Every patio needs a grill, especially with the holidays coming up. Most people are familiar the gas or charcoal grills, but they may not know the advantages or disadvantages of them. You may not even know that a third option exists: pellet grills.
Charcoal grills generally provide more heat than other types of grills, and this allows you to sear meat better. They also provide plenty of smoke for smoking meats, and they can be arranged to provide indirect heat for slow cooking methods. Charcoal grills impart a lot of flavor into food. This is the classic smoky flavor of charcoal grills, but you can also use different wood briquettes to infuse different flavors into your grilled foods.
If there’s one drawback to charcoal grills, it’s maintenance. Charcoal grills take time to light, though the time can be lessened with a charcoal starter or charcoal chimney. You should clean your charcoal grill regularly and make sure that any accumulated ash or debris are cleaned out between cooking. You have to be extra careful not to send smoke flooding into your home when grilling with charcoal, as this can easily happen. Some municipalities, condo, homeowners associations, or apartment complexes might have restrictions on charcoal grills because of the generated smoke and fire risk.
Compared to charcoal grills, high-end gas grills can give you a run for its money in terms of performance. With infrared panels and specialty burners, some gas grills can get just as hot as charcoal grills. Some gas grills even have attached smoker boxes that you can use to create smoky flavors that mirror the taste of charcoal grilling. Of course, the primary advantage of cooking with gas is simplicity. Gas grills light easily and preheat quickly. They have precise temperature or flame controls, so maintaining the right temperature during grilling is much easier than with a charcoal grill. Gas also burns very cleanly, so smoke and maintenance are less of a concern than with a charcoal grill.
The least underrated and talked about grills are pellet grills. Pellet grills merge both the benefits of charcoal and gas grills. A pellet grill features a pellet hopper, which is filled with hardwood pellets — which come in different wood varieties for different flavors — and an automatic auger feeds the pellets into the firebox.
Most pellet grills ignite on their own, so you don’t have to worry about starting it. They also feature precise temperature controls that affect how quickly the pellets are fed into the hopper during grilling. Those temperature controls allow you to cook nearly any food on the grill, from seared stakes and wood-fired pizzas to slow-cooked brisket and baked desserts. However, pellet grills require maintenance. You have to empty the ash after each grill session. After about 50 hours of cooking, you will want to deep clean it.
If you’re in the market for a new grill, stop by the Tri-County Hearth & Patio showroom! We offer an extensive lineup of charcoal, gas and pellet grills, and our grill experts are ready to help you find your perfect grill.