Whether you want a stainless steel monster barbecue that comes fully loaded, or you are just looking for a simple, dependable grilling machine, there are some basic things to look for.
1. What to look for in a barbecue:
A pretty exterior isn’t everything. Look beneath the hood and carefully examine what we consider the heart and soul of the barbecue: the Burners, the Briquettes or Bars and the Cooking Grills.
- Burners: better quality burners are made of grade 304 (or better) stainless steel, or good quality cast iron or ceramic. Watch out for burners that are made of galvanized steel! Galvanized steel does not stand up well to excessive heat, burning debris and condensation.
- Briquettes or Bars: better quality briquettes are made of very durable ceramic – able to withstand intense heat and lots of drippings. Stay away from lava rock and poorly made ceramic. If the barbecue utilizes the bar system, make sure the bars are made of stainless steel. If the bars are porcelain coated metal – expect flaking and rusting in the near future.
- Cooking Grills: Stainless steel (grade 304 or better) or Solid Cast Iron with a heavy porcelain coating are the best. Watch out for thin porcelain coated metal. With usage, the porcelain grills can chip, and when they do, the grills will rust…and the last time I checked, rust doesn’t enhance the flavour of food.
2. The Warranty:
How strongly does the manufacturer believe in their own workmanship? You can tell by the warranty offered. If the warranty is under 5 years for the burners, if and the body isn’t warrantied for at least 10 years then don’t expect much. Top of the line barbecues offer excellent warranties – and the manufacturer backs them up!
3. The Dealer:
The vital link to helping you make a wise purchase, is the store and the salesperson. Your absolute best bet is the smaller specialty barbecue stores who sell a large range of units all year round. Specialization shows commitment to the product line, and the most current knowledge of the industry. If it’s a gas barbecue that you are looking for, be aware that gas regulations change from time to time. The specialty stores will be up to date with the safety regulations and will properly inform you of them. You will also notice that the Salesperson will ask you questions about your cooking style and habits. This shows that they have your interests at heart; they want to fit the barbecue to you…not the other way around.