Today’s backyard grilling is not your father’s no-nonsense attempt at heating up some dogs and burgers on a no-frills open-air backyard best gas grill.
It’s become much more of a fine-tuned skill set with highly specialized equipment to match. In fact, some grillers have elevated backyard cooking to a well-developed, even competitive art form.
But you don’t have to be a master this cooking method. Of course, practice helps, but so does having top-notch equipment.
Whether you’re in the market to stock a brand-new outdoor kitchen or simply want a new grill to cook on so you don’t have to heat up the kitchen during hot summer days, it’s helpful to learn about various brands and models and what features are available.
Once armed with that information, you can decide which designs will make the best gas grills for your budget.
• Size matters
Consumer Reports suggests purchasing model with a cooking area large enough to serve your family.
So, if you have a large family or frequently entertain groups of people, look for a grill with a primary cooking surface that can handle large quantities.
If you don’t need that much cooking surface or have limited space to store a grill, opt for a more compact version.
Weber Genesis 657001 S-330 Stainless-Steel 637-square-inch 38000-BTU LGPP
This sleek and elegant stainless steel design is capable of searing, low-and-slow grilling or simply warming up food. An electronic ignition system makes for easy lighting.
And with 507 square inches, the large grate holds either lots of individual servings or large cuts of meat.
A center-mounted thermometer in the grill’s hood gives cooks extra control by monitoring the interior temperature for you. Also, front-access to the grease tray/catch pan means easy cleanups.
Weber Genesis 6531001 E-330 637-square-inch 38000-BTU Liquid Propane
Each of the three main burners is capable of outputting 38,000 BTUs per hour, while a side burner boasts 12,000 BTUs and a sear station uses 10,000 BTUs.
To gauge heat, the shroud includes a center-mounted thermometer. The total cooking area consists of more than 630 square inches—500 in the main section and another 130 for a warming rack.
This model is housed in a steel cabinet and offers side shelves to hold condiments and other barbecuing accessories. Stash supplies behind painted steel doors.
Weber 47510001 Spirit E-310 NGG, Black
Gas grills are not known for great smoking results, but Weber’s Flavorizer Bars help recreate the effect. These bars are designed to vaporize dripping juices, which creates a flavorful smoke that permeates the food while it cooks.
This model includes these porcelain-enameled Flavorizer Bars as well as a total of 529 square inches of cooking area. A steel cabinet offers extra storage.
• Heat matters
Heat output for gas grills is measured in BTUs (British thermal units), and the more BTUs, the hotter a grill can go.
This is good to know when you want searing-hot direct heat to cook your food, like steaks. Of course, you also will want the ability to cook with indirect heat at times, like you would need to cook a whole chicken or turkey.
The design that works best for you is based on what you like to grill, but many products offer varying heat zones so you have built-in versatility.
Dyna Glo DGE530BSP-D 5-burner 62000 BTU with Side Burner
Five burners with 62,000 BTUs mean this grid is great for all kinds of cooking, from the hot-and-quick method to low and slow for hours.
Also, more than 700 square inches of total cooking area on three heavy gauge stainless steel grates will hold enough food to feed large groups when outdoor entertaining.
When it comes to propane gas grills, easy setup is priceless. The DynaGlo model features a convenient front access to the propane tanks with a pullout to make switching tanks hassle free.
DynaGlo DGE486SSP-D 4-burner 52000 BTU with Side Burner
Barbecuing is all about controlling heat, whether it’s hot to sear or low to smoke, so the last thing you want is a lid that thwarts your efforts to control temperature.
The DGE486SSP-D hood is double-walled—stainless steel on the outside and aluminized metal on the inside—to minimize heat loss.
The primary cooking area heats up with four burners of 52,000 BTUs and the side burner keeps food warm with 12,000 BTUs.
DynaGlo Bronze 60000 BTU 4-burner with Side Burner
Cast iron cooking grates direct more heat to your food, which is perfect for dishes that take well to caramelizing proteins, like burgers or steaks.
