Stuck over which BBQ Gas Grill is right for you? We took an in-depth look into what’s hot and what’s not in the world of Gas Grills to help you make an informed decision. In this article you will get all the information you will ever need on Gas Grills.
Finding the best BBQ grill for you is a tricky business. Whether you want to eat on the back patio all summer long or host the most epic of BBQ gatherings – your success will largely depend on the aptitude of your grill.
If you have come this far then you have already narrowed the choice down to the best Gas BBQ you can find… so read on and we will guide you through making that all-important decision.
Gas Grills: How Much do They Cost?
A cheap, portable, camping gas grill comes in at around the $30 mark, with family grills anything from $100-$400 and bigger models (for bigger events) between $700-$900. If you want a state-of-the-art, no holds barred, all action gas grill with all the trimmings – expect to pay up to $5,000 (Home Cost Helper).
What Fuels A Gas Grill (Propane or Natural Gas)?
Unlike Charcoal Grills, Electric Grills or Smokers Gas Grills depend on Gas fuel to operate, the most common of which is propane.
Now, unless you are dealing with a miniature, portable gas grill there is a high chance this means you need to buy the propane tank outright from a hardware store (or your nearest Home Depot). The first time you buy your propane will be the most expensive as you need to buy the tank. Afterwards you should be able to refill it, making it fairly cost effective over time.
Natural gas can also be used instead of propane but this usually requires either a BBQ gas grill designed to use natural gas or a natural gas converter. We found this article (The Family Handyman) on how to convert your Gas Grill to accept natural gas if you want to try it. However, we would recommend that you leave conversion to trained technicians and stick to what you have… or invest in a new one! You can never have too many gas grills, we always say!
Natural gas is known as Methane (Britannica) and is harvested from farms and produced in landfill sites. It is a Greenhouse Gas. It is relatively non-toxic but is extremely flammable and both it and Propane (Wikipedia) should be handled with care. While Methane is produced naturally, Propane is a substance created when natural gas is processed.
In terms of what you need for your gas grill, Propane (or butane) will burn hotter and longer, but Methane is slightly better for the environment and has been processed less. The choice is yours; but current market trends are seeing a popularity surge (Fox Carolina) in natural gas grills.
How Hot Does A Gas Grill Get?
So, how hot will a gas grill get? A gas grill will get up to 600 degree Fahrenheit!
An easy method to determine the heat without a thermometer is by putting your hand about 3 inches over the grill. Then you just count the seconds how long it will take until you pull back your hand. About 2 seconds means a temperature of about 500 to 600 degree, about 3 seconds means that the grill is at about 400 degree.
How Many BTU Do I Need To Grill?
A rule of thumb is to look for about 90 BTU per square inch of the cooking suface.
You may hear the term BTU (that’s British Thermal Units) being bandied about when Gas Grills are the topic of conversation. A BTU rating relates to how high the BTU is to how much cooking space you have.
A higher BTU means your grill will burn hotter but different parts of the grill might have different BTU’s. For more information on this very mathematical aspect of gas BBQ’s you can visit the BBQ Depot. In the meantime, just know that the higher the BTU, the quicker your grill will heat up.
Lighting Your Gas Grill
- Your Gas needs to be connected and the tap turned on
- You need to make sure that the lid is open (gas can build up under it!)
- Light it with the auto-ignite most gas grills have
Before buying a grill, consider that most BBQ types have a manual lighting system that takes a long time to prepare. The beauty of the gas grill is that it should light with the click of a button… if everything is connected properly. Your Gas needs to be connected and the tap turned on. Some models have a manual lighting mechanism as well as the auto-ignite function just in case the auto-ignite fails. If you have just purchased a gas grill and the auto-ignite isn’t working, take it back. You may have a faulty product and gas is nothing to be messed with!
When you first light your gas grill you need to make sure that the lid is open. Gas can build up under the lid and you should always be aware of this. It is fine to keep it closed while the BBQ is off; while the gas is flowing you should try to keep the lid open. That being said, certain chefs swear by closing the lid to cook specific foods. ATCO have more on this if you wish to learn.
The best part of the gas grill is that you don’t need to wait for hours for the coals to burn white before you cook – making the Gas BBQ grill a firm favorite among pros. If you really are new to all this and you need more help lighting your new grill – visit Grill Stuff and follow their advice.
Zoning With a Gas Grill…?
Zoning is when you create two different temperatures within your gas grill in order to cook two different foods at the same time, without burning anything. You can do it in a gas grill, but it relies upon convection and therefore you need to use the lid and close it now and again to circulate the heat.
When zoning on a gas grill, have only one flame lit, and a separate burner off. Place meats that will cook quickly in the ‘off’ zone and meats that take a long time over the burner. When you close the lid it will all cook… just keep an eye on that grill for burning.
Some Gas grills will have two or more burners to make zoning possible. Others lack this feature.
What is The Size of a Gas Grill?
