Grilling is not a new topic to anyone nowadays, not just grilling, but also the grill types. With dozens of grills flocking around in the market, one needs to have a good grill guide and understanding, before choosing the best grill for their needs. There are many types of grills available today; charcoal grills, gas grills, pellet grills, kamado grills, electric grills, offset smokers, hibachi grills are just but a few to name!
Humans had used this popular cooking method right from the first discovery of fire when two beautiful rocks smacked together to create the first-ever seen streak of fire.
A Report has it that 4.5 out of every 5 Americans owns or have cooked using some sort of grill; even every two years old knows what a grill is, and can accurately point their baby fingers directly to one in a heartbeat!
The global bbq grill market size was estimated at USD 4.79 billion two years ago in 2018 and is forecasted to register a CAGR of 4.5% during the forecast period. The rising trend of weekend cookouts and holiday cookouts, among the general public, especially among the younger population, is to thank for this immense growth.
There’s everything to love about this prehistoric cooking method, from the live fire to the sizzling sound of the fatty tissue searing on the grate, the smokey hue from the smoker boxes, down to the juicy, delicious, perfectly grilled meal in our mouth.
Almost all men and women(and the others, including non-male nor female) not only want to cook outdoors on the grill but also reek of pure excitement of doing so. No one can explain this, though I highly suspect the live-fire, smokey atmosphere, the drinks, and most especially the steamy, sweaty looks of the grill”er.”
Unfortunately, there is, quite a lot of confusion when one is talking about grilling, or broiling, smoking, barbecuing, however, it is to choose to call it; that’s what this article will be tackling.
There are a dozen, and probably hundreds of different grill equipment out there, and many have tried to group and termed these tools in many (sometimes more confusing) ways. But in essence, there are only just a handful of categories, which then is broken into several subcategories.
We’ll look at every type of grills contain in each category and subcategories.
I hope you’re ready because this will be a long read, the type you read on a train or plane.
To Grill Or Not To Grille
Grilling, according to the definition from Wikipedia, is a form of cooking food that involves dry heat applied to the food surface. This heat can either radiate from above, below, or from the side.
So the verb “grill” or “grille” is directly related to cooking food using the grill method above.
Difference Between Grilling And Barbecuing
The best way to explain the difference between grilling and barbecuing is using the tortoise and the hare story.
You see, grilling is the hare in that story, it’s Mcqueen fast, and easy to arrive at its destination; while barbecuing is the tortoise, slow, steady, but wins the race, well, there’s no winning between grilling and barbecuing, it’s all a personal preference.
Grilling is the father of searing, the caramelizing of a meat surface from the high heat temperature in the grill, which also dramatically affects the moisture content of your food. Seared foods lose moisture as opposed to barbecued food.
Grilling uses high, direct heat to get your meals ready quickly, whereas barbecuing uses low, indirect heat, slower than grilling, but gets your food ready eventually, too.
For more massive slabs of briskets and ribs that are tender and smokey-liciously tasty, bbq is the king, but for smaller chops, and quicker, get-the-job-done cooking, the grill has the crown.
The Ultimate Grill Guide in 2020
I love grilling so much that I’ve become a proud owner of 3 beautiful grills over my 25 plus of grilling experience! A portable grill for convenient outdoor cooking, an electric grill built-in grill in my kitchen, and an outdoor, also built-in grill on my patio.
You’re probably asking why I have three types of grilling equipment, and I’ll tell you, but only if you read further!
You’ve moved out of your parent’s home, and now living the life of a full-grown adult, and you’re planning on buying your first grill, but you don’t know which one to buy, especially after the salesman introduced the ten different models on display.
Types Of Grills – Ultimate Grill Guide
Barbeque grill equipment is mostly made with porcelain-enameled steel, porcelain-enameled cast iron, and stainless steel. Stainless steel grills are becoming more popular. The reason is because of the relatively higher life span, and comparatively lower price than other grills built with other materials.
There are only two kinds of grills.
Yes, I see you going, whaaaat? Hold on, let me explain.
There are only two kinds of grills ever known to exist to mankind, and they are:
- Outdoor grills
- Indoor grills.
These are the main categories. Remember your trip to the hardware store the salesman, after seeing your confused face staring at the grills on the aisle, asked you, are you looking to buy an indoor grill or an outdoor one?
