Don't Get Grilled! Tips For Finding The Perfect Grill
By Rob Schwing
At last glance, there were 74 varieties of Campbell's® condensed soups on the shelves and over 50 options of Crest toothpaste. That's 50-plus toothpaste options from a single brand. I don't know about you, but that level of decision- making wears me out just thinking about it.
What's Out There
Shopping for a grill may not offer quite as many options, but you'd be surprised at the depth and variety that's out there. Smokers, portables, electric, gas, charcoal, infrared and the list goes on. Once you pick the type of grill, you have to start looking at size, material, durability, ease of set-up and use and... well, we're getting into toothpaste territory here with the amount of decision-making involved.
That's why it helps to have an expert guide you through the grill-buying process. Ideally you want someone willing to spend time with you and ask questions to determine which grill will best meet your needs and keep you happy in the long run.
Whether you're buying a grill from a big box retailer like a Lowe's or Home Depot or a small dealer who perhaps owns the local patio and home store in your area, below is a brief list of things you need to be considering as you shop for your grill. (Or, better yet, these are the questions whomever is trying to sell you a grill ought to be asking. If they're not, move on!)
Things To Think About When Looking At Grills
· How often do you cook?
· What kinds of foods do you cook-meats, veggies, desserts? Do you cook combinations of foods at every meal?
· Do you like to experiment with new foods and recipes when cooking?
· How many people do you typically cook for?
· How comfortable are you on the grill?
· What features matter most to you? Features may include no flare-ups, ease of cooking, how easy the grill is to put together, number of burners, etc.
· What part does your grill play in your outdoor area? Is it a focal point for your activities or more of a side thought?
· How long do you want/expect your grill to last?
· How much are you looking to spend? Are you willing to spend a bit more to get the features you want?
· Accessories - are you interested in side burners, rotisseries, having the right tools to grill and more?
Ask For A Demonstration
A grill can have every bell and whistle but the ultimate question is, how does the food taste? Buying from a dealer can be beneficial here because chances are they'll be willing to throw some steaks and chicken on the grill in order to make a sale. Many stores and dealers hold monthly grilling demonstrations to allow customers to taste the food and get a feel for how easy the grill is to operate. Take advantage of these when they arise, even if you're not immediately in the market for a new grill. A little early homework never hurts and with any luck you'll get to sample some truly tasty food!
It's Okay To Walk Away
Although grill prices are all over the board, the nicer ones that will last can represent a significant investment. Don't allow yourself to be pressured to buy on the spot if you're not convinced you've found what you're looking for.
One last bit of advice: do pay attention to who the manufacturer is. New grills pop up every day from start-ups but you're much better served buying a grill from someone who's been in the business for a long time and holds a reputation for excellence.
Not many people know more about grilling than Rob Schwing. The GM at SABER Grills and the author of Casual Living's "Ask The Grill Guy"column, Rob possesses a lifelong passion for good food, good company and upscale outdoor living. Rob has led Char-Broil and SABER as a vice president in marketing, product development, consumer & warranty services, e-commerce and business development. Weekends find Rob doing what he loves most-- surprising people with all that can be accomplished when cooking outside.
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