Charcoal grill, gas grill, electric grill, griddle, fixed or integrated grill, from the basic model to complex with warehouse, work table, extra kitchen… There are many impressive barbecue types sold for between $ 15 and $ 3,000. Different criteria must be taken into account to know what type of model will suit you: regular use, ease of use, security, price, location available
The grill is distinguished by the source of energy used: coal, gas, electricity. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
Prices make a big difference: from $ 15 for low-cost models to several thousand dollars for ceramic copies.
It is advisable to have a hand in a barbecue before purchasing to assess its quality and maneuverability.
Accessories (clips, spoons, lids, temperature sensors …) can increase the bill.
A grill is a hazardous device that must be installed and used with care.
Charcoal grills are not convenient for daily use compared to electric or gas models but are suitable for family or friends gatherings. The first price for charcoal barbecues corresponds to the nomadic version of about twenty euros. The price goes up to more than € 1,000 if you choose a ceramic copy, or even for the XL version, with a cart to move it to or a smoker (closed barbecue).
Charcoal grills give food a unique flavor, both baked and smoked. The first step is lighting and maintaining embers. There are several techniques for burning coal. Those paper balls are the most economical, but not the fastest. If not, you can use lighters in the cube, briquettes, liquid gold gel. After completely burning this element, it takes 40 minutes before having beautiful embers to start cooking. The use of liquid products can be dangerous and cause burns (due to flashbacks), which is why they were not approved by the Consumer Safety Commission (CSC, recommended for use in 2008). The paraffin blocks are effective but emit odors and smoke. Lighters made of wood fibers are natural and cheap. For patients, the rapid ignition system reduces this time to 20-25 minutes. For best cooking results, adjust the amount of cooking according to the number of batches.
The cooking intensity is adjusted by adjusting the height of the grill compared to the can, or by adjusting the intake. Leave 10 cm between the embers and the grill to prevent the flame created by the fat droplets on the embers do not lick the food, creating unwanted compounds.
With some appliances, it is also possible to cook indirectly (embers on the side and not below food), or in the oven mode (close the lid). The modular roast can be cooked in portrait mode: charcoal is not below the cooking grid but is consumed on the side grid. This limits the formation of unwanted compounds in food.
Wood chips with special essences can be added to embers to flavor dishes.
Advantages and disadvantages of a charcoal grill
- The risk of flashback with grease drops falling on embers
- Managing embers: quantity for each cooking, technical lighting, patience until embers are ready, complex shutdown (patience or extinction of embers), eliminating cold ash
- Risk of burns (when fire start is used incorrectly)
- The quality and durability of the mesh and base on poor quality products
- Preserving coal away from moisture
This type of barbecue has the advantage of being less messy, and easier to manage heating energy. Compact models are rare, gas grills are often bulky with trolleys and side shelves. And they are not within the reach of all budgets (charged at least 300 euros). Those with 2 burners will fit a group of 4-6 people. Those with 3 burners and more will please those who follow the big tables.
On this type of device, ignition is instantaneous, as on a gas stove. The burners heat the grill using enamel cast iron or stainless steel. Heating capacity can be adjusted with a single button, so no mesh height adjustment is needed.
Indirect cooking is possible by placing food in the cooking area without the burner directly below. Oven mode is activated by closing the lid. Food can even be sucked, after closing the lid, by placing wood chips on a tray placed on a cooking grid.
A 6 kg gas cylinder can hold about 10 hours with a 2-burner gas grill. To avoid running out of gas during meals, it is better to have a second bottle. Prefer propane over butane, because the latter cannot be used in the winter: below – 0.5 ° C, it remains liquid and does not come out of the bottle.
Propane can be used in any season.
The temperature rises rapidly
Simple on and off
A gas bottle is used for cooking
Set the power source with thermostat
Lid for furnace effect
There are usually many devices: shelves, thermometers in lids, stored under fireplaces, nets to keep warm
Gas cylinder management: level of gas leakage and systematic monitoring and capping of bottles after cooking
Regularly pour the grease tray
These fuel-free baked goods have the advantage of being used both outdoors and indoors. These are the only ones to be tolerated in a building, on a balcony or on a terrace (information should be checked against the co-ownership rules). Indoors, we will favor the table model, less bulky. Their ignition is easy, just connect them! On some products, the power supply is controlled via a thermostat. For entry-level, we will have to deal with a toggle button.