That’s because you can either use grills in your house, or outside your home, in the open air, duh!
I’ll get into the subcategories in a bit, but first, let’s talk about the differences between outdoor and indoor grills.
Outdoor Grill vs. Indoor Grill
What differences between outdoor grills and indoor grills do you know?
What comes to your mind comparing the two?
Most outdoor grills have more available options on fuel/energy sources ranging from charcoal, coal briquettes, and propane gas. Unfortunately, indoor grills mostly use electricity as their primary energy source, except for hybrid grills that use both gas and electric combined.
Cook-time and ease of use
The saying that goes “slow but steady wins the race” is precisely accurate with grills.
A BBQ/grill purist will immediately tell you that indoor grills are faster and are much easier to operate, and we all know the outcome when one “rushes” to do anything. It’s never that pleasing.
Outdoor grills, on the other hand, cooks slower, and are a bit harder(kidding?) to operate than indoor ones, but the food comes out much better! I’m yet to see and indoor grill with an outdoor experience or taste!
The total cooking time and fuel/ energy source of the grill also affect the taste of your grilled food; gas grills make better tasting meals than their electric counterparts, and charcoal grills even better!
Who says size doesn’t matter? Most outdoor grills have one thing in common, that is their size. By comparison, outdoor grills are more prominent than most indoor grills, reason why? Their installation location!
Outdoor grills are significant and are usually installed in the balcony, and the recommended safe distance for installing one is at least 10ft away from your main building.
Outdoor grills can be moved around, except for built-in grills and others that require energy source from a gas line. Indoor grills are mostly fixed at one location and don’t offer any form of mobility.
Owning an outdoor/indoor grill is a personal choice of style, you can get by with either one.
Various Types Of Grills – Ultimate Grill Guide
So now you know the difference between outdoor and indoor, let’s go into the subcategories of outdoor and indoor grills.
Another important criteria that is quite useful in creating the subcategories of the different types of grills is its heat-generating system; which includes the following:
- Charcoal grill
- Gas grill
- Electric grill
- Infrared grill
- Pellet grill
Charcoal grills are undoubtedly the oldest type of grilling equipment ever known to man! This classic grill is the most used in the USA and around the world!
To BBQ masters and purists, charcoal grills are the true and only way to make an authentic grilled food; the rest is simply wannabes.
Charcoal grills primarily use charcoals, which are available from most hardware stores, and even the supermarket.
However, you can take the “smoke-flavoring” taste to another level of switching charcoal with other fuel sources.
These fuel sources come in the form of coal briquettes, hardwood, flavored wood chips, or just charcoal blocks.
Once you’ve chosen your fuel type, grab lighter fluid, light up the charcoal, and enjoy the natural, smokey aroma and the delicious taste of your bbq/grill food!
A charcoal grill is the heart of every Saturday backyard party. This easy-to-set-up grilling tool has created many life-long memories of smoke, sweat, drinks, laughter, and happy tummies.
Top 3 Best Charcoal Grills 2020 – Ultimate Grill Guide
Types Of Charcoal Grills – Ultimate Grill Guide
You probably know, there are different kinds of charcoal grills, let’s quickly talk about them.
Traditional Barrel Charcoal Grills
The conventional barrel charcoal grill gets its name from its looks, and it resembles a drum barrel that was cut-up in half; a design that is well recognized by folks who know their grills.
This grill has a distinct design featuring the top half of the barrel that forms the lid and the bottom part where the charcoal is held.
Most traditional charcoal grills also offer an adjustable pan at the bottom where the charcoal is held, which is vital in managing your grilling temperature.
Kettle Charcoal Grills/Charcoal Kettle Grills
The next in line is our all-time favorite, the kettle charcoal grill! This charcoal grill is well known to many; because it’s on the top list for first-time grill buyers. Its portable, compact, lightweight design makes it one of the best charcoal grills for camping and tailgate party events. The kettle charcoal grill gets its name from its round, spoutless, kettle shape. It’s an excellent option for anyone looking for a quick, authentic, smokey bbq taste.
The charcoal kettle grills feature a top lid that holds the venting system, grilling grates for placing your food, and a bottom part that holds the charcoal, briquettes, or any furl of your choosing.
