Man, it is here. Pollen, allergies, watery eyes and the sweet smell of BBQ grills and smokers lingering in the air. We are going to try to cover the gamut of cookers, grills and smokers and then work our way into cooking some excellent products on your grills. We will cover not only meats but vegetables and maybe even a desert or two.
So lets get started. Probably to date the most popular type of outdoor grill today is the gas grill. Its convenience and portability make it a great companion for backyard and camping endeavors. Many say the gas grill cannot produce the same quality product as a charcoal or wood smoker and for most practical purposes I have to agree with them. But there are things you can do to enhance the gas grill to produce products more similar to those of charcoal grills or wood smokers. We're going to talk about that later in the article.
When buying your first gas grill here are some tips for you to follow. The grill should be made of cast iron as it will be more durable and last longer. It should also have adjustable air holes. Make sure your grill has a minimum of 2 gas burners as this will allow you to have greater control of the heat and will also allow you to produce some indirect heating sources for slow smoking. For instance by turning only one burner on and placing the meat on the other side of the grill you have produced an indirect heat source. You can also place a water pan directly over the heat source side to produce the effect of water smokers.
Gas grills should also have a good diffusing material between the heat source and the grate of the grill itself. This is usually some type of lava rock. However, many now use metal or ceramic plates as an alternative. Remember one thing though, when your grill builds up grease there is a greater potential for fire hazards. I personally like the metal bar diffusers which are V shaped. They allow the grease to drip through and can help prevent flame ups.
Heat control valves are used to control the flow of gas to the grill. The preferable method is to find a grill that has heat control valves for each burner inside the grill. This allows for the greatest heat control when cooking. Also, never ever buy a gas grill without a thermometer gauge, and yes they do make them.
Finally, one important safety issue concerning propane and gas. Never use a propane grill on natural gas or vice versa. Do not attempt to convert a grill without discussing it with the manufacturer. The gas flow and the components are different for natural gas as it does not produce the high pressure of a portable propane system.
Gas grills offer several advantages for the backyard cooker. Convenience, quick temperature, constant temperatures, year round cooking, economical use, ease of use, and easy to shut down and clean. They are great for those quick grilled meals after work.