One of the greatest backyard activities is a cookout! Everyone loves the opportunity to gather and enjoy a great meal cooked on the grill. Whether it’s hot dogs or a steak or even something more elaborate, few things can match the atmosphere of gathering for a barbecue.
While basic charcoal or gas grills are the most familiar types of barbecue grill, they are just a couple of examples of what’s available. There are many more types of grills that let you broaden your range of how to prepare a meal. Did you know that you can cook everything from brisket to flatbread with a grill?
Let’s look at some types of grill, from the familiar to the exotic. With these options, you can make a more-informed choice based on what you want to cook!
How Is The Grill Fueled?
The two most popular types of fuel for a barbecue grill are charcoal and propane. But it’s possible to have a natural gas connection as well. There are even electric grills. With any type of fuel, there is a huge range of levels of sophistication in the grills themselves.
Charcoal grills can be the simplest and are appreciated for the smoky flavor they add to food. On the other hand, they are harder to clean because of all the ash that’s left behind.
Gas grills offer convenience – a tank of propane will last a lot longer than a bag of charcoal. If you hook it up to your natural gas line, you’ll even have a continuous supply. You can add a smoker box to many gas grills to produce the smoky flavor that comes from charcoal. Gas is generally cheaper than charcoal, and of course, there’s much less cleanup to worry about.
The greatest benefit of electric grills is that they’re generally small and easy to move. As far as grills go, they’re not that great. But if you’re stuck in a place where you can’t have an open flame and still want to “cook out”, they can serve as a useful alternative.
Different Grills For Different Results
There are also various functions a grill can perform. While gas or charcoal can make a difference in taste, these varieties of grill really focus on what you can cook and how you cook it.
By a closed grill, we mean one that has a lid that can be pulled down over the food. Although they may exist, we haven’t seen any gas grills without a lid. With charcoal, there are basic entry-level grills without lids, but these are designed mainly for portability so you can take them to the park or campground.
Closing the lid creates a perfect environment for food that needs to be cooked more slowly. It can also be great for larger pieces of meat since the lid traps the heat. That also makes it great when you don’t want to apply too much direct heat to the food. Instead of the cooking coming from the flames, the heat circulates under the lid so that the hot air cooks the meat.
When you put the lid down, you can count on meat cooking through to its center. You’ll also have a richer, smokier taste penetrating the meat. It’s definitely the best way to go for many dishes!
On the other hand, an open grill is perfect for some barbecue favorites. Meats that are cut thinner and that can support direct heat turn out delicious with this type of grill.
Among the best meals to cook on an open grill are hot dogs, hamburgers, and steaks. But fish filets and kebabs also cook great this way.
It’s not to say that these can’t be cooked with a closed lid. But they don’t take long to finish, so there’s no added benefit to it.
Of course, when we say open grill, we’re also including most grills that have a lid. You only need to leave the lid open.
Kamado or Tandoor Grills
Tandoor and Kamado grills may be the least-known grill types on our list. The kamado style hails from Japan while the tandoor grill originated in India. Both have long been used across Asia. More recently they’ve made a worldwide splash.
These grills work on a principle similar to closed grills by allowing heating to circulate. However, they rely on ceramic sides to the grill, creating radiant heat.
They offer the benefits of both direct and indirect cooking. A vertical spit is often used rather than a horizontal one, as would be the case in a rotisserie. But even the walls of these grills can be used as a cooking surface; they make a great way to cook flatbreads!
One of the big drawbacks of these grills, though, is their weight. The ceramic liner really makes them cumbersome, and weigh in from 80 to 500 pounds -.not exactly easy to move around.
Smoked meat is absolutely delicious, and getting it just right means you’ll need the proper equipment. The taste and tenderness are just amazing!
While you can get a bit of a smoky taste with a closed grill, it’s not enough when the goal is a real smoked meat.. When you want your meat to be tender and rich with flavor, a smoker is the way to go.
Some grills allow you to add a smoker attachment, or you can buy a dedicated smoker for preparing your roasts, briskets, and more.
Finally, we’ll mention rotisserie grills. Like many other options, it’s possible to get a rotisserie as an accessory. However, you can also buy a grill designed for this function.
Rotisserie is great for larger pieces of meat, like a rib roast or an entire chicken. It’s unlikely you’ll have to turn the spit by hand; that’s a thing of the past. Most are automated, helping create an even cooking through the meat.
A rotisserie is a great way to cook when you don’t want too much direct heat. The spit keeps your food away from the flame but in the heat while it turns slowly to keep it rich and delicious.
A barbecue grill can be one of the main features of your stamped concrete patio and backyard area. It’s great to be aware of the many options out there and choose the one(s) that best suit your cooking goals. This list is just a start and we hope it will point you in the right direction. Be sure to invite us over to enjoy the cookout!