Kamado Charcoal Grills/Ceramic Grills
The Kamado charcoal grill, which is also known as a ceramic grill, is a product of a Japanese inventor that wanted a better version of a kettle charcoal grill. The Kamado-style grill switches the metal build body of the kettle charcoal grill with a thick ceramic body, which in turn, offers better heat conduction and moisture retention than the kettle grill.
Due to the design of the Kamado ceramic charcoal grills, they can cook both in low and high temperatures, and interestingly, once pre-heated, can retain its heat for several hours.
Pellet grills/Wood Pellet Grills
Regardless of what you choose to call them, there’s one fact we can all agree on, how popular the pellet grills are fast becoming.
Wood pellet grills or smokers are popular among charcoal grill enthusiasts for many reasons. The woody-smokey flavor-rich food you get by a mere flick of a button, the ease of use which has a striking resemblance to a gas grill, and most notably the “set and forget” approach which most charcoal grills do not offer! It’s genuinely one of the best charcoal grills worth getting, and you won’t regret it.
Though wood pellet grills/smokers were designed originally to use wood pellet charcoal as its mains heat source, the electric wood pellet grills are taking a bite out of the grill-cakes. Often, people interchange wood pellet smokers to electric pellet smokers, but in fact, they are entirely different; a more accurate term for the supposedly electric wood pellet smoker is the electric smoker.
Electric smokers’ primary source of energy is electricity; however, it uses pellets for flavor enrichment, giving foods a smokey taste.
Should You Get a Charcoal Grill?
Some say charcoal grill is the reason we have summers and spring breaks, and that’s because grilling on a sunny day is the just the perfect match made in heaven!
There are indisputable, many reasons you should get yourself a charcoal grill apart from the fact they are found in most American homes. Similarly, like every other consumer product, they also have certain turn-offs. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using a charcoal grill.
Why You Should Get A Charcoal Grill – Pros
Price is the top determinant factor when analyzing a persons need and want in economics; buying a grill included. The basic charcoal kettle grill can get you grilling and partying for around a hundred bucks! Charcoal grills like the kettle grills are among the cheapest kinds of grills around, and that makes them most suitable for anyone looking for an affordable grill to cook with.
Doesn’t Require A Grilling Experience
Kettle grills, for example, can be used both by beginners and professionals alike.
The only experience needed when cooking with a charcoal grill is a BA in food flipping science, as it turns out, it is the easiest and quickest BA degree anyone could get, it takes just a few minutes!
All charcoal grills have one thing in common, and that is the most authentic, smokey-flavor any grills can give you. The fire, smoke, sweat, and the sizzling sound of the grilling foods make charcoal grills offer the most original and most unadulterated form of grilling experience, only a step away from the woods-fire-pit grill setup which our ancestors used.
Being lightweight (kettle grill or portable pellet grills) means you can take it anywhere you choose to. They one of the best grills for camping and, of course, the perfect grill for a tailgate party anywhere, meaning you can still enjoy the same grilling experience far away from home!
You can further enhance the flavor of your food by experimenting with different flavored woods chips.
Although most grills now offer a variety of flavored wood chips and pellets, charcoal grills do this best from all the other grills.
What Are The Cons Of Charcoal Grills
It needs to be pampered
That’s right; they need to be pampered, meaning, you’ll spend pretty much the whole time attending to the foods on the grate, making sure it doesn’t get too dry, the charcoals are cooking at the right places, making sure you don’t burn! That’s just too much work for people who would instead engage in some other more productive activities as the meat is grilling, and that includes a lot of people!
Naturally, we love to do the eating but want no part of the hassles in the washing. However, with charcoal grills, there’s far more cleaning to do! The ashes, grease, grates all need to be cleaned, and if you use a cast iron grate, there’s the added job of seasoning the grate before and after each grill session.
But don’t worry, we go you covered, our article on best grill cleaning brushes and how to season a cast iron grill grate will quickly get you looking like a master griller in no time.
You might be happy to know that charcoal grills are still relatively easy to clean because you only need to clean one or two parts as oppose to other types of grills.
