Best Barbecue Grill
A new addition to the barbecue bar scene is the electric barbecue grill. This brand new technology is able to transform an electric cooker or griddle into a Hitachi grill.
First off, what is a hibachi grill? It is a type of grill that can be made to use either charcoal or gas. They are typically used with outdoor grills. A Hitachi grill uses propane or natural gas as fuel and therefore they can not be placed inside.
Countertop Grill Buying Guide
The Basics: Countertop Grills
Since the 1990’s, indoor grills, also called countertop grills, have been steadily growing in popularity.
Although they can’t offer the flame-grilled flavor of an outdoor grill, indoor grills have some definite advantages, and consumers have responded enthusiastically to the tune of billions of dollars in sales for these small yet eminently useful appliances.
There is something about a steak sizzling on the barbeque that makes our taste buds dance. From barbecued chicken to shrimp kebabs to grilled pineapple, America loves to grill.
Whether it’s the Fourth of July or the middle of February, some things just taste better when grilled.
Grilling is popular for its health benefits as well as the unique flavor it imparts to foods. If you live in a colder climate or simply don’t have the space or desire for a full-size outdoor grill, an indoor grill provides a welcome alternative.
By providing an alternative to backyard barbecuing, countertop grills extend the grilling season virtually indefinitely.
In 1995, the first George Foreman contact grill was introduced, revolutionizing the indoor grill market. The idea was simple: invent a machine that can grill foods on both sides at once, thus shortening the cooking time by eliminating the need to flip the food.
The Foreman grill was an instant success, and an incredible 57 million “Lean Mean Grilling Machines” have been sold in the United States to date. With the popularity of the Foreman grill, many other manufacturers have jumped on the contact grill bandwagon.
Indoor grills have become so varied and versatile that they are no longer simply an alternative to outdoor barbeques. Instead, they have become the preferred choice for many homeowners seeking a healthy way to cook.
From traditional countertop grills to contact grills and individual sandwich and panini makers, indoor grilling is a sensation that is sweeping the country.
Several grill styles are available, and each has its own advantages. Traditional indoor countertop grills come with one or more cooking surfaces that either sit atop a heating element or have an embedded heating element in the grill plate.
Drip pans are used to collect juices and fats. Smokeless grilling is achieved by pouring water into the drip pan, thus cooling hot drips before they have a chance to smoke.
On the other hand, contact grills work by applying heated grids directly to the food, usually from two angles. Some contact grills convert to allow flat griddle-style cooking.
These units are popular for their fast, efficient cooking, and they also do a great job with sandwiches.
Dedicated sandwich and panini makers are more specialized and offer a different twist on contact grilling.
Two heating plates are connected via a clamshell-like hinge, and some even have recessed triangular compartments designed to accommodate a traditional sandwich with two bread slices and your choice of filling.
As you close the machine, the bread is divided into two triangular sections and the ends are sealed. The heat from the grill plates warms the filling and toasts the bread.
Since sandwich makers don’t actually cook the food as a traditional grill would, any meats or vegetables need to be precooked before assembling the sandwich.
Panini makers use a similar concept, but in place of triangular compartments, these machines sport ribbed grilled plates to score the bread for a traditional grilled effect.
Indoor grills range in price from approximately $20 for a basic unit to $200 for a top-of-the-line model with specialty features.
Warranties vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, although most units are covered for 90 days, 1 year or 2 years.
How to Shop
When selecting an indoor grill, consider how often you will use the appliance and what types of food will be cooked.
Do you need a grill that can prepare sandwiches as well as burgers? Is space an issue? In general, the size of the grill is directly proportional to its available cooking space,
So if you routinely cook for a large family, be sure to purchase a model that is large enough to meet your requirements.
Special features translate into increased price, so if you are buying a specialty model, be sure you are getting the extras that you actually need.
Before you go shopping, first determine what type of indoor grill best suits your style of cooking. Of the two basic types — countertop and contact grills — countertop models usually have a larger grilling surface, which is an advantage if you are cooking for a large group.
Since more food will fit on the grate, you can cook up to eight or ten burgers at once, instead of preparing food in smaller batches. On the other hand, contact grills have the advantage of speed, since foods cook from the top and bottom at once.
A number of models also flip open, mimicking the flat design of a countertop grill. The other main difference is that with contact grills, the grill plates are solid with either a flat or ribbed surface, whereas most countertop grills have a traditional slotted cooking grate.
Your choice of contact versus countertop grill is mainly a matter of preference. Both styles deliver wonderfully seared food, and deliver the traditional sear marks that are characteristic of grilled delights.
