Oftentimes the backyard or the outdoors are a great place to bond or throw parties. A BBQ is great for such occasions.
Just a day or evening with friends, family & the neighbors could be quite relaxing. In order to throw an amazing party or an afternoon Barby you need a reliable, versatile and reasonably portable grill.
A barbeque grill basically cooks the food by applying heat from underneath. Grills are of different types such as:
- Charcoal Grills
- Electric Grills
- Gas Grills
The charcoal grill was the 1st to be invented back in the 1950s but the concept of grilling existed well before colonial America.
Many designs were adopted until the widely used designs of today were obtained. Gas grills too, adopt various designs with the most popular type being the cart grill design.
The flattop grill is another one which does expose the food directly to the fire. This further aids in retaining a flavor of the food.
This is a feature that other models tend to struggle with. Gas grills are slightly more expensive than charcoal models but they do have a multitude of benefits.
Also, one can assume that most grills on the list are Propane based gas grills unless specified otherwise. We’ve dived into the advantages of gas grills below the reviews that follow.
10 Best Gas Grills
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We put all the gas grills we selected through a rigorous selection process so that we can give you an accurate review for all the BBQ grills on the list.
The methodology we utilized is grounded on the 4 evaluation criteria listed below:
- Build & Parts Quality
- Core Performance
- Ease of Use
Build & Parts Quality
This section basically covers the materials involved and their quality.
Since we cook directly on the grates it’s no surprise that the quality of grill grates is something we value highly.
Grates are usually made from either stainless steel, porcelain coated cast iron or other variants of cast iron.
We’ve analyzed which gas grills are the best at eluding rust as well as efficiently transferring heat which can affect cooking performance.
Stainless steel as you may have guessed is great when it comes to heat distribution and it’s also great at preventing rust. Grills which make use of it are valued higher.
Other aspects we looked at were the construction of stands and if they could provide an even surface for grilling.
The stands must be capable of withstanding the elements of nature and this is something that was very important, especially for highly portable options.
Models with flame tamers are also sought after considering they prevent debris from getting stuck in your burner which can make it much harder to clean.
Another added benefit is that they also prevent flare-ups & vaporize drips which can affect performance again. These usually come in metal or ceramic and perforated options.
Core performance is basically down to how well, how evenly and how quickly you are able to cook your meat or veggies.
This is basically determined by the quality of the parts mentioned earlier. It’s also important to remember we are dealing with grills primarily for BBQs in one’s backyard or for going camping so many features that are usually present on restaurant grade grills will be absent.
Searing should be facilitated easily at high temperature especially if you are looking to cook steak or fish. When the surface of the food forms a caramelized crust it’s always a good omen for your gas grill.
Efficiency in heat transfer or even retaining of the heat is important. If your grill is efficient, it can also save you a lot of dough on gas, since you are cooking quicker and can cook longer at a lesser gas output.
Most grills use propane as they are sometimes available in smaller containers which are easy to carry.
Temperature is another vital aspect of performance. Tougher meats like steaks need a temperature of 600 at the very least for grilling. Look for a machine that will achieve that quickly even in tricky conditions.
Ease of Use
Whether you are in your backyard or out camping in the wild you will need a gas grill that can perform well but reduce the amount of time you spend cooking. We’ve tried to make sure all the products we picked out can work well for customers of any segments.
Despite many complex options appearing especially for backyard BBQ grills, we searched for devices offering a multitude of practical benefits.
Some elements we deemed as being very important are:
- Side tables or trays
- Side burners
Lower end models tend not to come with a thermometer and you might have to buy that as an accessory. Most mid ranged to high-end models like the Weber & Napoleon do sport reliable thermometers.
Analog options can serve you more than well. This way you can save time and not guess.
Side tables are another thing than can seem almost trivial at times but is essential to faster grilling.
Storing ingredients, spices and cooked food can be done easily with a sturdy side table. Side tables in highly portable options like the Coleman are valued highly.
Side burners are another handy tool to have. Some machines do sport infrared side burners and their merits have been discussed in the FAQ section below.
Side burners are extremely handy as you can heat up sauces or prepare eggs to go along with your meat. The BTUs of the side burners should also be reasonably high.
Other aspects to consider are covers that protect against the elements of the weather and allow the BBQ to be kept in an RV without dirtying the vehicle are handy.
The stands need to be well aligned so that the grilling surface is even. Wobbly stands or stands made of flimsy material are undesirable.
Warming racks also help in keeping the food warm which is desirable especially when cooking for larger numbers.
We’ve tested a number of the portable options on our list to ensure the ones we have selected allow you to quickly stow away your grill and be ready for transport.
The last of our evaluation criteria takes into account ease of cleaning, grease gathering mechanisms & availability of parts.
There are not a lot of parts on a grill one can toss into a dish washer especially when you are out in the wilderness, hence it’s important to facilitate quick & easy manual cleaning.
Availability of parts is important since a lot of the camping grills in the market do make use of cast iron rust friendly options.
