No matter how new you are to grilling, you can achieve your local barbecue joint’s distinctive char and woody taste at home. This blog article dives into grills that suit beginners unwilling to compromise the authentic charred taste for convenience. Read on to the types of grills to determine what will suit your specific needs (and taste)!
What are the types of grills?
Although gas grills are faster to heat (10 to 15 minutes) and less of a hassle compared to charcoal grills (25 to 30 minutes), charcoal is still a better cook than gas. Here is why.
The heat provided by hot coals distribute not just to the grates but transfers to the air, resulting in uniform cooking of the meat to its core. On the other hand, the heat from gas grills chiefly transfers heat to the grates, not the air, and as a result, chars only the meat in contact with the grates and does not cook it evenly. Therefore, a charcoal grill cooks better with heated air plus grates than a gas grill with only heated grates.
About how gas versus charcoal cooks, some foods taste better when cooked in charcoal, such as thick cuts. So before choosing a grill, you need to consider what foods you plan to serve, as foods such as spare ribs and thicker cuts require low and slow grilling compared to simple meat like skewered barbecue and hamburgers.
Propane grills CAN also cook low and slow dishes that require indirect heat without an offset smoker that a charcoal grill features. Slow cook on a gas grill by doing the following:
- Turn up the fire and wait until it rises to 500-550 degrees Fahrenheit, which takes 10 minutes.
- Turn off the burners directly below the middle, where you will place the meat.
- Adjust the burners on each side of the food according to the recipe.
- Close the lid and allow the grill to come to the proper temperature.
- Place the thick cuts of meat on top of the grill of the turned-off burners.
But if you still prefer the flavour of charcoal and wood (like we do), you can count gas grills out of your options. There are a few precious ways to achieve the charred, smoky flavours of charcoal grills in gas grills. Yet, you can only get so close to its taste.
Now, charcoal grills may be better in heat distribution than propane grills, but the latter has the advantage in the cleanup. Gas grills only need to have their dipping trays removed. hen move on to scrubbing with a steel brush, while charcoal grills need to clear out their ashes before scrubbing down.
Gas grills are best for people who do not want to get their hands dirty with coal and ashes; only twist the gas gear and control the heat with the stove knobs. Gas grilling fits best for those who do not mind the smokier flavours charcoal grillers provide but want a fast and easy cook. Gas burners are ideal for newbie grillers with an extra budget to spend and plans to cook for ten or more people.
Cooking on an electric grill might be the healthiest, but you will miss out on the delicious, smoky flavours from a charcoal barbecue grill. Even so, electric grills can cook as much as can be cooked in propane or charcoal grills and fit condo and apartment dwellers or people who live alone. Electric grillers are also for the environment and health-conscious vegetarians who love the charred flavour minus the carcinogens of gas and charcoal.
In buying electric grills, you must look for the following:
- Grilling Space
- Cooking Performance
Get a dome-style cover grill with enough cooking surface for small-size rotisserie chicken. For burger patties and sausages, buying a small electric grill not smaller than 150 square inches in the cooking surface is a handy and practical investment, as you do not plan to cook large servings and are satisfied with the un-smoked flavour.
Although lacking in the smoked flavour and can only suit a party of five people maximum, electric grills have their perks. You can have barbecues indoors when it is too hot outside, when it is raining, or if you are lazy and do not want to prepare a charcoal grill. However, while enjoying the convenience, keep in mind its limitations to performance.
Getting a good sear in a charcoal grill differs vastly from an electric one. You will not get that classic char from an electric grill as from a smoker, and you still have to consider the time it can heat up in proportion to the grill top.
Calculate how many BTUs it uses up per the actual square inches of the grill. Higher is not better, in this case, and the BTU of electric grills should be between the standard 75 to 100 per square inch of the cooking surface. Lower than 71 BTUs could perform a long, slow cook. That is one thing to consider when thinking about how to cook your ribs and steaks. If you want to cook more burgers and sausages, consider getting one, at the very least, one with 80 BTUs for consistent heat. It still tastes different from food cooked on a charcoal grill, especially one cooked with wood.