New: Tefal’s Aromatic-Q (which we tested in 2019) offers a “flavoring barrel” filled with wood chips, placed near heating elements, to flavor the food and regain it. The taste of charcoal barbecue.
Entry-level electric kebabs are sold for around thirty euros. In contrast, the Weber Pulse 2000 model (barbecue and 2,200 W shopping cart) costs about € 1,000.
→ The results of our electric barbecue test
Advantages and disadvantages of electric barbecue
- There is no fuel to manage
- Simple on and off
Low price (for some models)
- Small footprint
- Be careful with the extension lying around
- Administer grease/water tray
Today’s fashion, plancha can be sold as a barbecue accessory or as a cooking device in its own right.
Composed of a stainless steel plate, hard chrome, enamel cast iron or enameled steel, it allows to capture food without direct contact with the fire. The fat is evacuated by a trough. We can cook more fragile foods like mushrooms, fish and eggs
Propane Grill works with any type of energy. Used as an accessory with a charcoal grill, it is placed on a grid, or replaces it. Gas or electric systems are more practical for ignition and energy management. For standalone devices, check before you buy for the movement of fats and juices into the container to prevent oversupply, and the floating edge resists splashing.
Propane Grill Accessories
Cheap electric planchas for indoor or outdoor use are usually less powerful. They can then accept a Teflon coating, which does not support very high temperatures: this product is much cheaper.
Avoid models with rough cast iron plates on which food hangs. They are subject to rust.
Prices range from € 30 for Teflon models to over € 1,000 for models with 3 hard chrome burners.
Pros and cons of plancha
- Non-fat cooking
Cook fragile dishes: vegetables, fish …
Do not expose to flame
May release toxic fumes (burnt fat)
The price of some samples
FIXED MEAT OR INTEGRATED
Ideal when you have a large garden and live in an area with generally mild weather, a fixed outdoor grill or outdoor kitchen suitable for intensive use and demonstrating long-term investment.
Such installation must be carried away from any vegetation, on a site that can support the weight of the masonry. It will also take into account smoke evacuation, fuel storage, near a plug for electric models, a dining table, work plans, a water spot… A job statement is needed as soon as the footprint exceeds 5 m 2 (this rarely happens with conventional fixed-grill models). To make a kitchen more than 20 m 2, a building permit is required.
The most classic models are charcoal, the most advanced incorporating gas-powered integrated elements. Basement concrete tunnel grill is the most affordable. Those made of natural or reconstituted stone are more aesthetic. Brick equipment has good heat resistance.
Prices start at $ 150 and can reach over $ 2,000 when you add a pizza oven, desk or sink.
Pros and cons of fixed or integrated barbecue
- Customizable components (add work table, sink …)
- Few in-store choices compared to mobile models
Assembly and weight
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR MEAT
Different brands of barbecue
A must-have part for barbecue, the American Weber brand is known for its charcoal grills, electric models and sparkling stainless gas models. Somagic, a French manufacturer, is less well known but represents a majority of French sales: they produce many private brands (MDD).
Facing Weber, many brands compete for the market: Canada’s Napoleon wants to be high-end and creative. Big Green Egg develops ceramic models, which do not suit all budgets. Campingaz specializes in barbecue, Barbecook in affordable models and Tefal in electric models.
Some brands focus on planchas: Marquier, Eno, Forge Adour, Krampouz and Tefal for models with Teflon panels.
Manufacturers of fixed barbeques, made of concrete or stone, are less emphasized by the seller: Sunday, Palazetti, Buschbeck.
Where to buy barbecue?
If you are hesitant between some models, go to the store to try the baked goods and evaluate their quality by handling them. Pros: you can leave with the product that’s right for you on the same day.
Fixed barbecue is available year-round from homemade supermarkets. Major brands (Weber, Napoleon, Eno, Le Marquier …) are highlighted at garden centers, homemade supermarkets and specialty stores during the full baking season (spring summer). Major food stores such as Carrefour, Auchan, Leclerc and Intermarché offer mid-range baked goods (Moulinex, Tefal, Somagic and their own brands) in the spring, according to their advertising catalog. Discounters sell according to the appearance of the goods and in the barbecue party in a very short time but quality is not always the meeting point (see the smallest).
