Buying a new Grill

Discussion in 'Community' started by Neserk, Jun 14, 2004.

  1. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    #1
    Any thoughts? We live in an apartment so it can't be huge and our budget is small, so under $200. Wondering what people have/use and what they like etc.
     
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #2
    It depends a lot on how often you plan to cook out and how much you need to cook.

    I've had a number of grills, good and bad. Aften moving to our new (new to us, not even remotely new to the world) house, and after having given away our last grill (to someone who stored some of our stuff), I needed a grill one evening for dinner. I ran to the store and bought one of those cheap $20-$30 propane grills, thinking I'd replace it with a "real" one ASAP. As it turns out, it does a bang-up job on everything my family of three needs. Might even work for a larger family with young kids. So, for now, I'm happy with it - and surprised that I'm happy with it. The small size and low cost mean I don't have to worry too much if anything happens to it, or if I decide to throw/give it away.

    However, if I were buying a "real" one, one feature I'd look for, having had it, is a side burner. You might not think you need it, but, on hot summer days, that burner is fantastic for cooking things that otherwise would heat up the kitchen and typically dump a bunch of steam into it as well.

    Avoid electric grills unless you typically have little wind where you are. They tend to heat more slowly and tend to lose their heat in moderate breezes. Otherwise, they're very nice - no propane, no charcoal, just a plug. No fire hazard. Nice therefore for apartments.

    In my opinion, those cheap lava rocks that come with many grills do nothing. They seem to only absorb grease and make a LOT of mess whenever you want to move the grill to another site more than a few feet away (i.e., when you're moving). Some people must like them. Otherwise, I can't see why they keep including them. I prefer a simple heat shield.

    If you can afford a grill with better than the standard cheap steel grid - like porcelain or iron - it works better. Not a "need" but a "want".

    Thermometers are also a nice touch. Again, not necessary, but helpful.

    Also, heavier is better when it comes to the grill casing - it retains heat better, although it does take longer to warm up.

    In an apartment, if you're not a fanatic about having the perfect grill and it's not too cold/windy where you live, an electric grill is nice in that you don't have flamable/explosive things on a small balcony which is also typically your secondary escape route. Otherwise, propane is much better than charcoal (maybe not from a 'taste' standpoint, but definitely from an 'easier to use' one).
     
  3. FlamDrag macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Location:
    Western Hemisphere
    #3
    Also depending on what you want to do, you should consider the George Foreman "grill". It's in your price range and makes quick work of everything. A chimp could cook a nice juicy chicken breast on this thing. It's great.

    However, it's not the same for parties etc.

    I think that a full size Weber charcoal grill might be over your budget, but the mini-Weber's should fit nicely. The ONLY problem is that they are super easy for petty thieves to steal from an Apt. The small Weber grills can cook 4 burgers nicely.

    Propane v. Charcoal is a highly subjective desire. I grew up on Charcoal grills, so if my food doesn't come off the grill with that charcoal taste, then I don't see the point in grilling. :) Different strokes for different folks. The above poster is correct, propane is less of a hassle (aside from making sure that you have enough propane dealers locally to make it easy to refill).

    Cheers.
     
  4. krimson macrumors 65816

    krimson

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2003
    Location:
    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia
    #4
    How big is your balcony? I think that may dictate what choices you have. If you do get one of those mini-webers, make sure it has a good set of legs.

    Personally, i'd go with an adjustable grill (height), defiantely charcoal... if I really had a choice, i'd go with a full smoker, but that's out of your budget.
     
  5. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #5
    It's been a long time since I've used charcoal. What are the benefits? I remember it as being really messy. Is the flavor that much better? Is there an easy way to get rid of the ashes?
     
  6. krimson macrumors 65816

    krimson

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2003
    Location:
    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia
    #6
    I think (hank) is full of it... back in when I was a Scout, we'd make "propane eggs" for breakfast.. you could literally taste the propane.