Long Waiting Period
Other types of grills are fast to heat up, and cooking, but not charcoal grills as the charcoals must be red-hot before you start grilling. This waiting period is usually between 7 to 15mins, compared to other grills that immediately begin to heat up on the flick of a button.
The absence of basic features is a two-sided sword. This works both for and against charcoal grills. Most “advanced” models have a thermometer and a chimney, and that’s it, where are others might feature wifi connectivity, temperature monitoring and regulation, and much more!
Next in line after charcoal grills are the gas grills.
Gas Grills – Ultimate Grill Guide
Gas grills are widely used and recognized worldwide as the most popular type of grill. In the USA alone, gas grills make up more than 60% of total grill sales, and it’s easy to see why; cooking with gas grills is efficient, versatile, and super convenient. They are the perfect grill for anyone beginners and professional chefs alike; even an eight-year-old can effortlessly operate a gas grill.
Gas grills generate heat by either burning propane or natural gas, and some generate heat using infrared waves. A flick of a button and a dial of the temperate and timer knob is all it takes to get cooking, that’s as straightforward as any grill can get. They are fast to attain the desired temperature, super easy to clean.
The Maintenance requires little to no effort and, most importantly, delivers an artisan-like and deliciously seared food with little effort!
Gas grills can be used for several cooking methods, you can bake, grill, sear, and with a little add-on, you can even turn the gas grill into smokers taking your cooking game to the next level!
Types Of Gas Grills – Ultimate Grill Guide
They come in natural gas, propane, or infrared/gas combo powered. Let’s briefly look at them one after the other.
Natural Gas Grills
Natural gas grills are a type of in-built grill. That is because it uses natural gas as its primary source of heat production for cooking; thus, it requires a direct connection to a gas line, which is present in most residential and office complexes.
Natural gas grills are efficient at doing what they were built for, preparing grilled food as fast as possible and with no fuss. Some gas grills also have a built-in rotisserie for some good old’ slow poultry grilling.
Propane Gas Grill
Propane gas grills are pretty much the same as natural gas grills except that the propane grills are explicitly made to be used with propane gas canisters or tanks, are more portable, and offer more mobility.
Propane gas grills do not require a connection to a gas pipe as other natural gas grills would. The propane gas tanks are refillable and replaceable once the current one is used up, which takes about 20 to 24hours of uninterrupted grilling session.
If you’re looking for a portable gas grill, the propane gas grill is one of the best portable grills there are.
Although the first infrared burners were invented back in 1961 by TEC founder, Bill Best, its application is widely unused and lack a “spotlight.” Infrared gas grills are the new chic in town, and everyone’s talking about her! Infrared grills are very energy efficient; they offer one of the best, fastest grill heating time, and performance!
These grills are powered up by either natural gas or propane gas, which then heats the infrared element between the flame and the grill grates, which eventually cook the food.
Infrared grills are widely known for their even distribution of heat, they make an excellent grill for searing, and when cooking with infrared grills, you experience no flare-ups whatsoever.
Built-in Natural Gas Grills – Built-in Propane Gas Grills
How else would you show your class, taste, and culinary experience, and most importantly, the center-piece of your outdoor kitchen or backyard? It’s simple; you throw in high efficiency, stainless steel, built-in natural/propane gas grill!
Although most built-in gas grills primarily use natural gas or propane gas for cooking, some more powerful ones are further equipped with infrared elements to deliver the maximum heat conduction!
Built-in gas grills are built and fitted into a permanent or semi-permanent space in an outdoor kitchen. They are elegantly designed to offer a great grilling/cooking experience.
Flat Top Gas Grills
I bet you could probably guess how flat-top grills would look like? It’s in the name! Flat top grills are popular in many restaurants, gourmet streets, and busy food street in Asian countries!
Apart from grilling, these grills are superb for making breakfast flat-pancakes, rolls, sauté vegetables, ham, barbecue skillet, and of course, burgers; they can be used to make practically anything; limitless!
Flat top grills are the mast of juicy, succulent food, as the food does not lose any juice due to its griddle cooktop design, unlike grate-using, non-flat top grills whereby the juices drip through the grates and vaporize on contact. This adversely affects food made with the flat top grill’s as they are found to be less tasty as food made using other grills.
What Are The Cons And Pros Of Using A Gas Grill?