To shop outside the peak season, you can surf the web and find all products (barbeque, coal, gas, electricity and planchas) all year round. Buying online makes it easy to compare prices and choose home delivery.
Energy cost of each type of barbecue
For a 2,200 W electric oven running at full capacity for 1 hour, you will pay about $ 0.32. This device is the most economical in use.
A gas grill consumes about 500 g of gas per hour. Using a 6 kg small bottle sold for $ 20, operating hours is $ 1.67. Preheat faster and cook faster, capping reduces the price of the meal. Buying larger gas cylinders also reduces this cost.
For coal models, it is more difficult to accurately assess the amount of coal involved in cooking time without wasting. You can refer to 4 l of coal for 1 kg of meat to cook. With a 20 liter pack of charcoal at $ 7, it is estimated that cooking for every kilogram of meat will cost at least $ 1.40.
What to check on the shelves when buying?
Feel free to research and control the models on display in stores: stability, throttle control buttons, accessibility of different parts, ease of assembly, various settings, cooking nets , windbreaker …
For charcoal stoves, make sure there is a gap of 10 cm between the grill and the embers to avoid burning grease and formation of carcinogens. Assess the weight of the device and the presence of wheels to facilitate the movement of heavier models.
To complete your grill, also see the various accessories available (see the next paragraph): rotisserie, plancha, wok, cover …
Clamps, spoons, long forks, potholder and wire brushes are basic accessories. Depending on the model, hook supplies, are very appreciated in everyday life, and a cap can be installed a posteriori. The latter makes it possible to have an “oven” effect and speed up preheating and cooking.
To change the method of cooking, you can get skewers, a roast dish (if it can be adapted on your barbecue), plancha or pizza ice. To best manage rare, medium or cooked donuts, why not equip yourself with a temperature probe? Models range from a simple thermometer to bite into meat to under 10 euros to a probe connected to over $ 60, notifying you when your meat is cooked as you like.
For those who are uncomfortable with light coal, an ignition chimney can facilitate this essential step.
The good season is over, either you put the barbecue away, or you protect it under the cover: it helps you avoid maneuvering and disassembly, and it’s always ready to serve. Protective covers cost from 20 to over € 150 depending on size and brand.
FUEL FOR ITS GRILLED MEAT
What fuel for charcoal barbecue?
Charcoal has a high energy value: 1 kg of this fuel provides heat equivalent to 2 kg of dry wood. It is sold in the form of more or less pieces of raw wood (traditional charcoal). A good coal must have a high carbon level (> 82%), a volatile matter ratio of nearly 12% and a low moisture content (<3%). Unfortunately, such information rarely appears on packages. It can be sold under the name “clean coal”. Feel the bottom of the bag to make sure the size of the pieces and the amount of dust (the less the better).
On the packaging, the brand “Charcoal and charcoal” guarantees the performance of these products. However, the restaurant’s quality restaurant name is not framed. In general, this corresponds to heavy coal or sold in bulk packaging. For PEFC or FSC certifications (related to forest management) that can be referenced, they guarantee the source of the timber but not its quality or performance.
Calibration briquettes come from compressed wood waste. They provide longer, weaker and more regular burning, ideal for slow cooking, like grilled chicken.
Coconut briquettes have the advantage of burning for a long time with high energy value, while creating a few flames. This fuel from crop waste seems to be a sustainable alternative if it comes from far away.
It can also be found in charcoal shelves made from corn cobs, allowing for the escape of waste from corn culture and bringing smoky flavors to food. Be careful, it creates a lot of smoke and fire fast.
Grape buds are recommended to suck food, but they burn quickly and create more flames.
Wood can also be used to light a barbecue, but it will create fire and burn rapidly while emitting a lot of smell. Smoking chips have also appeared on the shelves.
Fuel should not be
Among all wood species, the use of conifers (fir, spruce, cedar, etc.) is discouraged, risking a bad taste and causing poisoning by burnt plastic. Do not use treated wood, varnishes or paints: it may emit dangerous substances.
What fuel for gas grill?
Propane works even in cases of negative temperatures. On the other hand, butane is not used below – 0.5 ° C because then it remains liquid and does not leave the bottle. But first, you must respect the instructions of each baking!