Although, there are still ways to achieve the classic barbecue taste. Use wood chips and the built-in smoker box (this feature comes with most electric grills).
Follow the steps below:
- Preheat the grill until reaching the required temperature based on the recipe you follow.
- Fill the entire smoker box with wood chips—filling it up completely smokes your food throughout cooking. Then, place the smoker box over its heating receptacle.
- Cover the grill and let it smoke for ten minutes. After that, you can start grilling.
How easy to clean an electric grill is depends on the removable parts: the top plate and drip tray. The top plate must be nonstick. These days, the grills come in nonstick stainless steel or porcelain-enamelled cast iron. Look for electric grills with dishwasher-safe parts.
Grilling newbies on a budget are good to go with an electric grill since it requires less elbow grease and maintenance. In addition, electric grills, for the most part, are apartment-approved with less to zero smoke that will not sound the fire alarms, and the smell won’t cling to your walls.
For beginners, we recommend using a charcoal grill. First, it’s cheaper than propane grills, has options for portability, and has smaller-size options like the charcoal kettle grill.
A charcoal grill requires a bit of work, but contrary to the popular opinion that firing up charcoal is hard, it is simple!
A chimney starter can eliminate the need for lighter fluid when preparing the grill. Put in the coals, light up a paper, lay underneath the starter, and wait until the coals turn ashy white and glowing before pouring them under the grill. Who says igniting the coals is a hassle?
After prepping, the next thing to do is to control the temperature by opening and closing the air vents. Buy a charcoal grill with vents on the top and bottom for regulating air intake.
This kind of grill is what we recommend for grilling meats, such as spare ribs, steak, fish, and other seafood, since you can add flavours using wood. There are limitations in taste and aroma with a propane grill, but none with a charcoal grill—since you can experiment with wood types while cooking various foods.
Some things to consider in cooking with a charcoal grill:
Should I Use Charcoal or Wood as Fuel?
It is best to use both charcoal and wood. Charcoal is only for the heat, but wood brings flavour. Use both by burning the charcoals and then placing the wood chunks on top to get the woody flavour on your meat.
What Kind of Wood Should I Use?
It varies per food. The top choice in picking wood for fish and he top choice is Alder wood since it brings out a mildly sweet flavour. It’s neutral of all hardwoods and is not overpowering. Try Sicklebush and Kameeldoring firewood for longer and steady burns.
What Wood is Best for Fish?
Sweet woods like Maplewood, applewood, and cherry wood, are best for grilling shark fish, salmon, and trout and can be combined with oak, cedar, and hickory.
Mix and experiment with different wood types in grilling seafood since not all fishes are the same. Play up the combinations and take note of them with the resulting flavours.
What Wood is Best for Spare Ribs and Steak?
In grilling beef steak, cherry and applewood chunks or chips produce pleasant flavours, but if you like it strong, go for the crispy sear that oak gives. Oakwood provides a stable heat temperature for the long cook. Heavier and denser hardwoods like Kameeldoring and Sekel wood are for longer braai or barbecue cookouts.
Use mesquite wood for Texas-style barbecue flavour and for grilling red and dark meat, as it gives out bold, earthy flavours, but take caution in using too much since mesquite is overpowering during long cooks. You can also grill spare ribs and St. Louis-style back ribs with mesquite. Since hardwoods burn longer than softwoods, it is well-tested to use them when grilling spare ribs. However, applewood, despite being a softwood, is also common for grilling ribs because of its mildly sweet flavour. Just make sure you have enough stock for the 3-2-1 long cooking method.
An offset smoker is an extension of a charcoal grill where you put the charcoal and wood while you place the food in the main compartment to cook. Offset smokers indirectly cook thicker slabs of meat, such as ribeyes and steak. It is best to use indirect heat—to cook with no heat underneath the food when it comes to thick cuts—to give them plenty of time to cook to the core.
Charcoal grills are the best for cooking steaks and ribs. Consider getting a charcoal grill with an offset smoker for the low and slow cook of steaks.
