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Buy a grill: Guide to what to look for when buying a grill for camping

You should pay attention to this when buying a grill!

Grilling is one of the most popular leisure activities for many people in summer. But in order to have the perfect barbecue experience, not only good meat, but also a high-quality grill is necessary. In our guide we answer the most important questions about the grill and make your purchase easier.

Operating mode – charcoal or gas grill?

When it comes to the mode of operation of a grill, opinions differ: many grillers swear by the classic charcoal grill with its smoky taste and rustic ambience. The gas grill, on the other hand, is becoming increasingly popular due to its quick and easy operation. Blind tastings have shown that there is no difference in taste between charcoal and gas grills.

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Gas grill

 

Positive:


Short heating phase, quick cooling and simple temperature control
 Healthier grilling with less smoke
 Versatile cooking options with accessories (e.g. side burner, rotisserie spit)
 Favorable operating costs through propane or natural gas
 Easier cleaning

Negative:

 Higher acquisition costs
 Technically more vulnerable
 Limited flexibility with large devices

The gas grill is characterized by simple operation and a quick heating phase, so that it is also suitable for inexperienced grillers. The acquisition costs are higher, but the maintenance costs of the gas grill are cheaper due to the operation with propane or natural gas. As a rule, gas appliances are larger and bulky than the charcoal grill, so they cannot be taken along spontaneously. With numerous accessories such as side burners, infrared burners or rotisserie skewers, many culinary delights can be conjured up on the grill and the risk of grease burns is reduced if grilling on the gas appliance is healthier. Due to the lower smoke development, gas barbecues are popular in apartment buildings because the neighbors are not disturbed by the smoke and after the barbecue evening, the grill can be easily cleaned by burning out.

Charcoal grill

 

Positive:

 

Classic grill mode
 Lower acquisition costs
 Simple, insensitive technology
 Smaller devices can be used flexibly and mobile

Negative:

 Long heating phase and more difficult temperature regulation
 Intensive cleaning necessary and ashes accumulate
 Stronger smoke development and flying sparks

The charcoal grill is still the favorite grill mode. Charcoal grills are often available for little money and in compact versions so that they are easy to take with you. In the long run, however, charcoal or briquettes are more expensive than operating with gas. The charcoal grill scores with a simple technique that is hardly susceptible. But charcoal grilling requires more sensitivity because temperature control is more difficult. The accessories are usually limited for smaller charcoal grills. For many grillers, the aromatic smoke taste is part of the grill experience, but this also creates a strong smoke development and flying sparks. After grilling, the charcoal appliance requires more elaborate cleaning. Nevertheless, for many grillers, the classic charcoal grill is part of a real barbecue evening.

 

In the further course, this guide will mainly focus on the gas grill, as there are a few things to consider before buying to find the right grill.

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Budget and no-name vs. Brand grill

Before buying a grill, you should set a budget, because grills are available from just a few euros to the luxury version for over $ 10,000. Good charcoal grills are also available for small budgets depending on size and requirements. A gas grill, on the other hand, demands a higher budget. Although no-name manufacturers offer the grills for a ridiculously low price, the quality is usually not that bad. If you choose a gas grill, you should also be willing to invest several hundred dollars for a long-term barbecue experience. Because even with barbecues the motto counts: “If you buy cheap, you buy twice”.
We at Campers-Shop.com strongly recommend you not to invest in a branded grill, buy a well-rated grill from our shop. Our manufacturers are characterized by high quality, workmanship and sophisticated, innovative technology. With us you can be sure that you will enjoy your grill for a long time. Our grills are all tested and meet the safety standards. This is particularly important with gas barbecues! You will also receive expert and individual advice from us, so that we can find the right grill for you. You will find a wide range of accessories here, and in the event of damage and spare parts, our manufacturers also offer an after-sale service.
You often do not have these advantages of a branded device with no-name grills, so buying an expensive device is particularly worthwhile in the long term. The price of a branded gas grill fluctuates according to size, material, design and functions. Simple, high-quality gas grills for two are available from as little as $ 200. For larger grills made of durable stainless steel with additional functions such as an infrared burner and a side burner on a trolley, you have to dig deeper into your pocket. But the purchase of an expensive gas grill will pay off in the long run, because the parts show less wear and you can still enjoy your branded device in a few years.