Hence they need to be replaced quite often. We’ve opted for brands that allow you to get spares quickly and even upgrade to stainless steel options in some cases.
How easily one can clean the grill typically depends on how well the grease is managed initially.
Grease collection systems need to be adequate and proportional to the size of the grill. This is critically important. It can be a pain when the excess spillage runs down the leg of the machine.
Accessibility of areas like the burners & flame tamers should be well designed.
Customer service is also important for any product let lone gas grills. Since there can sometimes be a high turnover of parts a longer warranty period is greatly desired. Exceptional customer service was of great value during our selection process.
Best Cheap Meat Cuts for BBQ Grills
So you’ve decided to ask some friends over on the weekend for a barbecue. What to cook that’s going to impress and not break the bank at the same time.
Traditionally if you wanted to impress with your grilling technique you choose on of the tender high-end steaks such as strip, rib eye, T-bone or tenderloin.
They are all good, but because they are the finer and more tender cuts of beef they are the more expensive. So why not do what the top chefs do, and use a cheaper cut that has bags of character.
Those expensive and tender steaks come from the same part of the beef cow, which is the back around the spine area. They are tender because the meat does not do any work, such as the leg, so the muscle is less worked and so more tender.
What we’re going to be looking at the butcher’s steaks, which are dotted around the steer and are often whole muscles.
Because these are working muscles, they tend to have more flavor than other steaks, and also because they need more skill to be cooked properly, the butcher’s steaks tend to be cheaper.
The hanger steak gets its name from the part of the cow it comes from. It’s from the front of the belly, and it ‘hangs’ off the diaphragm. For decades butchers used the hanger steak, sometimes written hangar, for ground meat because of its distinct beef flavor.
Nowadays the cut has become more popular on its own because of its loose texture which makes it ideal for marinating. Individual steaks usually have a triangular section which can make it more challenging to get and even cook.
The steak cooks well over high heat on a barbecue but needs careful tending as if the steak is cooked more than medium it will become tough and dry. You can get the butcher to prepare a hanger steak for you or do it yourself.
The silverskin and excess fat should be cut off from the outside, which should leave you with two pieces of meat attached by a sinew.
Remove the sinew and trim, and the hanger steaks are ready to season and marinade. An oil based marinade with herbs and spices will help with the grilling.
As this is not a naturally tender part of the steer, it’s important to get the cooking right as if it is overdone the meat will be tough and rubbery.
If you opt to buy a side of beef, then the farmer or process can help you get just the right cuts for grilling.
Make sure your barbecue grill is very hot and place the steaks directly over the coals, and turn as each side is colored. Hanger steak is best-served medium rare, so it’s a good idea to use a thermometer to check the internal temperature has reached close to 130F/55C to know when it is done.
This is a steak from the back legs of a steer and is the muscle used to apply force to the animals kneecap.
The triangular shape of the steak gives it its name of a tri-tip and also makes it more awkward to cook evenly.
The beautiful thing about the tri-tip is that is very lean, with little connective tissue which means it can be cooked fast on a hot barbecue grill. In California, it’s quickly grilled over red oak wood in a particular local style of barbecue.
The tri-tip steak does not have a very beefy flavor so lends itself well to rubs and marinades to suit your palate.
A rub with paprika, cumin, garlic, cayenne pepper and brown sugar will just add to the flavor and give a nice golden brown to the outside of the meat.
Because of the shape, the pointed end will cook quicker than the thicker neck of the steak so that you can get a varied cook out of the one piece of meat.
It’s best to start the cooking on the indirect side of a covered grill, to allow the steak to come within 5 degrees of its ideal internal temperature, for medium rare that would be 120F/50C.
At this stage of the cooking, it would be good to add some wood chips to give it a nice smoky flavor. Once it’s reached the correct internal temperature, the steak can be moved to the hot side of the barbecue grill to add some nice charring to the outside.
Once it is done, let the steak rest for ten minutes before thinly slicing against the grain.
Arguably this is the best cut of beef for grilling and is the staple of Korean and Argentinian barbecues.
The short rib comes from the lower, belly part of a steer’s ribcage, and can be cut in a variety of different ways.
In Korea, for example, the short ribs are butterflied so they can take lots of marinades, and become extra juicy and tender when grilled.
Short ribs are a marbled meat, which means they have a rich beef flavor when grilled, with some people saying the taste is similar to the much more expensive cap on a rib eye steak.
Buying from the butcher, a rack of short ribs usually has bones which are six inches long, about 1.5 inches wide with a slab of meat about 1 inch thick sitting on the top.
With a sharp knife, you can de-bone the meat, leaving a slab of marbled beef.
That marbling of fat in the short rib makes the cooking less critical than with an expensive tender steak such as a T-bone. The short rib is best cooked to be medium rare.
Otherwise, the internal temperature is not high enough to break down the intramuscular fat and leaves the steak tasting waxy and robust. It is best to keep the seasoning simple with salt and pepper.