Some gas BBQ’s are huge (up to 1,200 sq. inches), some are small. Some are meant for outdoor garden parties and some are meant for feeding a family of four. Size does matter when it comes to how many steaks you can cook at once. Obviously your budget will affect how much space you can afford – but the bigger the better, especially when the neighbors pop over in summer.
Another important factor is the number of burners a gas grill offers, since that is also what determines if zoning is possible, or not.
What Materials Is A Gas Grill Made Of?
The construction materials used to create your gas grill will factor into the cost. Stainless steel is the most pricey but is also what the pro caterers use. Aluminum, sheet metal and cast iron are also used, but iron rusts, metal oxidizes and, strangely, aluminum is likely to outlive them all, despite being cheaper than steel (The Spruce Eats).
If you are buying big, commercial style grills or you want to feed the masses then go for aluminum or stainless steel. There is no point in spending big money for a product that won’t stand the test of time.
Alternatively invest in a cast iron model and keep it protected from the weather. It is likely that you will need to scrub the rust from it at least once a year.
What About Maintenance?
Your Gas Grill is likely to need a thorough scrub once or twice a year, depending on how often you use it. Bear in mind that a clean grill will allow a non-stick surface for your meat. Charring adds flavor but it also makes your food stick.
Make sure you understand how to connect and disconnect the gas, as well as how to take it apart and clean it all. If you are worried about cleaning your grill for the first time we found this instructional YouTube video to help you, courtesy of The Home Depot (who sell a lot of Gas Grills).
Gas Grills have a lot of extra features and optional add-ons for those willing to spend. Infrared Burners (Consumer Reports) are a favorite since they provide the best in heat and efficiency, as are Vaporizer bars (Amazon) or Lava Rocks, both of which are used to create an extra added helping of delicious smokey flavoring.
Other, more typical special features of a gas BBQ are:
- The grill – or the basic cooking surface – should always be included in a new purchase.
- Porcelain enamel grills are a step up from the normal grill, with a slick coating that won’t crack.
- Additional burners – because why have one when you could have three?
- Lids – not all grills have lids included so be sure to ask. A lid helps air circulate and helps keep your gas grill safe, so be sure to get one.
- Storage – some BBQ’s will have shelves, usually underneath or to the sides, to give you some working surfaces. The bigger the model the more space… the bigger the price!
- Warming Racks – warming racks are an area without heat above the cooking food that allows you to keep food warm while more cooks.
- Thermometer – temperature indication should be available as standard. It is much easier to control temperature in a gas grill than in other types.
- Drip trays – some BBQ’s will collect dripped fat and you can dispose of it safely.
Pros of a Gas Grill BBQ:
- Higher temperatures, faster!
- Good Zoning control.
- Built to be extra safe.
- Can go as big as you like!
- Often come with guarantees and warranties.
- Can be easily portable for camping.
Cons of a Gas Grill BBQ:
- Not very Eco-friendly.
- Not the best grill for a beginner.
- Gas explodes if left in the sun – be careful!
- Can be pricey… but totally worth it.
Brands and BBQ’s We Love!
There are some big names in BBQ Gas Grills and if you choose from among our top three brands you won’t go wrong for a high quality model. Our top brand overall is Weber, who provide some of the best BBQ tech in the USA today. According to the 2019 review by Product Expert they have not only won the top spot for product reviews in 2019 so far, they also occupy the second spot as well. The Weber Spirit Liquid Propane Gas Grill won best overall while the Weber Genesis Propane Gas Grill with 3 burners took a close second.
Our second best brand is Coleman, who are known for their outdoor products that are built to last. In third place we tossed and turned between Char-Broil and Lynx… while one is for families, the other is for professionals, so really the third spot depends on what you want from your BBQ. If you need it for a pro kitchen go Lynx, if you want it for backyard indulgence go Char-Broil.
Budget: Best Value and Most Extravagant
For those shopping on a budget the Char-Broil Classic 280 2-Burner Liquid Propane Gas Grill is a suitable model with ample work surfaces. It heats up quickly and comes with a lid and storage enough to get you started for under a hundred dollars. It’s fairly durable and comes with reasonable reviews. For the most luxurious model with all the best features we would recommend you browse through Lynx products. The Lynx L36ASFR-LP comes with everything you will ever need to grill.
Camping and Tailgating Gas BBQ Grills
We found that the Coleman Road Trip Propane Portable Gas Grill is one of the best models to take camping or tailgating with you. However, Popular Mechanics voted the Char-Griller Akorn Jr. as their top number one, and it’s nothing if not stylish and compact.
Choosing the right Gas Grill for you is a complex process, with lots of aspects we’d bet you had never even thought of before! Now that you are a little more enlightened, please feel free to share our guide with friends who may be just as confused as you were!
We hope we have managed to navigate you a few steps closer to finding the right Gas Grill BBQ for you. Don’t forget to bookmark our page and visit us again in future to find out more about all things Grill.