Design & materials of a grill

Type

There are three common grill types: mobile grill with undercarriage, built-in grill and table grill. Each of these variants has its advantages and disadvantages and are suitable for different areas of application.

The grill with undercarriage (or trolley) is the most popular and can be found in most gardens. With the wheels, the grill can be easily moved on the terrace and easily stored in the garage in winter. The undercarriage is available with or without cladding and it usually offers space for the gas bottle. A cover hides the optically unsightly grill bottle and often leaves room for grill accessories. Most mobile gas grills still have side shelves on which the food or the grill tongs can be placed. These shelves can often be folded in if necessary or replaced by a side burner. Some gas barbecues also offer cutting boards, drink compartments and other holding devices for as much order as possible when grilling.

The built-in gas grill is the standard device in almost all outdoor kitchens and there is a large selection. The built-in grill can be installed individually in the outdoor kitchen, so that the gas bottle is also hidden in the base cabinet. Grills for installation are available in different sizes and with numerous accessories, so that all sorts of culinary highlights can be prepared in the outdoor kitchen.

The small table grills are the compact version. As a teppanyaki or plancha grill, these grills can easily be placed on the dining table or a table or even installed. The compact table grill is also recommended for small balconies, but always note that you also need space for a gas bottle.

Material

The material of a grill is important for quality and durability. Cheap grills are often made from inferior materials. Stainless steel or enamelled steel are often used for branded barbecues.
Stainless steel 304 belongs to the highest stainless steel classes and offers maximum rust and corrosion protection. Many high-quality grills are largely made of stainless steel and are therefore particularly insensitive. Stainless steel is also heavier than other materials, so good grills can be recognized by their weight. But the high quality stainless steel also comes at a price and requires more effort in optical cleaning. Alternatively, there are powder-coated grills. These are easier to clean, but also more susceptible to rust as soon as a piece of the coating flakes off. However, this can be improved with an appropriate paint. Most brand grills consist of a material mix of stainless steel, (powder-coated) steel and die-cast iron and therefore offer reliable quality.

Grillage

There are also material differences with the grillage. Grates made of stainless steel or cast iron are common. Both have robust properties for long grilling pleasure.

Cast grates impress with their solidity and weight, which is important for grill grids for heat storage. Many barbecue fans are convinced of the fire pattern of the cast iron grates. Cast iron has very good energy storage, but is more prone to breakage and rust.

Stainless steel gratings are primarily found in premium grills. The high-quality stainless steel stores the heat well and can then be easily cleaned. The material is also temperature-resistant and cracks due to temperature fluctuations are excluded.

The grill grates, whether made of stainless steel or cast iron, are available in different grill patterns. Some manufacturers offer classic bar grates, others have opted for curved grids or V-bars for the largest possible contact area. In addition, many premium grills have griddles and thick, massive grids that can be replaced. Small grilled items such as seafood can be prepared on the grill plate.

Gas grill burner

A high-quality gas grill usually has several different burners with different functions.
The main burner sits directly under the grill surface and is used for direct and indirect grilling. Flame arresters are often attached to this burner. These sit on the burner and protect the burner from dripping grease that clogs the gas nozzles. In addition, the fat cannot ignite directly on the burner and the heat is distributed evenly. Since these flame arresters are exposed to high loads, they must be replaced over the long term in order to continue to ensure optimal protection. Many gas grills also offer additional burners. A

Backburner, or also known as rotisserie burner, is placed on the back wall of the grill and is suitable for professional grilling of the chicken or spit roast.
Some manufacturers also offer ceramic infrared burners directly or for retrofitting. With an infrared burner, steaks can be grilled perfectly and juicy at over 800 ° C.
The burners themselves are made of stainless steel or cast iron. The stainless steel or tube burners consist of stainless steel tubes with small holes from which the gas emerges. Depending on the manufacturer, there are different variants here, such as pressed stainless steel rings or pipe-in-pipe solutions. Due to the high continuous load, the burners may need to be replaced after a few years.
Cast burners, on the other hand, are heavier and more massive than tube burners because they are cast. They are usually much more powerful and have a longer lifespan. Cast iron burners for cheap grills are often made of steel and are therefore more susceptible to rust. Premium grills usually have cast burners made of stainless steel or brass, often with a lifetime guarantee.

