NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF/CONSUMER REPORTS) — Maybe you're die-hard and you grill year-round, but for many of us, spring and summer are the best times to grill. Now the question is, what kind of grill should you use?
The experts at Consumer Reports say it's whatever works for you. But if your grill has seen better days, it may be time to replace it — perhaps with something bigger and better.
Whether you need a quick sear or slow indirect heat for the perfect ribs, Consumer Reports' Paul Hope says grilling is the way to go.
"Grilling is great because it’s so versatile. You can slow smoke barbecue on a charcoal grill all day or use your gas grill to make dinner for the family on a weeknight without getting your kitchen dirty," Hope said.
From measuring how even the temperature is on the grill grates to how sturdy it's built and assembled, Consumer Reports' tests can help you find the right grill at the right price.
"If you love that smoky, BBQ flavor, a charcoal grill is probably your best bet," Hope said.
You can keep it classic with a kettle grill like the recommended 22-inch Weber.
For even better performance, consider the top-rated Dyna Glo, which earns very good scores for evenness and indirect cooking. Plus, its design makes it extremely easy to add coals, adjust the tray and clean.
Prefer to grill at the push of a button? Consumer Reports found dozens of gas grills to recommend — and you don’t have to spend thousands. The Nexgrill preheats fast and earns an excellent score for sturdiness and indirect cooking. It’s also very good for evenness and temperature range.
"If you really want to up your grilling game, a kamado grill is definitely the way to go. They use charcoal but they get really hot for things like wood-fired pizza. They can also hold a low steady temperature for things like slow smoking a brisket," Hope said.
But they aren’t cheap. The recommended Kamado Joe Classic starts at about $1,300.
No matter which type of grill you choose, don’t forget about safety. Consumer Reports says to be sure to keep it at least 10 feet away from your house or anything flammable and clean your grill every time you use it.
Cleaning your grill helps maximize its performance. If you've got steel grates, you'll want to use a wire brush. For porcelain-coated grates, use a nylon brush. If you do it while the grill is still hot, it's a lot easier.