Choosing a barbecue for this summer

Now that summer is in full swing, a great way to make the most of the fantastic weather is to throw a barbecue party for all your friends.   The smell of roasting meat over an open flame is the classic scent of the season.   However, there are a bewildering array of barbecues available and it helps to know which is which before you make your purchase.

There are basically two shapes when it comes to barbecues, flat grills and round kettle cookers.   Flat grills can be round or rectangular, but they all basically apply heat directly to the food from underneath, unless a hood is added.  Using a flat grill you have the potential to burn the outside of the food while failing to cook the inside, so it’s important that you regularly turn the food to let the heat penetrate all the way through the meat.

Round kettle cookers cook using indirect heat.   The heat source comes from the sides, and using convection spreads the heat all over the meat, creating a slower cook but a better overall roast.   This also allows the juices to stay trapped in the meat more efficiently, resulting in a succulent flavor that can be lost on the flat grill.

Now you’re ready to choose your heat source.    Electricity is obviously the easiest form of heating, since you simply plug it into the wall and go.    However, an electric barbecue won’t offer you the same flavor or satisfaction that cooking over an open flame will.  

Next up is gas grills.   You’ll need to buy a propane tank, and once the grill is lit, it heats up a number of natural stones which will in turn transfer the heat to your food.    This is a mostly smoke-free option, which can be good if you have over-sensitive neighbors.

In my opinion though, charcoal grills offer the best taste and the most authentic experience when it comes to making a real barbecue.   There are a couple of different kinds of charcoal, in different sizes, so shop around and find out which brand suits you best.  Large pieces of charcoal will burn a lot longer, but are harder to create an equally spread out heat with.   Your best bet is to use a mixture of small and large pieces if you are planning to grill for a couple of hours.

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July 21, 2012 – 4:26 PM - | Posted in Reviews | 1 Comment »

One Comment to “Choosing a barbecue for this summer”

  1. Thomas Murphy Says:

    I need a new barbecue, thanks for the advice.

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