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Size & performance

Size

Gas grills come in a wide variety of sizes and range from two burners to six or more burners plus additional infrared and rotisserie burners. You can easily lose track of which grill is now suitable for your needs. In our consultations, we are often asked how much grill space is needed per person. That is why we have put together our empirical values ​​for you here:

Sausage without side dish approx. 80-120 cm² / pers.
Sausage with side dish approx. 380-420 cm² / pers.
Fish or steak without side dish approx. 150-200 cm² / pers.
Fish or steak with side dish approx. 450-500 cm² / pers.
If there are different types of food to be cooked with different cooking points or for indirect grilling, you will need another grill surface with different burner settings so that the desired temperature is reached. You can use our recommendation to orientate yourself about how much grill space you need:

Small grill: less than 2200 cm² grill area, sufficient for two people or as a camping and balcony grill
Medium grill: grill area between 2200 and 3500 cm², suitable for up to four people
Large grill: grill area over 3500 cm², is suitable for large families and celebrations, professional grillers or for the catering trade
The perfect size of a grill cannot be said for certain. It is of course dependent on the number of people, but also the needs and the grill behavior.

Performance of a gas grill

The performance of the burners is also important for an ideal grill result. The output of the gas burner is given in kilowatts and the following generally also applies: the more kW, the higher the output. However, this is only the case when it comes to high-quality burners in which the gas is optimally converted into heat by nozzles that are not too large or too small. A Napoleon tube burner, for example, has approx. 2.5 kW, a cast burner from BeefEater, on the other hand, has an output of approx. 5 kW.
With a small gas grill, the output is usually between 3-6 kW, larger grills from four burners should generate at least 15-24 kW. You should also make sure that the grill surface can be heated evenly and that uniform cooking is guaranteed. The gas supply should also be continuously adjustable for the desired temperatures and the burner should be able to be controlled independently of one another.

Grills by type & methods

In addition to the operating mode with charcoal or gas, there are also different types of grills that are suitable for different preparation methods. We will introduce you to the most common types of grill, such as the plancha grill, the teppanyaki grill and the kamado grill.

Grills according to Art

Plancha grill: The plancha grill comes from the Mediterranean and is very common there. The grill consists of a flat grill plate, usually made of cast iron or stainless steel. The plate is often bordered on three sides and provided with a fat drip pan on the fourth side. The plancha was traditionally operated with charcoal, but today it is also available as a gas and electric version. They have very high temperatures of up to 350 ° C. The continuous plate is not only suitable for meat, but also for fish, seafood and vegetables. Even desserts can be prepared on the plancha. With oil, sauces or Marianden, the dishes are prepared at high temperatures and thus remain particularly juicy and healthy.

Teppanyaki grill: The Teppanyaki grill is the Japanese counterpart to the plancha grill. The teppanyaki also consists of a smooth grill surface, which is mostly heated with gas or electrically. In contrast to the plancha plate, grilling is done without oil and sauces, since the grill does not have a fat drip pan. The temperature is also lower and reaches up to 250 ° C. This means that meat, vegetables and seafood are fried gently and healthily and retain their aroma.

Kamado grill: The Kamado grill, also known as the ceramic grill, comes from the Asian region. The egg-shaped grill mostly consists of ceramic, terracotta or cement with lava stones and is operated with charcoal. The solid lid ensures particularly good insulation, so that the Kamado stores the heat for a particularly long time and keeps the temperatures constant. This makes the grill ideal for grilling, smoking, baking and braising. With extensive accessories, numerous dishes can be prepared in the Kamado and the temperature can be determined with the controller. However, this requires a little practice and experience. The Kamado grill is the perfect addition to the gas grill in the outdoor kitchen and together, the grills offer an extensive range of cooking.

In addition to these types of grills, there are other special grills such as the smoker, which is particularly recommended for slow & low cooking; the rustic swivel grill from the Saarland or the grill fireplace, which also heats in addition to grilling.

Grill methods

Simple sausage and steak grilling are a thing of the past. There are now numerous grill blogs and YouTube channels that share recipes for entire menus with the hobby grillers. We present the most common methods here and which types of grills are best suited for this.

Direct grilling: No matter whether it is a charcoal or gas grill, direct grilling is possible on any grill as long as it is hot enough.
Indirect grilling: To do this, the grill requires a lid to create an oven effect and circulate the air around the food. A gas grill should have at least two burners so that the food to be grilled is not placed directly over the flame. You can also grill indirectly in the charcoal grill or in the Kamado grill.

