I was given a small propane BBQ as a gift about 15 years ago, and quickly discovered that I loved cooking on it. But when a good friend told me they were looking for a BBQ, I gave mine to them in a heartbeat. Life was getting busy, and I didn't have much time to use it anymore.
That was 3 years ago. But now that I'm spending lots of time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I've felt a craving to cook on a BBQ again. Admittedly, I originally wanted a much larger propane BBQ to replace the one that I gave away. However, my priorities have changed a lot over the past 3 years.
Everyone is different, but here are the top 6 features that I'm looking for in a BBQ when I buy one this year:
1. Powered by electricity
This was something I would have never considered until very recently. I must admit it's very hard to justify buying a BBQ powered by some sort of fossil fuel (propane, natural gas, charcoal) when most parts of the world are trying to reduce their carbon footprint. Unfortunately, this personal choice limits my selection of BBQ's immensely, but it's important for me.
2. Cooking surface area
If you are like me, I like having company over when I cook on the grill. That means it's important to have a larger cooking surface area so you are able to cook more food simultaneously. If you want to cook for at least 4 people, consider buying one with a minimum cooking surface area of 200 square inches.
3. Power rating
Many homes in North America have 15 amp electrical breakers/fuses in their electrical panels. This means that the maximum theoretical power rating of an appliance plugged into your electrical outlet is 1,800 Watts. Most plug-in residential appliances are never rated that high due to the risk of tripping your breaker, or blowing your fuse, but it's something to consider when buying an electric BBQ.
Needless to say that the higher the wattage rating, the faster the BBQ will heat up, and the higher temperatures the BBQ can cook with! Look for one that has a rating of just under 1,800 Watts. This converts to roughly 60,000 BTU.
4. Type of grate
There are three main types of grates each with advantages and disadvantages:
- Cast iron
- Stainless steel
If you want a non-stick grate, look for one with a coating. This time, I'm going to look for a BBQ with a porcelain-coated grate for a change. This type of coating can chip off, so it's best to avoid using metal utensils on it.
When you finish cooking, it's important to stow away your BBQ. If the unit comes with a stand, check to see if it has rollers, and that it is not too heavy. Because everyone is different, the definition of "heavy" for one person is not that same as for another. Common sense will have to prevail when you choose your BBQ.
6. Cooking cover
Lastly, make sure your BBQ has a cover that can be closed when you are cooking. If you can close the cover when cooking, you have the ability to add wood chips and to the grill and provide a bit of smoke-flavor to your food.
I hope this guide was useful for you.
Please stay home, and stay safe. Thanks for reading!
Photo (cropped) by Dragne Marius on Unsplash