Do yourself a favor. Never Google the words “women” and “grill” together. That combination would lead you to believe that women are only capable of handling petite, pink-trimmed BBQs that have simple buttons that read “on” and “off.” Forget all that. The tough part of buying a grill is that they vary in price so dramatically, from $100 for an outdoor George Foreman special to a model that will have you taking out a second mortgage on your house. Here are the buying basics.
You can get an electric grill pretty inexpensively, but if you care about the taste and integrity of your food, you’ll want to stick to charcoal or gas because combustion gas gives food wonderful flavor. Check this out for great grilling tips and recipes.
Portability | Perfect for limited space or if you want the option of sticking it in the trunk of the car to bring camping.
Hands-on experience | If starting a fire and hanging close to the action is your thing, charcoal is a good bet.
Heat | Generates more heat than gas and imparts a slightly different flavor to the food.
Price | Ranges from about $40 to as high as $1,000, if you want something with fancy smoking features.
Cleanup | Requires disposal of ashes and heavy-duty cleaning.
Hands-on cooking | Requires you to start and maintain the fire, so if you’re more of a set-it-and-forget-it cook, gas may a better option.
Hidden costs | Cheaper on the front end, but you have to buy charcoal every few times you use it.
* Tip: If you plan on grilling lots of steaks or other foods that require hefty heat, charcoal may be the way to go.
Quick and easy | Just push a button, and you’re ready to grill in 15 minutes.
Cleanup | Some cooking spray and a grill brush are just about all you need to maintain your gas grill.
Control | Most work like a stove—adjust the heat settings to cook your food at just about any temperature you like.
Cost | Maintenance costs are fairly low (you’ll just need to grab a new propane tank from the gas station every so often), gas grills can be a big investment.
Less heat | If chicken, fish, and veggies are the primary objects of your affection, gas is great. Beyond that, gas just doesn’t get hot enough to do it right, unless you buy one with sear burners.
* Tip: You can save a little money by purchasing one now—toward the end of the summer season.