Help me find the right grill

I’m in the market for a grill. Our needs are modest (just the two of us) but we would like to entertain once or twice a summer.

We would likely be cooking steak, chicken, vegetables, maybe fish. I suppose hamburgers and hot dogs will happen too.

What should I look for in a grill?
Any recommendations?

Don’t think you can go wrong with the classic Weber.

That brings up a good question. Should I get a charcoal grill or a gas one?

You’re gonna hate me but in my opinion the best answer is both.
I have a classic Webber kettle, and a big honkin gas grill.

If it’s nice out and it’s just the family, the Webber gets used every time.
If it winter and I don’t want to futz with the charcoal or we’re having a party and I need to feed a crowd the gas monster gets fired up.

Both. Neither. Your preference. I have a Weber, but haven’t fired it up in years. Gas is just too damned convenient. In the summer we do most of our cooking on the gas grill. I make pizza on it, bake biscuits, anything I can do with the oven I can do with the grill.

What’s your budget? How often will you use it?

Weber gas grills are a bit pricey, but they’re better quality than the nearly disposable lower-end gas grills. They look a bit better and you probably won’t have to replace rusted out parts as often. Good customer support, as well. One of the parts on the one I bought was bunged up out of the box and they shipped me a new wing, no questions asked (well, they asked where to send it.)

Budget: I don’t want to spend more than 1000. I also don’t want to buy bells that are more gimmicky than useful.

Speaking of gimmicky, are the side burners a good thing or a gimmick? I think I would like to use them for “regular” cooking in the summer, so I don’t heat up the house. Do they work like that? Or do they suck?

Use: Good question. I don’t think I’ll know until I start grilling and cooking outside. My feeling is that once the heat goes up for the summer I’ll want to cook outside more. I’ve never done it, so I don’t know how much I’ll like it. We tend to cook dinners 4-5 times a week and eat out 1 or 2. I guess I would try to use it once a week in the summer.

Based on the above, I’m leaning gas. Charcoal sounds nice, but I think I’d fall into the “too much trouble to bother” camp.

Side burners are great for keeping things warm while the grill is busy. I’ve used them to heat up beans, but primarily to keep a pot of onions and peppers hot while I grill brats. You get a lot more btus on the main grill, but they are handy and I recommend them.

The Weber S-330 seems to fit your budget.

I agree, it’s nice to have that side burner.

The S-330 silenus picked out looks quite nice.
Personally I’d spring for the vinyl cover too.

What qualities in a woman are you seeking?

Just warm? Can you cook on them?

Could I, for example, boil a pot of pasta? I’m guessing the BTU may not be high enough for that.

What about pancakes? Could I make pancakes on the side burner?

You can definitely cook on them. Weber refers to them as a “sear station.” You just get more heat on the main grill. Think of it as a one-burner camp stove.

Pancakes I’ll do on the main grill with a griddle installed. More room to work with.

Has anyone tried a natural gas grill? We have natural gas for our home and the meter is in the backyard so I’m guessing it wouldn’t be too hard for a plumber to run a line to the grill.

Good idea or horrendously bad idea?
Is propane a pain to deal with or relatively easy?

A-ha! That makes more sense. This could work out quite nicely.

Lugging the tanks back and forth is a bit of a pain. In addition if you’re having a big get together there’s always the fear the tank will run dry 1/2 way through your cook - I can never accurately tell how much is left in the tank so now I have 2 and one is always full just in case.

Can you get a grill hooked up to your home gas line? I know some places do not allow it.

One of my best friends did that at his house. Ran natural gas lines out to the patio so he could hook up the grill. Didn’t have any problems that I remember. This is Southern California.

I go with gas, but just as a mental nugget to chew on, here’s Alton Brown talking about how to cook a Porterhouse steak on something less than a $1,000 grill.

Also something else to think about, if you’ve ever seen Primal Grill on PBS, host Steven Raichlen uses a number of different grills. Link to products from the website:

I have a friend who did the same in central Indiana with no problems. He absolutely swears by it.

Personally, I love charcoal, and would recommend the Gold 26.75" ($300). The extra size doesn’t hurt you when cooking small batches, and is a huge asset when entertaining. If you don’t want that size, dropping down to 22" you can get the Platinum, which comes with a great stand and side tables (of sorts).

I have a gas grill and a charcoal smoker. I agree with all of the posters in that it is your choice. If I want it fast, my steaks on the gas grill go from the frig to my stomach is 20 minutes, 5 minutes longer than it would take to get the coals going.

Look for a thick, heavy grate. It holds heat better, makes for a better sear, and will last longer.