If you are buying a countertop grill primarily to make sandwiches, consider a sandwich maker or panini press. These units are amazing effective at producing beautifully toasted breads with your choice of filling.
Materials and Construction: Indoor grills are made from a combination of plastic and metal components.
Of the countertop variety, most models have a rectangular plastic base with legs that raise the unit up to protect the countertop.
The grill plates are typically made from heavy-duty cast aluminum with a non-stick coating. Look for embedded heating elements, which deliver an even heat to the entire cooking surface.
Contact grills often have a cool-touch plastic housing with non-stick metal grill plates. The ridged, slanted design of these grills channels grease away from your food and into a separate grease cup.
Many models offer removable grill plates, which is a real advantage when it comes time for cleaning. For the sake of safety, make sure any grill you purchase has sturdy, cool-touch plastic handles.
Several multipurpose models are also available, with interchangeable grill plates that let you switch from flat griddle to ridged grill to even waffle plates.
Size: Indoor grills vary tremendously when it comes to overall cooking area. Traditional countertop grills have an average of 140 to 190 square inches of cooking surface.
The smallest contact grill is 38 square inches and can accommodate about two hamburgers, while the largest contact grills have up to 200 square inches of grilling space, or enough to cook 12 hamburgers.
The larger models often offer dual heating elements with separate temperature controls for independent operation of each side of the grill.
Power/Temperature Settings: Indoor grills either have an attached power cord or a removable temperature probe.
Many countertop models feature adjustable thermostats with settings from warm/low to medium/high (350 degrees to 450 degrees Fahrenheit).
Contact grills either have a single heat setting or a variable heat selector. Although variable settings are not necessary, as the highest heat setting works best for most foods, the choice of a low heat setting for keeping food warm is a convenient option.
Controls: Controls vary from model to model. On countertop models, you will usually find a dial temperature probe with variable heat settings.
On contact grills, there may be no control switch at all, as plugging the unit in begins the heating process, or there may be a variable temperature dial.
Other features available on certain models include a 30- to 60-minute timer with automatic shut-off, indicator lights, a tempered glass lid and removable drip pans or grease cups.
With all the options available, there is sure to be a model to meet your needs. With a handy countertop grill, grilling becomes a year-round delight.
You must be careful when using a flat-grilled surface because there is nothing to guide you with the temperature control. You must always cook on the lowest setting or else you may end up with burnt food. When using a Hitachi grill, a stove may be used.
George Foreman GGR50B Indoor/Outdoor Grill
Weber Smokey Joe® 14” Portable Grill
Coleman Roadtrip 225 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill, Red
A marinade can make everyday meal, something like a meal from a posh restaurant. Yes the taste and the texture of the meat after getting a marinade just right, is one of life’s pleasures that’s for sure!
Marinating meat doesn’t have to be done 24 hours before hand, especially if you are using wine, juice, vinegar, salt or alcohol, as these will soak into the meat too much and overpower it, so two hours is the recommended marinating time for marinades with these ingredients.
If you crave the melt in the mouth tender meat taste (whether it’s beef, pork, lamb, venison, poultry, or fish) and don’t want to wait the twenty four hours (or even the 2 hours mentioned already), then I’d recommend tenderizing the meat first.
In fact, use this cooking equipment – the Deni Circular 49 Blade Meat Tenderizer – MT149, which has sharp stainless steel blades that tenderize the meat, making it both quicker to absorb the marinade and cook.
Once you have tenderized the meat, you need to mix the meat and marinade together, place in a container and put in the fridge.
A couple of pointers here, never leave the marinade at room temperature, and never use a metal container to marinade the meat in, as some ingredients can react with metal, especially aluminum and cast iron.
The best thing to put a marinade in is a sealed plastic bag, as this can be shook, and turned over during the marinating process to ensure all the meat is covered and the marinade soaks evenly in.
I often just marinade meat for half an hour, and it still tastes divine, so if you are anything like me, and don’t plan your meals a day in advance, then half an hour is an okay time to marinate meat for.
If you have time to marinade it longer, then you might get some extra flavor, but if you tenderize the meat (with a kitchen appliance like the Deni Circular 49 Blade Meat Tenderizer – MT149) beforehand then any extra time really isn’t necessary.
Lastly when you cook up the marinated meat make sure that you treat it as you would any raw meat, and that you discard any unused marinade.
Tempting as it may seem to keep the marinade it has been in contact with raw meat, so it needs to be thrown away and not reused.