    I normally use a mix of UNSOAKED briquettes and actual wood charcoal, it's harder to manage, but it does give a much better "BBQ" flavor. I use a chimmney starter instead of fluid, because the fluid tastes terrible.

    There are benefits to both, propane is easier to control (steady temps for cooking larger pieces of meat) for example. Charcoal tastes better, but takes longer to prepare.

    For ash, i just let it burn itself out, and then put it in a bag and toss it in the trash.
     
  7. medea macrumors 68030

    medea

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2002
    Location:
    Madison, Wi
    #7
    Well if you live in an apartment you may not be allowed to use propane, it is considered a fire hazard in my complex so you should check on that first. If you can not then I recommend whatever charcoal Weber grill you can afford. By far the best grills on the market.
     
  8. denm316 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Philadelphia
  9. Dros macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    #9
    I prefer a Weber charcoal grill. Mine was $79, plus $10 for a cover, plus a big can to make a charcoal chimney starter. Definitely don't use lighter fluid!

    That said, I would only get the charcoal grill if you enjoy the process. Gas grills are easier, and if you don't care about how your charred bits taste, or don't care about cooking with indirect heat and lots of smoke, then they are the way to go. But charcoal grills are cheap, a chimney will get the coals going in the time it takes gas to heat up, and it is more fun.

    Some places frown on burning materials as well, so if you live where smoke gets trapped by an inversion, then non-charcoal may also be better.
     
  10. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #11
    Oh, please. I had the USB 1.1 version, and it was terrible. Might warm a cooked burger, maybe, but I don't think even the USB 2.0 version can cook anything. I ended up paying $20 more for the Firewire 800 version - now THAT puppy can cook. I've got it sitting in front of my G5, so the internal fans suck in and spread that burger smell throughout the office. Yum!
     
  11. saabmp3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    #12
    I just got a Char-Broil small (140) grill from Home Depot and so far it's working great for us. It's not the same as the big ones with nice surfaces and lava rocks (which I personally like when used correctly) but is pretty reliable, heats evenly and can cook some juicy meat.

    BEN
     
  12. poopyhead macrumors 6502a

    poopyhead

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2004
    Location:
    in the toe-jam of greatness (Fort Worth)
    #13
    Where I live all grills 'cept electric are not allowed in or arround apts
    so
    to skirt the law and get a grill that actually cooks
    I bought a charbroil patio caddie (propane)
    it comes in both electric and propane (i told my apt people that it was electric)
    is made for apts
    has a small foot print and is tip proof
    http://www.charbroil.com/grills/patio_caddie.asp
     
  13. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #14
    I love my Thermos Grill2Go. They even have a version now with a cooler as the base.
     
  14. krimson macrumors 65816

    krimson

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2003
    Location:
    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia
    #15

    Yumm... burger grease all over the insides of your G5... that's mouth watering! :rolleyes: :)
     
  15. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #16
    There are two benefits: (1) I get the delicious smell of burgers even when not cooking one; and (2) the grease seems to actually enhance the heat transfer of my pre-liquid-cooled G5. A win all around.

    And if you believe that, I've got a used George Foreman USB 1.1 iGrill for sale. Cheap. ;)

    On a more serious note, I do agree that charcoal is better, having (since my first post in this thread) actually had a burger made by a neighbor on his new charcoal grill (excellent timing on his part). Much better tasting.

    However, for apartments, perhaps not practical. I guess it all depends on what Neserk can use/get away with.
     
  16. krimson macrumors 65816

    krimson

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2003
    Location:
    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia
    #17
    no thanks, i prefer using the heatsink to cook my burgers.
     
  17. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #18
    Weber 22" if you're going the charcoal route. If you want gas, the Weber Genesis Silver A got the highest reccomendation in last summer's edition of Cook's Magazine (published by the same folks that put out Consumer Reports) in their testing. They recommended it on the evenness of it's heating, it's ability to drain fat and ease of cleaning the grease trap. Unfortunately it retails for about $350, but if you are in the market for a gas grill (personally I have one of each) it is a great deal. The sub-$200 market in gas grills leaves something to be desired, from thin grates that can't hold heat or sear well to grease traps that overflow to heat production that is less than stellar.

