Year-round grilling means delicious smoky flavored meats and perfectly seared steaks, whether the temperatures are blistering or blustery. Grillmasters enjoy preparing grilled meals any month of the year, but regular, extensive use of the grill can cause a fair amount of wear and tear on the outdoor cooking unit.
So how do you know when it’s time to upgrade your grill?
Bust the rust
Just like an old car, rust is an indicator that repairs or replacement may be needed. Inspect your grill regularly, checking for rust on the joints. Rusted joints can compromise the integrity of the grill and may lead to instability. A wobbling, unstable grill is dangerous! Rust and corrosion also can eat through grill lids, affecting the ability to retain heat when the lid is closed. A grill cover can help extend the life of a grill if used regularly, keeping rain and the elements from damaging the unit. Look for grills on sale with covers included.
Most grills feature a porcelain enamel finish. If this finish is so old that it’s begun to flake, chip or bubble, it’s time to upgrade your grill.
Beyond an old burner
Gas grill burners should burn with a flame that appears blue with yellow tips. If the flame looks orange, it’s not hot enough and something is not working properly with the burner. Burners come in a range of sizes and shapes, depending on the grill make, model and style.
On average, a burner made from aluminized steel may last about three years with regular usage, while a burner made from stainless steel may last longer. The grill burner works hard and must be maintained to keep burner issues at bay. Low flame and uneven heating are just two problems caused by a bad burner. Burners can be replaced, but in some cases, even replacement won’t solve heating issues, and a new, upgraded grill is your best option.
Outgrowing your grill
There comes a time when your outdoor grill simply can no longer accommodate the amount of food needed to satisfy a crowd. Size does matter for your grill. A grill with at least a 300 square inches of cooking area can comfortably cook six burgers or six chicken breasts and six hot dogs simultaneously. If your family has grown or your home has become the favorite cookout hotspot for your friends, it’s time to upgrade to a bigger grill.
Kenmore offers several larger grill sizes ideal for entertaining or cooking for larger families. The four-burner LP mocha gas grill boasts 621 square inches of cooking area plus a searing burner and a side burner. A side burner is a great feature to consider when upgrading the grill, making it easy to keep sauces warm when grilling flavorful meats.
Getting the Upgrade
Once you know a new grill is in your future, when do go out and get that shiny new upgrade? Fall is a great time to find grills on sale, and it gives you a chance to break it in with a burger or before cold weather sets in.
Summer’s coming, baby! That means it’s grilling season, and maybe time to shop for some new hardware. Where to start? One online search and you realize that there are a whole heap of grills on the market!
How the heck are you magically supposed to know which one is right for you? People are throwing around terms like “BTU’s”, and “flavor bars”, for Pete’s sake!
Here are 5 quick questions that will help you narrow the field…
1. Is it small enough?
Live in an apartment or condo, or a house with a tiny back deck? Know how much space you’re going to need for your new baby, as well as clearance for fire safety and room for the cook.
2. Is it big enough?
Pretty much any grill out there will fit some burgers under the lid, with room to spare…but what happens next Thanksgiving when you really want to impress the in-laws with a grilled turkey, only to find that you grill’s lid won’t close over your gobbler of choice?
Make sure there’s enough area to cook anything you might get a hankerin’ for. And, of course, a family of eight is going to need a lot more grill-space than a couple does.
3. Does it do enough?
Wanting to try rotisserie chickens? Make sure the unit you’re looking at comes with, or can add-on that hardware. Dreaming of some low-and-slow smoked pork shoulders or briskets? Double-check that air vents are present at both ends, and are easily adjustable. If you do a lot of meats that get mopped and glazed, those side warming burners are awfully nice for keeping the sauce warm.
You’re a burgers/steaks/chicken breast kinda chef? You want a lot of heat and good temperature controls.
Make a list of what you want to do with your grill, and what features will accommodate those needs, BEFORE you start shopping.
4. Is it easy enough?
I’m about as mechanically inclined as a fence post. When I go shopping for a new grill, I tell the salesman, in advance, that I want to see how all of the internals disassemble and reassemble. In fact, I want to do it myself, and make sure that my great big gorilla hands are going to fit under and around all those parts that I’m going to want to clean on a regular basis.
5. Is it tough enough?
Open the lid, grab ahold of the side of the grill, and give it a good wiggle. If you can give it a good wiggle, you might want to keep looking. A well-built grill should feel solid and tight.
Like most things, if it squeaks, rattles, or shimmies…that’s probably not a good thing.
Still feeling a little overwhelmed? Check out the Grill Finder at Sears.com to help you narrow your search even further!
Keep in mind that, regardless of price and features, no grill can make a bad cook good…but the right grill can help a good cook, cook great. Read up on new techniques, watch how the pros do it, and never be afraid to experiment. Invest in the most important factor in your grilling equation…you!