There are several Pros of owning a gas grill; however, let’s talk about the most crucial ones.
Gas grills are super convenient, everything about them is; flick a button, dial a knob, and you get your food cooking! No, warming up, and no seasoning as most gas grills are paired with a stainless steel grill grate.
Gas grills are easier to clean up, unlike grills like the pellet grills or charcoal grills.
Set And Forget
Gas grills are a set and forget grill, as you don’t need to have frequent trips for fuel since the grill is connected directly to your home’s fas pipeline; all that is required it for you to pay your gas grill as soon as it comes up.
Cook Whenever, However
For indoor gas grills, you have the power to cook, grill, bake, and barbecue whenever you choose to since it’s indoors. Some gas grills do have a rotisserie feature, so whatever you want to cook, steak, cakes, bread, your grill can handle anything you throw at it, literally.
Gas grill create moist that is later soaked up by the food you’re cooking, the final product? A moist, somewhat juicy meal, which makes the food even tastier!
In the long run, gas grills use less amount of fuel as compared to other types of grills out there. With a gas grill, you’ll the trading fuel economy for a smokey meal, that’s a fact!
Hot tip: Here’s a quick trick to add some smokey flavor to your gas grill cooked meals
What Are The Cons Of Gas Grills
It a widely known fact that no gas grills cook up a smokey-flavored meal like the charcoal grill, no matter hard you try.
Sure adding a smoker box into the gas grill creates a “smokey” flavor, but don’t be deceived. You can’t get an authentic smokey-flavor from a gas grill.
Can’t Touch This, Or Can You?
Gas grills can’t burn as hot as other grills, for example, the charcoal and infrared grills. This, therefore, could cause an uneven distribution of heat and inconsistent cook.
Gas grills, once installed, are fixated at the location; hence you lose the convenience of moving it around if the need arises.
Gas grills can cause flare-ups, which can cause a health hazard when proper precautions are not taken.
Natural gas is a greenhouse gas when it in its unburnt state and is considered unsafe for the environment.
Electric Grills – Ultimate Grill Guide
Electric grills are also one of the fastest-growing grill equipment. A standard 110V electrical socket powers these grills, or 220V for some.
Electric grills offer a clean, convenient, and environmentally-safe way for cooking at home.
Most people use electric grills indoors, as it’s the safest of any other grilling equipment.
Types Of Electric Grills
Electric grills are becoming more popular, apart from its use in the indoor kitchen, you can find electric grills outdoors too. You can find electric variants of most available kinds of grills, including the following:
- Electric smokers
- Most indoor grills
- Most electric grills
- Electric griddle grills
Best Electric Grills in 2020 – Ultimate Grill Guide
Electric grills work by converting the electrical energy into heat energy, which then is used to heat an electrical metal tube-like rod, which is placed all around the cooking chamber of the grill.
This heating mechanism is precisely the same on an electric smoker; the only difference is the presence of smoke, which is created by placing wood chips directly above these heated rods. The wood chips give off smoke once they start burning, which gets “trapped” on the food surface, which finally gives a smokey flavor.
Most people, including professional chefs who have tested the taste of electric grills and smokers all, have a unified voice. However, an electric grill still makes delicious meals, and the taste can not be compared to that of either charcoal, gas, and pellet grills or smokers. You can not recreate the authentic smokey flavor, which identical to that found in foods cooked with charcoal grills, pellet grills, or smokers.
Cons and pros of electric grills
Easiness Of Use and Cleaning
Electric grills offer a straightforward, very easy to clean cooking experience. You don’t have to waste precious time cleaning the grill before, and after cooking, this is one the best selling points of electric grills.
Superb Heat/ Temperature Control
Electric grills include an internal temperature probe, which does a great job of monitoring the desired temperature according to your cooking requirement.
Low Operation Cost
Electric grills are comparatively cheaper to operate than other grills, the charcoal grill, for example. Since electric grills have a temperature regulator, the power gets cut off as soon as the desired temperature is attained, therefore reducing overall power consumption needed to cook a complete meal.
For some who are fortunate enough to live in a leased apartment that includes electricity, this puts the energy consumption for cooking at ZERO!
All Year-round Juicy Food
Many people have reported the juiciness of the electrically grilled food to be higher than what you’d get from a gas grill, and we all know that no one wants to eat a rubbery food, moist food is always a delicious one.
