Everyone wants to buy BBQ grills. Whether they realize the drive behind it or not. Good food doesn’t ask twice. The taste of a grilled steak cooked to perfection (however you define that!). The aroma that fills the air when you are smoking a pork shoulder. Ask around. Nothing like it. No wonder people scramble to buy a BBQ grill…especially once the weather gets right and they find themselves compelled to be outside!

Yeah, size matters.

As with any purchase that has the potential to change your life (yes, it’s has that kind of impact) you need to keep in mind your budget. The size of a grill is directly proportionial to the price you are going to end up paying. Just like an elevator, you don’t want your grill to be crowded and left with no room to breathe. You want at least 1/2″ between anything being cooked. Does it really matter? Only if you care about positive results. Once you define how much cooking area you need you can move on to finding the perfect grill.

Oh yeah, fuel matters too.

Gas grill or charcoal grill? All depends on your taste and desired end results. In this context, choice is good. There are six heat sources for outdoor living (and cooking):

  • Hardwood logs
  • Hardwood pellets
  • Gas
  • Electric
  • Hardwood lump charcoal
  • Charcoal briquets

As with any list, there are pros and cons to each. I invite you to delve deep into each source and find out what meets your requirements. Keep in mind your desired end result and you will arrive at the correct decision regarding your fuel source. Yes, it is that deep. Do you want natural flavor to rule? Ditch electric. That narrows the playing field. Do you want the easy way out with good results? Think about going the hardwood pellets route. No matter what, do your research. Your decision regarding what fuel source you use is exactly that: Your choice. Educating yourself is the best thing you can do in order to acheive your desired results: Excellent BBQ that makes everyone keep coming back. Just keep in mind that you get out of the process what you put into it. Hands down. So if you are OK with mediocre results (read: medicocre BBQ), then casually look into the matter and make a half hearted choice. However, if you are passionate about good food and pleasing those you care about…jump all in and get educated to make the BEST decision based on facts!

In the zone…

Two zone cooking. Don’t feel bad if you don’t know what that means. I didn’t for years and thought I was doing a great job of cooking on the grill. I was sadly mistaken. But that’s when we step back and appreciate great learning moments! If you want to get good results on the grill, then you have to edcuate yourself. Cooking is a science. Don’t be fooled on this point. When it comes to cooking, temperature control RULES. The next step is understanding the art of direct and indirect heat. Convection versus radiant heat zones. It sounds mysterious, but once understood it unlocks your true potential as a grill artistan. Take the time to invest in yourself and stand out from the masses that THINK they are grilling. Take it to the next level and you will truly appreciate your outdoor living!

Bonus ideas for you to investigate

Ok, I’m hinting at all the great experiences you can have cooking for yourself and others. I feel compelled to help you in your research. What’s in it for me? Not much. Just paying it forward. If you want to get better you have to invest in yourself. So here we go:

  • Two zone technique for temperature control
  • Two zone technique for different types of food
  • Two zone technique for slow holding
  • Two zone technique for slow roasting

Make the time to investigate each topic and I promise that you won’t have wasted your time…IF you really care about getting your BBQ on point. Just understand one thing: It’s all about the smoke in the end.

A word about BBQ smokers

Well, if you are motivated to get into the world of smoking (Meat, that is. I lived in Denver recently for some years) you won’t go back. But the advice is to take the time to get it right. For instance, do the research and find out whether or not you should use a water pan while smoking any meats. Again, the desired end results will dictate what choice you make. I personally advise against popular thinking that says that there is an advantage to using a can of beer for a whole chicken or any beverage other than water to provide a source of moisture. There is no scientific proof to point to that anything other than water for MOISTURE will add flavor to the subject being smoked.

What are the best BBQ smokers, you ask? Only research will tell. I’m not telling you to chase your tail. I’m suggesting that you define your desired end result and work backwards to get there. Make the time to do the research. Once the light bulb effect happens, you will be very happy with the end results. And so will the people you choose to entertain! Here’s to outdoor living…