Grilling pizza: A pizza oven is not absolutely necessary for a crispy homemade pizza. If your grill has a lid, you can grill a pizza on the gas grill or charcoal grill with a pizza stone. The pizza is perfect in the Kamado grill, which is also ideal for baking other pasta.

Grilling spit roast: There are special skewers (with motor) that the manufacturers also offer. With a special back burner, which is located on the back wall of the gas grill, the roast chicken can be prepared evenly and crispy in the grill. The roast is baked in the same way as in the oven with convection heat. There is also a motorized rotisserie skewer for some Kamado crickets.

Smoker, Slow & Low Cooking: You can also smoke in the gas grill with an additional smoke box, but the results are much better in the Smoker or Kamado grill. The temperatures in these grills can easily be kept below 100 ° C and so the meat can be cooked for a long time until it is tender and falls apart.

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Tips & tricks for the grill

In the last part of our large grill guide, we would like to share a few tips and tricks for maintaining and cleaning the grill so that you can enjoy your grill for a long time.


Clean the grill

Charcoal grills are first cleaned of coarser grilled remnants with a brass brush. Then the grate is cleaned intensively with a steel wool cushion and rinsed. The charcoal should also be removed as this attracts moisture and this can lead to rust and you avoid air circulation problems the next time you grill. The rest of the grill can be washed off with water.
Gas barbecues have a fat pan to collect dirt in a small aluminum bowl. This can be filled with sand so that the lumps of fat can be easily disposed of. Small stainless steel racks can also be quickly cleaned in the dishwasher if required.
Grills should not be cleaned too intensively, especially with chemical substances. Gentle cleaning agents or just water are sufficient for surfaces.
Before and after grilling, you should always roughly clean the hot grill with a grill brush.

Equipment

There are a number of accessories for a grill that make grilling easier and expand the culinary options of your grill.
A grill set is part of the basic equipment. As a rule, it consists of a spatula, tongs and a fork so that the food can be easily turned over and put on and put down. It is important to use a cleaning brush to remove the coarse dirt from the grate after every grill. A weather protection cover is also useful. This not only protects your grill from the weather, but also from dirt and pollen.
To expand the grill options, there are also e.g. smooth grill plates for seafood. For roast spit there are practical ones with a motor. There are also grill baskets for fish and vegetables or pizza stones for crispy and fresh pizzas.

The right location

Before you buy your grill, you should consider the location for it. A flat, paved surface is important and also note the distance to the wall in order to be able to open the lid properly and to avoid discoloration on the wall. Also pay attention to the common wind direction. A gas grill does not produce as much smoke as a charcoal grill, but it is uncomfortable to stand directly in the smoke. A roof can protect the new gas grill from the weather.

Winterize the grill

Summer is coming to an end and you want to hibernate your grill? It is best to store your grill in the basement or in the garage. The grill can also overwinter with a high-quality weather protection cover, which the manufacturer offers. A weather protection cover is generally recommended for a grill that is not covered. Make sure that the cover has air holes, otherwise the moisture will build up underneath. Before storing the grill, you should thoroughly clean and dry it as described above. So you can look forward to a clean grill in spring and start the next barbecue season.

 

Buying tips for the gas grill

Since a gas grill is a major investment, we have some tips for you to consider when buying a grill.

Pay attention to the performance and the burner!

The performance of a grill should depend on the number of burners. A burner should produce between 3-6kW of power. The quality and processing of the burners are particularly important here. Good burners can be regulated continuously and you can easily determine the temperatures yourself.

Choose the right size!

The following applies to the grill area: “The grill area can only be replaced by more grill area!” Better choose a slightly larger grill to have the opportunity to grill in a variety of ways and for guests.

Pay attention to the quality!

As with many products, high-quality materials such as stainless steel and good quality are important for the grill. Branded products are characterized by excellent workmanship and an after-sale service with spare parts.

Opt for special functions!

A normal gas grill already offers many options for grilling. With an infrared burner, a side burner or a rotisserie burner, you can prepare numerous other culinary delights depending on your grill preference.

Don’t forget the accessories!

A weather protection cover is important for protecting your grill. You should only choose the recommended covers from the manufacturer, as these are tailored to the grill. The basic equipment also includes a brush, pliers and a fork. With additional accessories such as a pizza stone or a grill basket, you can expand your grill options.

 

We hope that you liked this article and that you could take some tips with you.
Have a look in our shop, we also have some grills for you!

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