Kamado grills have consistent heat because of their thick ceramic walls to reach high temperatures of up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit, unlike the oven, which can only reach 500 degrees. It works because the heat from refined lump charcoal (different from ordinary lump coal) transfers to the ceramic and the air. So you can grill, but with its heat retention, it can also bake cakes, loaves of bread, and pizzas.
The magic of the kamado grill lies in the heat convection inside while it gets hotter. The design cooks the food evenly; all you have to do is open and close the air vents to regulate the temperature.
To cook on a Kamado grill, fire up the charcoal by soaking a tissue towel with oil and placing it underneath the firestarter filled with lump charcoal. Place it inside the Kamado and wait until it reaches the required temperature.
Usually, lump charcoal can have impurities unmindfully unfiltered by manufacturers, so you cannot use ordinary lump charcoal on a Kamado grill since this will cling to the coating of the ceramic and mess up the taste of your food.
Size can vary according to your needs. Kamado grills use special lump charcoal that may add to your expenses, particularly labelled and singled out as “hardwood lump charcoal,” “all-natural,” or “100%.”
Kamado grills are slightly more expensive than others, but they offer thrilling features for those who enjoy cooking and baking.
The Kamado can be at the top, but is there something better?
All grill lovers and pitmasters will love the Everdure 4K grill by Michelin-star chef Heston Blumenthal. Its name celebrates the 4,000 years man has been cooking in ceramic Japanese Kamado-style grills. Taking inspiration from that, Heston, in partnership with Everdure, combined ceramic oven-slash-grill cooking and improved it to perfection to a modern, digital cooker with just a click, accurate temperature control.
How does the 4K perfectly grill? The airflow control system alone makes it in a league of its own. Top and bottom vents with numbers guarantee simple temperature control and balanced airflow.
The 4K can reach cooking temperatures from a low and slow 230 degrees to a blistering 725 degrees Fahrenheit. This impressive temperature range makes the 4k versatile enough to cook everything from a brisket for a BBQ night to a pizza with the 18″ grilling surface.
What sets the 4K from the Kamado and every grill apart is you can have a precise food temperature. Insert the four removable stainless metal food probes inside the meat. It provides an internal check. The two air temperature probes in the hood determine the heated air’s temperature.
You can easily control ALL functions on the LED digital control panel in front of the 4K. Lower and slow smoke, roast, grill, and bake. In this manner, you can sit back in your backyard and watch the game or read a book. Relax, but you won’t have to wait long as it efficiently cooks and heats in only ten minutes with its fast flame ignition system. So no need for firestarters since the hi-tech cooker electrically ignites the charcoal!
The double-walled heat-insulated body shields all exterior parts from reaching extreme temperatures so you won’t burn your hand and keeps it cool-to-touch. This feature, paired with an auto-locking hood, makes it safe to use around pets and children.
The 4K grill is amazingly innovative for all newbies and elite grillers. This is ideal for those who want to skip the hassle of charcoal grilling. It is also best for those keen on food cooked to perfection.
As a beginner who doesn’t skimp on charcoal or wood, you now have solid choices of which grill to buy. All that is left is determining what fits your budget and space. As mentioned, lighting up a charcoal grill is simple, unlike what gas grill champions say. The cleanup requires a bit of toil. Yet, we can testify that the taste of charcoal grills is worth it.
Investing in a spacious electric grill is the most practical choice. It is for those who prefer healthy grilling and mostly cook vegetables. Space-wise, an electric grill is an option for those who live in apartments and areas where smoke grilling is prohibited.
Overall, the best grills are easy to set up, give excellent chars, and are easy to control the temperature. Then, of course, we have the ceramic Kamado and 4K. These are, by far, the most innovative grillers on the market. These are top-notch, zero-regret investments for those who plan to bake and grill.
Now that you know the unmatchable griller—the 4K—get one yourself. Check it out on our website for your next braai or cookout. You can also consider our other Anthracite grillers and ovens as your options featured on our website if the 4K does not fit your budget.
So, what do you plan to get? Comment your thoughts below. If a friend wants a grilling guide, click share and send this post!