Now that grilling season is upon us, it is time to take a look at different types of grills, grill quality, and how grills work so you will get the most enjoyment out of your new grill, or your existing grill.

Charcoal or Gas

The age old question: "Charcoal or Gas".  This will be debated forever and there is no right or wrong answer.  I will give just a few thoughts.

Charcoal advantages: better flavor (ok, but you can get the smokey flavor with a smoker box in a gas grill also), easy to transport, inexpensive, and traditional (most people my age can remember cook outs over charcoal when we were kids).

Charcoal disadvantages: harder to start (and then not all of the charcoal will light), hard to control cooking temperature, limited cooking time, and the worst part, cleaning up the ash afterwards.  The "green movement" will probably have outdoor charcoal cooking banned all together (it is already being banned in some places).

Gas advantages: easy to start, easy to control cooking temperature, longer cooking time, easy clean-up. Rotisserie and side burners to expand cooking range.

Gas disadvantages: costs more (LP prices have gone up), not as portable (especially NG grills).

Gas Grill Quality

How do you know a quality grill when you see one?  It is often hard to tell, even the inexpensive gas grills look nice on the outside, with lots of features and maybe some nice lights. I service all brands of outdoor grills (to the best of my ability) and in my OPINION, this is how the different grills stack up.

Chinese imports, the end cost (or cost you will pay to purchase the grill) is the fisrt concern for manufactures of Chinese imported grills.  Once the end cost is determined, the manufacturer figures out ways to make the grill with good curb appeal and nice features, while cutting corners to keep the production costs down to meet the end cost and maximize profits (putting lipstick on the pig).

Since these grills sell for less the manufacturer, and dealer, must make money by selling a large volume of these grills to the uneducated public. The best way to move a large volume of these grills is through discount or warehouse type chains such as Lowe's, Home Depot, Walmart, Kmart, Target, Sam's Club, and Costco for example.

The Chinese import grills are inferior, not because of the way they look or their features, but because of the materials used in their construction.  Plastic parts, painted sheet metal, thin low-grade stainless steel on the outside and low-grade interior components that do not perform well from the start and wear out quickly. Parts and service are often hard to obtain and a real hassle for the average person.  I have done extensive research and I can take the hassle out of getting parts and servicing these grills, in most cases.

Some of the Chinese import brands to be wary of: Jenn-Air, Uniflame, Charbroil, Brinkman, Charmglow, Kirkland, and Member's Mark.

There are some manufactures of better quality grills that have either started to use Chinese parts in their grills or have their grills completely made in China: Weber (Dukane and less expensive grills are made in China), Vintage, Turbo, PGS, Alfresco and DCS.

Purchasing a Gas Grill

You can purchase a gas grill from many sources, here are the pros and cons, in my OPINION:

Internet Dealers:

Advantages: Large selection, easy to comparison shop, don't have to leave the house, low prices.

Disadvantages: Can't touch or see products, little if any personal contact with actual dealer, most internet dealers are "drop-shippers" who do not have a storefront, warehouse, or employee's.  Most internet dealers will have little, if any, personal knowledge of the products they sell.  "Drop-shippers" sell you the product and then have your product shipped to you from a distributor's warehouse or the manufacurer.  Warranty parts and service are difficult to obtain, you will more than likely get refered to the manufacturer for warranty needs, out-of-warranty is even worse, the dealer, distributor, and manufacturer are probably not in your locality.

Discount and Warehouse Stores:

Advantages: Low prices, some selection, can speak to an employee (may or may not be helpful), can contact the store if you have a problem with the grill (may or may not be helpful), store is in your locality.

Disadvantages: Grills sold are most likely Chinese Imports, the store does not service the grill and may not have all replacement parts, you will have to deal with the manufacture for warranty and out-of-warranty issues.

Specialty Stores:

Advantages: Some selection, knowledgable staff, higher quality offerings.

Disadvantages: Some stores only sell one line of grills, some stores do not service the grills they sell, quality grills, highter overhead and lower sales volume result in higher prices.

Independent Dealers:

I had to create this category becuase I do not fit directly into any of the above.  I am an authorized dealer of Modern Home Products outdoor grills.  The Chef's Choice and Pro Fire lines. I have made the choice to only sell one line of grills due to the fact that MHP grills are American made, of the highest quality materials and componets, and offer a lifetime warranty on almost all of the grill, even the stainless steel burners.  So, why buy from me?

Advantages: Low overhead (no storefront, warehouse, or employees) means low prices (even lower than the internet dealers), grills come directly from the manufacturer, I assemble them, deliver them, and install them, I service what I sell (as well as what everybody else sells), I will meet with you directly and help you select the grill that is best suited for your needs.

Disadvantages: I do not have dipslay grills that you can look at and touch.

As you can see, the advantages of buying a grill from me out weigh the disadvantages.  I offer the best of both the internet dealer and the local specialty shop.  I can not meet, or beat, the prices you get at the discount and warehouse chains, because the grills I offer are of much higher quality and built to last a life time.

Next Segment: Grill Components