Ideally, you are looking for an internal temperature of 130F/55C. The short ribs need to be cooked over a hot but not flaming fire, ending up with the meat cooked through to the center and a crusty deep brown exterior.
Once grilled, set aside to rest for five minutes before thinly slicing against the grain, and serving with a sauce or salsa of your choice.
Skirt steak comes from the area of the steer’s diaphragm, which is similar to the hanger steak.
Traditionally it is the cut of meat used for Mexican fajitas, because of its rich texture with a lot of fat and a strong grain. With such a high-fat content, skirt steak almost self-bastes during grilling, adding to its fantastic flavor.
As we have said before, these cheaper steaks, although full of flavor, need to be carefully grilled to get the best out of them, otherwise they can turn out to be tough and leathery, and a very difficult chew.
When buying skirt steak, the butcher will remove the membrane which makes trimming easy.
Just get rid of any excess fat, and you’re ready to go. Skirt steak is perfect for a barbecue grill as it needs intense heat. Because the steak is thin, it needs to be grilled quickly, so the outside gets nicely seared, and the inside cooked to the right temperature.
As with all of these cheaper steaks let the meat rest for a few minutes after grilling, and then cut against the grain.
This is another steak that comes from the back legs of the cow like the tri-tip and is found at the bottom of the sirloin.
This is one of the most versatile of the cheaper steaks and lends itself to grilling whole, or being cubed and put on skewers for kebabs. Be sure to use some good BBQ tool sets to help maneuver the skewers around!
Because the meat has a course texture, it takes well to rubs and marinades; there is a lot of surface area for the herbs and spices to infuse.
The texture and fat content mean that it probably not a good idea to try and cook flap meat rare, better to go for medium rare or better still medium to still retain the juices and keep it tender.
As a pretty forgiving steak, you can throw it on a hot grill, and it should take the heat nicely, flipping every minute or so. You will know when it is done once the internal temperature at the thickest part of the steak has reached 125F/52C.
If the center has not achieved this temperature and the outside looks as if it beginning to burn, you can move it to an area of indirect heat to continue to grilling.
Once it is ready, allow to rest as usual, and slice with the apparent grain, before dividing the parts with thin cuts across the grain.
Q: What is the difference between a Charcoal grill & a Gas Grill for BBQ?
In one word: flavor, but there is definitely more to it. The charcoal smoke adds a distinct type of flavor to the meat which BBQ purists will like. Another advantage is the amount of heat that can be imparted onto the meat. Gas grills can’t reach temperatures of 900 very easily.
These are also far less expensive than gas grills. Practicality is one element where gas wins over charcoal big time.
Gas grilling has another huge advantage which is convenience.
There’s no need for fiddling around with wood or briquettes etc. One can simply light in a press of a button and begin grilling.
Health benefits are another reason why folks sometimes opt for gas grills. Studies have shown that charcoal grilled meat tends to have more carcinogens since the flame is much hotter.
Q: What is the difference between an infrared burner & a conventional option?
IR burners primarily use infrared energy obtained by heating a suitable material and utilize the resulting radiation to cook the food.
The advantages of these are that less heat can be required, flare ups prevented and can be easily cleaned too. The disadvantages are temperature control & fragility of the material.
The conventional burner uses convection which in this case uses the propane to transmit the heat onto the meat.
The advantages are primarily cost and greater control of temp. The downsides are that it can take a lot longer than IR options.
This is why you very often see a combination of conventional burners in the main grilling area and IR burners in the side area to give a bit of variety and serve both needs well.
Flat top grills usually have better heat distribution due to how the heating element is built but there are flat tops that make use of a conventional burner to achieve reasonable results as well.
Q: Is there a way I can prevent the grill from rusting?
The elements of the weather are usually your grill’s greatest adversaries. Rusting is cited as the number 1 reason why grills are not durable.
Most grills initially come coated with porcelain or other rust preventive substances but since these chip away easily, the base element which is steel in most cases is exposed and it can rust quite quickly. So what can you do about it?
You can always ensure your grill is placed under a roofed area in your backyard so that the rain doesn’t settle and cause corrosion.
Coating or seasoning with oil is a proven technique to help keep your grill alive and kicking for a long time. Coating the grill repeatedly with vegetable or cooking oil will allow the grates to repel moisture.
Simply wide instead of wash before using. It’s important to note that this has to be done repeatedly for best results.
Q: Can all grills cook all kinds of meat?
Not really. Always look for the max temperature a grill can reach if you are cooking things like fish or steak.
This will determine if you can effectively cook the meat with those sear marks you dearly love. The 600-degree mark is one to watch for.
Q: Propane or natural gas: which one is better for grilling?
Performance wise they both are the same but convenience wise they differ. Natural gas is usually piped into your home so you need to be plugged in at all times to access this fuel source.
Propane has the advantage that it can be carried in small tanks, attached and detached when needed and also be refilled very quickly.