from water and humidity to avoid the loss of quality. If you plan to keep charcoal a long time or live in a humid area, store it in an airtight container.

Gas Grills
Inside a gas grill, first there are the burners to create the heat. Above the burners, there needs to be a system to disperse the heat such as flavorizer bars, ceramic briquettes or lava rocks. Then come the cooking grates to place the food.

Better quality grills have two or more separate burners, not just control knobs, which allow for a greater control of heat. Inexpensive gas grills will have one H-shaped burner or bar, some with one or two control knobs. Keep in mind that grills with only one burner don't allow you to control the heat very well and will result in hot and cold spots on the cooking surface. While cooking, the juices from food drip down and sit next to the heat source until reaching a "flash point" and burn off. The best systems flash the droppings quickly and eliminate the chance for a flare-up while creating flavorful smoke.

Another feature to be aware of when looking for a gas grill are the BTU's (British Thermal Units). BTU's indicate the amount of gas a grill can burn - not its cooking power. A grill with too many BTU's can result in damage to the cooking elements and the grill itself. However, grills with fewer BTU's cook the food more efficiently. Just remember, a large grill with a large cooking surface capacity will need a higher number of BTU's.



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909.866.5761 Phone | 909.866.1006 Fax | 41860 Big Bear Blvd | Po Box 1569 | Big Bear Lake, CA 92315