Considered to be a classic and perfect for grilling, charcoal grills are the most economical. They come at a pretty affordable price range of $30 to $300. They come in different shapes and sizes. Their fuel source is charcoal briquettes often used in combination with wood chips or lump charcoal. This produces a strong smoky flavour.
You need to have a lot of practice to grill on these inherently slow cooking grills as it takes a long time to grill food on these type of grills and it is difficult to control the temperature. Bringing the charcoal grill to cooking temperature can take 20mins or more. Cleaning them up also takes time due to ash collection. There is also a danger of flare-ups. They are not thought to be environmentally friendly as well. Nonetheless, people go for these type of grills just for the exotic flavour of barbecued or grilled food.
The other most commonly used grills are the gas grills. You can get these grills in a cart-style form or build them permanently in your backyard for outdoor cooking. They come with a varying number of burners. They are also very economical, ranging from $90 for 2 burners to $1000 for 4 to 6 burners. You don’t have to spend too much time maintaining the cooking heat as they come with igniters to start the fire. Temperature can be controlled with dials for slow or fast cooking. Cleaning them up is much easier as you don’t have to dump the ashes.
Mostly, liquid propane is used as fuel which is also helpful in making these grills portable. However, there is a debate over the use of natural gas or propane because natural gas is cleaner, cheaper to use and presents no hassle of tank-filling. A drawback of using natural gas would be that you would not be able to take the grill anywhere. It will have to be a permanent installation. You do not get a smoky flavor with these grills either unless you buy a smoker box.
So, if you need to go for gas grills, you would be asking yourself how many burners should be there and which gas to use.
Electric grills are also quite convenient and affordable. They start from $50 and go up to $600 with better, high-end models. They can be used both outdoors or indoors as specified by the manufacturers. They come in different styles and forms like countertop, pedestal, kettle, open face, cart, etc. The latest addition to these grills is a flat-top griddle with no lid.
They are very easy to start as you just have to plug them to any standard nearby outlet and turn the control knob. However, they have the limitation of the power cord so they will only go as far as the cord’s length will take them. For outdoor cooking, you would need a power outlet in your backyard. In case you don’t have one, you’ll have to get yourself an extension cord. They are a superb option for those who live in apartments and cannot use gas or charcoal grills. However, like gas grills, these electric grills lack the smoky flavor.
If you choose to opt for these compact, easy to use and reasonably priced grills, you will have to compromise on the flavor and also think of the power consumption.
These are pretty pricey starting with $800 and going beyond $1,500. However, the heat provided by them is quite fast and high with temperatures going up to 700 ̊F. They look like cart-style gas grills powered by gas or liquid propane but they can also be electric. Whatever the starting mode, they cook in a very different manner. There is an electric or gas element that heats a solid surface and infrared waves emitted from the surface heat the food. So, you get a grill that heats up within minutes and provides even heat with no flare-ups.
These are also very pricey, starting from $350 and going up to $1300. They can work as a grill or smoker. Food grade wood pellets are used to heat the grill. You get the smoky flavor when the wood pellets burn. You can cook at low and slow heat or high heat as needed. You need a power source to start this grill as its fan to stoke a fire and the rate of wood pellets falling in the burn pot is controlled by a computer. Cleaning it is a hassle due to ashes of pellet burning.