Gas Grill Buying Guide
The Basics: Gas Grills
Gas grills come in a variety of sizes and styles, from compact, portable grills to round, kettle-style grills on stands to standard full-size grills mounted on movable console carts.
Within each of these categories, you will find still further variations in shape, dimensions and options.
You can also find a number of highly specialized gas grills that are designed for a single purpose, such as a smoker or turkey fryer.
The newest option in the gas grill category is an infrared cooking system, which is available on select models.
Unlike direct flame cooking systems, the infrared system relies on radiant heat (and quite a bit of it) to quickly sear and then cook the food. During infrared cooking, the flames are used to superheat a sheet of metal or a ceramic block, which in turn provides the radiant energy.
This type of heat is extremely uniform across the cooking surface and reaches temperatures that are much higher than their direct flame counterparts.
Infrared cooking can also take the form of a single burner, usually mounted at the rear of the grill, which is often used for indirect or rotisserie-style cooking.
Other, more esoteric enhancements that are now available include stationary or flexible grill lights, built-in marinade drawers, cutting boards, condiment shelves, drink holders, slide-out tank trays and add-on accessories such as griddles, woks and steamers.
Because these accessories usually increase the cost of the grill, smart consumers will opt for only those items they will actually use on a regular basis.
More than 75 percent of American households own at least one grill. Of the various types (charcoal, gas, electric), gas grills have emerged as the overall favorite by virtue of their speed and efficiency.
Not only does the gas grill offer the ease and convenience of cooking foods directly over the heat source, it also provides greater control over the process.
Plus, it all but eliminates the tedious cleanup required for indoor cooking using pots and pans.
Impatient cooks appreciate the time-saving features of gas grills. These units light instantly, reach cooking temperatures in just minutes, deliver a consistent heat and have multiple zones so you can vary the temperature for direct or indirect cooking.
A well-constructed model should last for years — with surprisingly little maintenance.
A typical gas grill consists of a grill box with one or more burners, metal cooking grates and a top hood.
The grill box is often mounted on a console base, cart or cabinet. All gas grills have some type of igniter to light the grill and control valves to regulate the gas glow, and, thereby, the temperature.
Top-of-the-line models usually feature impressive materials and construction, offer multiple burners and a long list of accessories, which can be appealing but are often unnecessary.
At the lower end of the spectrum, you will find smaller overall cooking surfaces, less substantial materials, and fewer accessories.
For the cost, a good middle-of-the-road model will perform well and serve its owner for a long time.
Here are five key questions to consider when shopping for a gas grill:
How many Btu do I need?
Btu, or British Thermal Units, measure the amount of heat that is generated per hour. Technically speaking, a Btu is the amount of heat that is needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.
Most full-size gas grills range from 25,000 to 65,000 Btu; smaller, portable grills can have as few as 5,000 Btu, and larger units can have as much as 100,000 Btu or more!
The Btu rating alone is insufficient to determine the heat output of a grill. You also need to look at grill size. Grills with 500 square inches of cooking space, for example, need approximately 35,000-50,000 Btu to reach a searing temperature of 550-600 degrees Fahrenheit.
On average, you should look for approximately 100 Btu per square inch of primary cooking space. Generally, the larger the grill, the more Btu are required to reach a similar temperature.
Remember also that because the Btu rating measures the total amount of heat generated by all the burners per hour, it is also an indicator of the fuel consumption.
The higher the Btu, therefore, the more gas the grill will consume and the more often you need to refill your tank.
What is the difference between direct and indirect heat?
One of the main advantages of gas grilling versus charcoal grilling is the ability to easily regulate the temperature of the cooking surface by simply turning a control knob.
In many cases, gas grills have two or more separate heating “zones,” letting you use a higher setting over one area and a lower temperature over another.
Using a higher temperature along the sides and a lower temperature in the middle, or main cooking area, is what is referred to in the grilling world as “indirect heat.” Direct heat, by contrast, is using a constant (and usually higher) temperature across the entire cooking surface.
Direct heat works best for items that need to cook quickly (e.g., steaks, burgers or boneless chicken breasts). Indirect grilling is preferred for foods that need to cook for a longer time at lower temperatures (e.g., barbecued ribs or roasts).
What is the difference between natural gas and propane?
All of the gas grills in our tests are powered by liquefied propane or LP gas, which can be purchased in large 20-pound cylinders.
Although natural gas is still an option, many grill owners opt for LP gas mainly for its convenience, portability and efficiency. Price-wise, natural gas beats LP gas; however, it is not available in all areas and cannot be substituted without modifications to the grill itself.