    A few things... gas will never get as hot as charcoal, so searing on a gas grill takes longer and isn't as crispy as coals. Gas grills are nearly impossible to use for barbeque as opposed to grilling. The constant low heat required to do ribs right is tough to get on a gas grill in my experience. A charcoal grill will do that nicely if you build your fire, bank it to one side and make sure the air vent is on the opposite side. Gas grills are super convienient though.

    If I were only going to have one grill, it would have to be a round Weber 22" charcoal one with one of those $5 chimney starters. Gas is a nice luxury.

    Just my $.02.

    Que it up!
     
  18. evoluzione macrumors 68020

    evoluzione

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    down the road, that's where i'll always be
    #19
    charcoal all the way....gas is for pussies. :)

    i don't see the point of using anything but charcoal, otherwise it just isn't right, why bother??? charcoal is NOT difficult to use, or to light, it's easily regulated with air, wonderful technology that. it tastes much better too. don't waste your money on briquettes, they smell bad, and yeah they're easy, but what are ya? a man or a mouse?

    get as big as you can fit/afford. then you can cook over low heat too (have the charcoal at one end, cook on ethe other...) preferably have a grill that has a built in thermometer in the hood, it's useful for cooking stuff like chicken, and lamb. if possible, get one with a height adjustable charcoal tray, again making it easier to regulate heat.


    simple is the way to go...and try and find charcoal that is natural and eco-friendly, i.e. waste from flooring companies etc...all it is, is wood that's been burned in a low oxygen environment so all the nasty stuff has disappeared, almost pure carbon.......{insert apple reference here}
     
  19. Neserk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    #20
    Thanks all.

    We got a gas grill. The actual grillis porcelin. Took less than 1 hour to assemble. Wow do hot dogs taste better on a grill!
     
  20. 512ke macrumors 6502a

    512ke

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2003
    #21
    Actually you don't really need a grill if you happen to have a Powerbook. They make great hot surfaces upon which one can grill hamburgers, cook pancakes, etc. I've even used one as a handy tortilla warmer. Just put the Powerbook on a stack of flour or corn tortillas and presto! They'll be crispy browned in no time!

    If you absolutely must have a grill...I would try Target. I picked up one called an "Aussie". A propane model. Food has tasted great. Much less trouble than charcoal. Not as rewarding in terms of the primal fire experience, but since it's easier I use it much, much more. Under $200. The gas tank has lasted a long time, which is nice. And it'll come in handy in case of a terrorist attack to boil water and heat cans of refried beans.
     
  21. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #22
    Why didn't you just cook it ON your G5. ;)

    And I'd think you have to get a propane grill. The smoke from a charcoal grill may bother your neighbours above you.
     
  22. superninjagoat macrumors 6502

    superninjagoat

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    Location:
    Apex, N.C
    #23
  23. superninjagoat macrumors 6502

    superninjagoat

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    Location:
    Apex, N.C
    #24
    I have two grills

    One is a 22" Webber. It use it for entertaining and when time is not a factor. That's usually for weekends when I want to cook a BBQ brisket or beef ribs or something a little more "special." This grill, and it's larger brethren, are without a doubt the best grills I've ever used.

    For hotdogs, hamburgers chicken breasts and the like on a busy weeknight, I have a $15 tabletop grill from Wal*Mart. It uses those green "camp" propane canisters, doesn't leave too much propane taste, and cooks two burgers or six dogs comfortably. It's fast and cheap to operate.

    Anyone still use those tabletop, cast-iron hibachis from the mid-seventies? My old man used to swear by them. Seems like they would hold and radiate heat superbly. And, hey, it's cast iron. What could be cooler than that?
     
  24. Dr. Zauis macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #25
    I'd go with gas. It's so easy and quick. Also try to stay away from the glass windows the front of the lid because after a while they tend to get black and unable to see through and the built-in thermometers cause they aren't very accurate.
     

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