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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) About BBQs and Outdoor Cooking

Nothing feels more like summer than a crisp, warm evening spent barbequing on your patio or deck with family and friends. Not all BBQs are created equally—there are different types of heat sources, varying sizes and shapes, and basic models, fully-loaded units with all the bells and whistles and everything in between. There are also many types of portable BBQs to take with you camping, to the beach, etc. Some BBQs are specifically designed to be built-in to create an outdoor kitchen. Finding the best BBQ for your home means understanding features, technical terms and general information about barbeques; so check out these frequently asked questions and answers to help with your hunt for the perfect outdoor cooking equipment.

What size BBQ do I need?

Picking the right sized barbeque involves asking yourself a few key questions: What kind of space do I have for my BBQ? What will I be cooking most often and for how many people? Small two burner BBQs are great for a single person or couple, anyone who will just be firing up protein or a few kebabs on the grill, or anyone with a small deck or outdoor space. If you can spare the space and/or love to entertain, then a larger BBQ is the safer bet. Perfect for hosting small and large get-togethers, or anyone who wants to prepare the entire meal on the grill, including sides and mains, 4-6 burner BBQs provide tons of grilling space and versatility.

What BBQ accessories do I need?

Depending what your favourite dishes are to cook on the grill, there are tons of different kinds of barbecue accessories. The most common tools that every home cook should have for their BBQ are a spatula to flip burgers, a good pair of tongs, a cleaning brush or scraper, and a quality application brush for sauces and marinades. To expertly prepare more complex dishes consider a poultry roaster, non-stick cooking grid, a smoker or wood chips for a fiery taste, a grill basket for veggies, and a skewer set for homemade kabobs.

What are BTUs?

BTUs, or British Thermal Units, give you an indication of how much heat a particular grill can create. The higher the BTU number is, then the hotter the grill can get. Having a BBQ with a high BTU makes it easier to cook or char items faster, and usually means more control of the temperature of the grill for precise, flexible cooking temperatures.

What is an infrared grill?

Infrared technology in barbeques is a relatively new trend, beginning in the early 2000s, and has quickly become a buzz in outdoor cooking. Infrared grills are able to generate extremely high temperatures and get hotter faster than normal grills. Great for the outdoor chef that wants to brown or char meats at high temperatures, infrared grills can make cooking more delicate foods like vegetables or fish a little difficult.

Any other important things I should keep in mind before buying a BBQ?

Be sure to select a BBQ with a cooking technology that matches your outdoor setup and your personal preferences, as different types of grills will require appropriate hookups. Once you have decided to invest in a BBQ, it’s a great idea to buy a durable cover to protect it from harsh weather and exposure. In the event that your BBQ needs repair, it is simple to purchase replacement parts to ensure your outdoor grill stays in pristine condition for years to come.

What type of BBQ should I buy?

Buying a new BBQ is an exciting proposition; but there’s also a lot to consider. For instance, what type of BBQ should you buy? Should you get a standard kettle grill, or should you go with something a bit more specialized like an indirect-heat meat smoker? And how high end should you go? You could get something really simple and straightforward, or you could get something super fancy with a ton of useful features. There are so many different BBQ options out there that it can be real process to figure out exactly what you need and want.

The answer to these kinds of questions mostly comes down to what type of barbecuer you intend to be. If you’re a frequent griller who just wants to get the job done and get on with the business of eating burgers, steaks, and hot dogs, a standard kettle grill might be the best option for you. If, however, you fancy yourself more of a superstar backyard chef, an indirect meat smoker will give you the precise heat and slow cooking control necessary to smoke your steaks to perfection!

What other considerations are there when buying a new BBQ?

Among the other things to consider when buying a new BBQ are the size of the unit you’ll get. For instance, do you want a small, portable BBQ that you can take with you on camping trips? Or would you prefer to have an enormous, full-featured BBQ with which you can host large family cookouts? Similarly, do you want a classic direct heat grill that you can quickly fire off a platter full of burgers with, or would you prefer an indirect smoker with which to achieve perfectly smoked steaks in a slower and more deliberate fashion?

And then there’s the consideration of fuel type. Some BBQs burn charcoal, some are electric, and others still use propane gas or other fuels (even wood or pellets) that may impact the speed at which your food will cook, and potentially even the taste of the foods you’re cooking. This consideration really just comes down to your own personal taste in fuels, so hopefully you already have a pretty good idea of which type of fuel you enjoy cooking with.

Finally, there’s the consideration of budget, which for many will also be important. BBQs come in many different price points, with the features and quality to match. If your budget is limited, look for a model that combines the key features you really wish to have with a price that’s fully within reach. And if your preferred BBQ isn’t quite within reach, you can always choose an intermediate model to get you through the next couple of years and upgrade to something higher end later on. Similarly, think about whether you plan to BBQ frequently or rarely and spend an amount of money that’s appropriate to the situation.

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Outdoor kitchen and BBQ essentials