Cheaper To Buy
Electric grills are usually less expensive than other sophisticated grills in the market; you don’t have to shave off $1000 to get a good electric grill, although, if you have the money and willing to, why not?
Additionally, most apartments (or all) prohibit the use of charcoal, pellet, and gas grills indoors, making the electric grill the best grill for apartments.
What Are The Cons Of Electric Grills
The biggest draw-back to electric grills is the taste; by that meaning, you can not have the same smokey-flavor with your electrically-grilled food.
Electric grills require a power source to become operational; this greatly affects its mobility, so you’re unable to use them outdoors if there are no power sources.
Not Enough Room In The Cooking Chamber
With electric grills, you’re left with small cooking space, though the cooking chamber is enough to fit a meal for a family of 5. It can barely fit any more food after that, therefore limiting its use when there are many guests around.
Yes, electric grill owners are not allowed to participate in a barbecue/grill competition, you’ll need charcoal, gas, or pellet grill to join; so think twice before buying if you plan to showcase your barbecuing skills at the competition.
Pellet Grills – Ultimate Grill Guide
If you came to verandagrille looking for information about pellet grills, then congratulations, you have found your first clue to grilling greatness! The HPBA (Hearth patio and barbecue association) reports show that pellet grills are booming; in comparison, more pellet grills are sold every year than the previous one, and there’s indeed a good reason to it.
Pellet grills use wood pellets, a capsule-looking wood piece, to produce the heat required to give tastebud-explosive taste!
You will be happy to know that the wood pellets come in different flavors, which will take your tastebuds for a spin, as these flavored wood pellets drastically enhance the taste of the food. The popular pellet flavors are apple, maple, cherry, pecan, and hickory flavors.
Pellet grills are versatile; they can grill, smoke, and bake with the push of a button, similar to operating a gas grill.
Additionally, some pellet grills feature a wifi connectivity capability, allowing you to view and control temperate and cooking stats away from your grill, this is particularly useful in the winter if your pellet grill is out in the open or outdoor kitchen.
Head over here to read an extensive, well-research article on pellet grills including 40+ FAQs most buyers are asking, pros and cons, and the best pellet grills you can buy
Smokers are a type of grill that uses a low temperature, and smoke to slowly cook your meat to perfection, and when I say perfection, I mean PERFECTION! No other kinds of grills were made for smoking, infusing your food with the most authentic smoke flavor any food could ever ask for!
Smoking is an old way of cooking and preserving food; our ancestors smoked their food and so the ancestors before them, even our great grand ancestors, the caveman.
Smoking as a means of food preservation is still widely used today in many parts of the world, including Asian, European, and many African countries.
Types Of Smokers – Ultimate Grill Guide
Smokers are available in all “fuel” types. They can either use charcoal, wood pellet or chips, gas, and electricity, therefore whatever your taste and style of cooking, there’s a smoker for you!
Charcoal Smokers/ Offset Smokers
Charcoal smoker grills, AKA offset smoker grill, pipe, or horizontal smokers, like the other charcoal grills have been around for many centuries.
Smoking is a low-heat, slow-cooking brother to grilling, whereby the meat cooks not directly over the heat, but indirectly, away from the primary heat source.
Charcoal smokers contain a fuel/charcoal chamber, which is either on the sides or under, and a cooking chamber to the other party or above that includes a multiple leveled grates for cooking various food items at one time.
If you’d rather have your meat slowly cook, then offset smokers are the best option for you, but care should be taken when purchasing one. Most offset smokers are made with a think metallic (cast iron) body, and that makes it heavy.
Therefore it’s advised to consider purchasing ones with an attached wheel, as this will significantly help with moving it around should the need arrive.
Charcoal smokers are also available in a vertical design called a vertical offset smoker. Vertical offset smokers as basically the same as a regular offset smoker, the only difference is the design of these two smokers, one looking like a horizontal drum, and the other looking like a vertical bullet-shaped drum.
pellet smokers work in the same way a charcoal smoker does, but instead of burning and smoldering wood/charcoal, pellet smokers smolder wood pellets instead. Like the pellet grills, you have a variety of flavored wood pellets to choose from for your cooking.