Additional gadgets that are available for LP gas tanks include quick-connect couplers and fuel gauges that show the amount of propane remaining in the tank.
What type of materials should I look for in a grill?
Gas grills are constructed from a wide variety of materials, namely stainless steel, cast iron, cast aluminum, enamel-coated steel or a combination of different metals.
Stainless steel, copper and cast iron components are generally considered the preferred materials and will raise the price tag, depending on how much of the material is incorporated into the design.
Models made primarily from stainless steel typically cost more than those made from aluminum or porcelain-enamel-coated steel. Not all stainless steel grills are created equal, however.
Factors such as a heavy-gauge material and folded or reinforced edges are evidence of a well-constructed grill.
The burners, in particular, should be constructed from a quality metal to ensure long-lasting performance.
Models made from less-expensive materials may cook just as well as their higher priced counterparts, but may not last as long.
What type of cooking surface is best?
The cooking surface on a gas grill typically consists of one or more removable grates, made from stainless steel, cast iron, porcelain-coated steel or aluminum or heavy wire.
The materials and thickness of the grid vary, with each type and style claiming its own advantages. In many cases, personal preference will dictate which type you prefer. Additional options include metal heat-deflector plates or bars placed over the burners,
Charcoal-like briquettes or lava rocks, which not only redistribute the heat from below but also capture drippings and transfer the flavors back to the cooked foods with the steam.
How to Shop
Before shopping for a gas grill, you should determine your budget and the type of grill you are looking for.
A basic model will handle your barbecue needs adequately; however, frequent grillers may want to opt for something with more bells and whistles. Keep in mind that more accessories usually means a higher price tag.
If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of great options that will satisfy your needs and not break the bank. Consider the following:
Size: When comparing models, be sure to look at the “primary” cooking space, which is the amount of space available on the main grilling surface. Some manufacturers include the warming rack space in a total cooking space measurement.
Warming space, while nice for keeping buns or cooked foods off the main heating surface, can’t be used for cooking.
On average, grills range from 300 to 600 square inches of primary cooking space. The smaller sizes are usually sufficient when cooking for two to four individuals; larger models will accommodate up to eight people or more.
Also look at the number of burners. If you are cooking for less than four people, a basic two-burner grill may suffice.
If you like to entertain or typically cook for a larger group, you should consider a three- or four-burner grill, which provides more heat over a large cooking area.
Adding a side burner will enable you to cook sauces, side dishes and other accompaniments at the same time.
Console/Cart: A console cabinet is by no means a necessity when purchasing a gas grill. You will pay less for a basic frame or wheeled cart than you will for a cabinet-style housing so consider where you will be using the grill and whether you need storage space.
You will also have a choice of casters or wheels. Casters typically provide greater maneuverability — in any direction; whereas wheels are typically mounted on only one side of the cart, offering increased stability on uneven surfaces.
Whatever style you choose, be sure to look for a sturdy cart with more welded pieces and fewer screws.
If you don’t plan to move the grill around, you may even want to consider skipping the cart altogether and mounting the grill permanently.
This type of configuration is most often used with a natural gas line that provides a ready supply of fuel to the grill.
Controls: The control knobs determine how much gas is allowed through the valve to the burner, thus providing a higher or lower flame.
Depending on the number of burners, you may see one, two, three or more dial controls designed to regulate the temperature of the burners.
Typically, one of the burner controls will act as the “start” setting, allowing you to light one burner and then activate the other burners as needed.
All gas grills have some type of starter or igniter. Some models offer an electric igniter, which sends a series of sparks to light the burner. Electric igniters require a battery to function.
Others have a flint-type igniter (either pushbutton or rotary dial), which requires no batteries.
Thanks to a number of standard and optional accessories, gas grills offer more convenience and versatility than ever:
Front and side shelves: Wooden, plastic or metal shelves are available in a variety of different configurations; some have special compartments to hold condiments, utensils and other cooking essentials.
Console/Cart: The cart may be as simple as a frame mounting to support the cooking chamber or it may be a fully enclosed cabinet-style structure with doors. The cart is often mounted on either two or four wheels to facilitate moving it from place to place.
Side burner: In place of a side shelf, many consumers opt for a separate burner. Unlike the main grill burners, side burners act much like a stovetop burner, so you can heat sauces or cook foods such as based beans right alongside your main entree.
The side burner typically has a separate control knob to operate independently of the other burners.
Rotisserie: For slow-roasting whole chickens or cooking ribs, a rotisserie is a long metal rod suspended horizontally above the fuel source and rotated slowly, usually powered by an electric motor.
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