Basics of a Gas Grill

The variety of sizes and styles of gas grills seems to be just about endless, and when you start to shop around for a new grill for your home barbecuing it can most definitely be a pain in the neck. Along with the many varieties of gas grills, you will also find specialty grills like smokers and fryers.

More than 75 percent of American households own some type of grilling device, so it makes complete sense that the variations are so vast.

While there are several options when it comes to fueling your barbecue(gas, charcoal, electric, fire) we are going to look mainly at gas grills and their components. Gas grills have become the most popular grill type due in large part to their efficiency and ease of use.

With a gas grill, from the time you ignite the burner to the time it is ready for grilling only moments have passed.

Compare this to a charcoal grill or electric grill which take much longer to prepare. This quick and easy preparation process makes it more convenient to cook on the grill. Gas grills also give the grill master more control over the entire cooking process.

Temperatures are much easier to control in a gas grill when compared to charcoal, temperatures can be raised or lowered easily with the twist of a knob.

Generally speaking, a grill will be made of several common components. First you will have the enclosure or cook box. The cook box should be made from a quality metal material. You want to be sure to invest in something that is relatively thick, because something that is too thin won’t hold heat as effectively as a thicker metal cook box.

The cook box will be supported by a cart or some type of cabinet. Nicer grills will give you more preparation area and offer ample storage. This cart is also where most grills house the propane tank. Inside the cook box is where you will find the most important components of your grill.

First you will notice the cooking grids on the top. This is the actual surface in which you meats will be cooked. This is the most important component in my opinion. They vary in size, shape and construction as well. Popular cooking grids include cast iron grids, stainless steel cooking grids and porcelain coated steel grids. Cast iron is popular because of its long life and effectiveness at retaining heat.

A high level of heat retention allows you to successfully sear your meats and also allows you to cook at lower gas outputs. This will help you save money in the long run because it requires less gas. Cast iron can be a pain in the neck to maintain at times and if not properly maintained is vulnerable to rust.

Stainless steel grids are my next favorite because they are durable, easier to maintain and are affordable. Stainless steel also does a good job at cooking your foods and retaining heat. Lastly we have porcelain coated steel grids.

Porcelain is vulnerable to chipping, and then rusting if you use improper utensils. I would recommend cast iron for the dedicated griller and stainless steel to the occasional griller.

Like everything else when it comes to grills, the burners also come in a huge variety. The burner is the heart of the grill. This is where the propane and air mix to form a flame. This is a crucial component because this is the heat source of your grill, without it you would be left with nothing more than an empty shell, which you could turn into a charcoal grill.

Having a quality burner is important because lesser materials are prone to what we call burn out. Investing in quality materials will pay off in the long run because you will not have to spend more money each season on replacement parts.

Here are a few other component that aren’t quite as important as cooking grids and burners. Warming racks mount above your cooking grid and expose meats to an indirect heat, giving you a good area to keep your foods warm, hence the name.

Heat plates are also a convenient feature as they work well at evenly distributing the heat of the open flame across the entire grilling surface. This helps to eliminate hot spots in your grill, giving you a more consistent cooking area.

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