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A Beginner's Guide to Barbecues

How to find the gas grill of your dreams

By Naz Cavallaro

Photos courtesy Onward Manufacturing Co. Ltd.

As the weather heats up and thoughts turn to planning outdoor parties and backyard meals, many Canadians find themselves in the market for a new barbecue. One of the more popular options on the market is the gas grill. In fact, it is so popular that there are several variations to choose from—different brands, different features, different colours. For most consumers, it's tough to know where to begin. However, by following the advice below, you can easily find the grill of your dreams.

Questions and answers when searching for a grill

Before you head to the hardware or home improvement store, there are three key questions you should ask yourself to get a better understanding of your needs.

What's my budget?

Figuring out your budget is a good place to start when searching for a grill. These days, gas grills can range from $100 all the way up to $10,000. By establishing a budget before you set foot in the store, you can easily and instantly narrow your search. Keep in mind when setting your budget that your grill is an investment, and as such, it makes sense to evaluate the true costs over time. While a lower-priced grill may seem more attractive at first, consider how long it will function. Investing in a higher-priced model that will last you considerably longer than a less expensive grill will actually work out to be a better value over the course of time. Also be aware that the price of the grill will vary depending on the features you are looking for.

What features do I need?

Barbecue buyers also need to have a solid understanding of their cooking needs. This will not only help you find the best grill for you, it will also prevent you from being seduced with all the latest bells and whistles. Do your research and evaluate exactly what features you would use and what's important to you. For example, a side burner may seem like a nice add-on, but will you really use it? Perhaps those extra dollars would be better used to invest in a grill with a larger cooking surface or better quality cooking grids.

How big of a grill do I need?

Barbecues can vary greatly in capacity and available cooking area. To figure out what size grill to purchase, consider the number of people you will typically be cooking for, both on an everyday basis and when you entertain.

Also take time to consider what types of meals you want to grill. If you're just looking to grill burgers and steaks, a smaller grill will be more than sufficient. However, if you want to be able to grill large roasts and turkeys, you will need a larger cooking surface with multiple burners. You should also consider where you will be placing your grill. If you have a smaller backyard, or a balcony or patio, there are a number of smaller grills that can take up less space but provide the same exceptional results.

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