Four steel heat tents redirect vapors back onto the food for added grilling flavor. Large dials and a wide handle make operating this device super easy, and a bronze exterior blends beautifully in to just about any outdoor kitchen design.
• Convenience matters
For years now, serious backyard cooks have gone back and forth on which type — gas versus charcoal—produces better tasting results.
There are fans on each side who will hold steadfast to their arguments; however, most everyone agrees that gas grills are more convenient.
Startups take only a few minutes with the push of a button or turn of a knob opposed to setting up charcoal and waiting nearly half an hour before the coals are ready to cook your food.
Char-Broil TRU Infrared Urban GG with Folding Side Shelves
Infrared grilling technology turns the heat up, literally. This feature gives gas grills a heat boost to sear in super flavor.
The unit’s convenient size, including shelves that fold down, allow for grilling in multiple settings and a built-in storage unit helps free up valuable space.
A stainless steel lid and control panel require little to no maintenance other than an occasional cleaning.
Char-Broil Classic 480 40000-BTU 4 Burner GG with Side Burner
An electric ignition lights burners in a matter of seconds, so the grates are heated and good to go a few minutes later thanks in part to 40,000 BTUs.
Keep an eye on temperatures with a gauge mounted in the lid—no opening and closing required, which lets heat and flavorful smoke escape every time you lift it. Porcelain-coated grates are easy to clean between grilling sessions.
DynaGlo Smart Living 30000 BTU-2-burner Propane Gas Grill
A push of a button and minutes later this model is preheated and ready to cook. Although maybe smaller in size than other models, this grills produces big flavor with two enameled cast iron grates, two stainless steel p-shaped burners and two steel enameled heat tents.
For extra safety, two of the four wheel casters lock in place.
• Safety matters
Be sure to follow a few gas grill safety basics, such making sure there’s enough distance between this device and your home and having a fire extinguisher within reach in case of emergency.
However, there are a few other safety elements to consider when shopping for it. Consumer Reports suggests looking out for sharp corners or edges, the fewer the better.
Also make sure there’s enough space between the grill’s lid and its handle to avoid burning knuckles as you go to open it. Finally, give the unit a shake, literally, so see how well it moves and if it feels sturdy overall.
No. 1 Pick. Char-Griller 3001 Grillin’ Pro 40,800-BTU GG
Constructed out of steel, this straightforward model serves up anything you want to cook. The handle stays cool while the porcelain-coated cast iron grates heat up with 40,800 BTUs.
The side burner has another 12,000 BTUs to warm up barbecue sauce or melt butter or steam vegetables. Handy utensil hooks keep tools nearby without occupying valuable prep space on the side shelf.
No. 2 Pick. Coleman RoadTrip LXE PG
If you do some of your best grilling in the stadium parking lot right before the big game or surrounded by nature while taking the family camping, then you’ll love this compact, ready to go grill that fits in a car trunk.
When you reach your destination, wheel it out, unfold it, lock it in place, and ignite the matchless lighting system.
The 285-square-inch cooking area may not handle the Thanksgiving turkey, but it will accommodate plenty of hot dogs or bratwurst. A removable grease tray means quick cleanup so you can hit the road in a jiff.
No. 3 Pick. Char-broil Classic 300 30000 BTU 2-burner GG with Single Door
This compact model doesn’t skimp on features. Like the big guys, it packs plenty of heat with 30,000 BTUs. An electronic ignition system gets the burners going fast and 300 square inches of cooking areas are joined by another 120 square inches of a porcelain-coated swing away cooking surface.
When you’re done barbecuing and the grill has cooled, fold down the metal shelves and tuck it away until the next meal.
Keeping It Clean
Regardless of which device you think best suits your barbecuing needs, take a few moments to properly prep the unit for the first grilling of the year.
And when daily temperatures begin to drop and the leaves fall from the trees, invest a little time to winterize your grill for safe keeping during the colder months.