WHERE TO INSTALL YOUR GRILLS?
Installation must be done in a place protected from wind, away from trees and hay or other flammable products. Support for barbecue must be stable (to avoid being tilted in the presence of strong winds, impacted by animals or balloons …) and far enough from the table to prevent guests from being bothered by smoke, especially with a coal system. . Do not place barbecue on the wall, otherwise be careful with traces of soot. The usage and the chosen location also determine the factors you will need: wheels, shelves, accessories.
On the balconies and terraces of the buildings, only electric barbecue is authorized. Used both outdoors and indoors, it will always need a nearby power outlet. Be careful not to get caught up in the topic! Charcoal and grilled gas will be used exclusively outdoors.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS WITH MEAT?
Burn. They occur primarily when people burn or reactivate a fire with gasoline or lighter fluid (back to the flame), but also in the case of direct contact with a hot element (mesh, tank, tilt of barbecue …). Choose good quality coal to avoid having to recharge your device during the journey, a risky operation that requires removing the grid.
Poisoning. They are caused by carbon monoxide when used in a confined space (garage, porch). Current announcements say that charcoal and gas stoves are designed for outdoor use. Ingestion of fire triggers (harmful products out of the reach of children) and inhalation or ingestion of carcinogenic chemicals (PAHs) may also be the cause.
Fire. It occurs when installed near flammable materials (umbrellas, fences, shrubs, etc.) or in strong winds.
WHAT TO DO WHEN MEETING THE ACCIDENT?
Here are the right actions to take to limit injuries and sequelae if, despite precautions, an accident occurs.
Ignition clothing: wrap yourself in blankets (made of natural fibers) to extinguish the fire. Don’t take off her clothes, put her in the bathroom or spray her full of clothes while waiting for help to come.
A burned body part (hands, face, body …): water for ten minutes at least under constant cold water. If the burn is large or deep, call Samu (15) or go to the emergency room directly.
HOW TO USE YOUR COAL MEAT
Prepare. Prefers NF charcoal (see “What is the fuel for charcoal barbecue?”). Never use alcohol, gasoline, or fire extinguishing fluid to burn or ignite embers (significant risk of recall). Use crumpled paper balls, lights or cubes and avoid using painted wood or paint containers that contain pesticides and chemicals that are dangerous to your health.
Cooking. To embers, not to the fire! To avoid the formation of benzopyrenes, a carcinogenic factor created during fat burning, start cooking when there is no flame left. A white film must be formed on the surface of embers. Food must not be less than 10 cm away from them: flames generated by grease droplets or marinated water must not touch the food.
Equip yourself with gloves and long hand-held accessories (forks, tongs, etc.). Some charcoal grills allow you to adjust the intensity of the fire by controlling the amount of air intake.
Never move the grill while it is running. Never let it run without supervision. Keep children and pets away. Lastly, as a precaution, keep a bucket of water or sand or a handy fire extinguisher.
After use, extinguish the fire with water or sand. Even if the ashes seem cold, hot embers can survive for more than 24 hours after using barbecue. For gas models, first bottled, then driven (to empty the remaining gas in the pipeline).
Clean. Scrub hot griddle with wire brush (stainless steel or brass) before and after cooking to remove residue. Then put a paper towel soaked in oil. Clean the tub and lid by scraping off excess grease, then wipe with sponge and soap once in a while. Clean grease and water containers regularly to avoid spills and ignition.
Ash. Empty the ashtray when the ashes are cold before the new outbreak, this will facilitate its ignition. In a garden, ash can be used as fertilizer (after sieving and burial), as a barrier to snails and slugs or in compost, to raise the pH. Ash is a mess, but it can also be used as a basis for cleaning products like laundry or cleaning windows.
Storage. To prevent the appearance of rust, protect your barbecue from weather with a cover, or store it in a shelter in the winter.
If you store your gas appliance outside, under a lid, or in a warehouse, “spring cleaning” will be necessary. It may have been damaged (air ducts damaged by rodents, asylum insects inside the burner, nested …). One slogan: clean and modify before operating it. To test the hose’s tightness, soak it in a basin of soap with soap: in the event of a leak, bubbles will form on the surface.