When it comes to selecting a brand new BBQ, there’s certainly a lot of choice available these days. And I’m not only referring to the significant quantity of individual BBQ models that are out there, but also to the 3 main types of BBQs that are available to choose from: Propane, Electric, & Portable.

For this reason, today I explore some of the good, the bad, and the yummy considerations for each of the major BBQ types. If you’re thinking of getting a new BBQ for fun Summer cookouts, read on for a few tidbits of advice that will help you to select the ideal BBQ unit.

(Note: There are other types of BBQs besides the one’s I’m considering here, like charcoal and natural gas, but we’ve got to draw the line somewhere. Also, the model shown above is the extremely impressive Napoleon LEX 605 64,000 BTU 6-Burner Propane BBQ.)

 

Propane BBQs

It may or may not surprise you to read that Propane BBQs have for some time been the most popular type of BBQ available. This is largely due to their reputation for convenience (they’re very easy to use) and their heating consistency (which is more difficult to achieve with charcoalthe previous BBQ champion). Propane is also said to achieve higher temperatures than electric BBQs over a prolonged period of time (as well as in general), which can influence the flavour outcome of whatever it is you’re cooking. For example, with a propane grill, you can easily keep the temperature at a consistently high level, whereas with an electric model the temperature may vary as the heat coils periodically rise to the desired temperature and then cut out again when the temperature tops off.

During this subsequent cooling down period, even though the temperature may not fall by much before the coils cut back in, the temperature consistency does not remain constant. This can greatly affect the grill’s ability to effectively cook (and in particular to sear your steak or other chosen meat). Searing works best with consistently high and even temperatures. The clean burning nature of propane makes this fuel an environmentally friendly choice as well, though electricity isn’t exactly a bad choice eitherboth are considerably cleaner than the aforementioned charcoal.

Even so, it bears mentioning that cooking with propane is a non-toxic option wherein the fuel employed will not adversely affect either the taste or the nutritional quality of your food. Propane is also favoured by those that frequently cook for large groups, like parties and community events. These BBQs are generally large enough and even-cooking enough to handle greater quantities of food at any given time. Personally, this is my favourite type of machine, though my wife and I have a smaller, portable version ourselves.

One very nice option for anyone leaning in the direction of a propane BBQ is the Char-Broil Performance TRU-Infrared 34000 BTU Propane BBQ (shown above). This model has a lot going for it, including room enough to cook up to 37 burgers at once (nearly enough for myself alone!), easy to clean cast iron grates (which are porcelain coated and rust-resistant), “TRU-Infrared technology” (for extra juicy results), and an extra side-burner (10,000 BTUs) for additional cooking space. The main burner here is a 34,000 BTU beauty that’s ready and able to handle whatever you can throw at it—or on it!

 

Electric BBQs

In making enquiries on the key qualities of Electric BBQs, I learned that due to the lack of combustion occurring in their grilling chamber, there is no (or at any rate, very little) smoke produced, making them somewhat more pleasant to stand over and cook one’s dinner on. This also makes electric models suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, whereas one should never attempt to use a propane BBQ indoors!!

The real advantage, however, is the fact that you’ll never again have to worry about running all over town to buy and/or fill a propane tank. This may be significant for many, as it can be a hassle to procure propane in some cases (such as if you have to drive several kilometres to get to your nearest propane supplier).

Unfortunately, electric BBQs are not well suited to large events or parties. They’re typically best employed for groups of just 2 to 6 people; Any more than that and you should really go with a propane BBQ. Electric BBQs are also not typically favoured among BBQ aficionados.

The only current example of an electric grill at Best Buy is the Char-Broil Patio Bistro 240 Graphite Electric BBQ. This grill features enough cooking space to handle up to 26 burgers (of 4 inches in diameter) at a time, the “Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Cooking System” (which directs heat evenly over the porcelain-coated cooking grates), and a BTU rating of 5000, among many other great features. If an electric BBQ is what most appeals to you, then this attractive BBQ is definitely worth a look.

 

Portable BBQs

If a Portable BBQ is what you’ve been eying, a key point to consider is how much food it can cook at a time. If the model is small enough to easily tote around with you, will it also be capable of handling your family’s mealtime requirements, or are you going to be forced to cook your supper in two or three separate rounds of grilling?

Among the key virtues of portable grills is that they generally cost considerably less than their larger cousins, they can be taken on camping (or other) trips with you, and they often still provide the favourable benefits of cooking with propane (as does the model that I’m about to show you).

It’s the Char-Broil TRU-Infrared BBQ2Go X200 9,500 BTU Portable Propane BBQ, and it’s got enough room for a dozen 4 inch hamburger patties (not too shabby for a portable model!), rust and corrosion-resistant stainless steel grates (which are also highly heat conductive), one burner with the infamous “Infrared Technology” (popular for its ability to evenly and efficiently deliver high temperatures, thus producing flavourful and juicy results every time you cook), and 9,500 BTUs of raw BBQing power! It’s really quite impressive for something you can take with you on camping trips and the like.

 

BBQ Accessories

With each of the BBQ models and types mentioned above, there’s always a need for various BBQ Accessories. Items like skillets, skewering racks, and cleaning brushes are invaluable to the frequent backyard cook, as are tools like knives, tongs, spatulas, and BBQ covers. Shown below is the Napoleon 3-Piece Stainless Steel BBQ Set. A quick perusal of Best Buy’s many BBQ accessory offerings is sure to yield additional valuable ideas, so you should definitely take a look at these accessories if you’re already planning a BBQ purchase.And there you have it! Three major types of BBQs that are currently available to choose from. The key decision for you to make now is determining which category best suits your needs. After that, it’s simply a matter of researching the models in your chosen class and selecting the very best one for you.

As I always advise, a little bit of research can really go a long way towards making a good buying decision. The simple investment of a little bit of time is often the difference between a happy shopping experience and a painful case of buyers remorse. If a new BBQ is what you’re after, put in the requisite time to get yourself a most satisfactory model. Happy grilling!

 

Leonard Bond
Originally from Nova Scotia, I currently live with my wife in Burnaby, BC. I have previously lived in both Toronto and New Zealand as well. I love to travel and I also love classic literature and great movies (especially spy & espionage works such as those featuring James Bond & Jason Bourne). I am also a serious toy and memorabilia collector (mostly Transformers) and have a great interest in gadgets and technology of all sorts. Many things intrigue me, and that's why I'm here on the Plug-In Blog. I never know what interesting things I'll encounter next!

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