When discussing bbq equipment there is an endless number of grills, smokers, accesories, etc that could be discussed in this first blog I am only going to discuss the major parts needed for grilling, The grill, The charcoal, and the utensils. If you have these 3 items you have all you need to grill anything. This is a very simple sounding list, but with the multitude options, choices, and grilling philosophies out there it can be overwelming for someone just getting started.
This is the most important piece of equipment you will buy and will probably be the biggest investment you make also. The basic choices you have on grills are Gas, Pellet, and charcoal, however there are some other varieties out there these 3 are what we will discuss at this time.
Some of the major considerations you will need to make in deciding on a grill are, How many people are you cooking for, how often will you actually use it, will you be grilling or smoking, and what kind of budget do you have.
Gas grill Gas grills are abundant these days and with good reason, they take little effort or knowledge to run, provide a consistant heat, and are fast to get started.
They do however have their downsides, most of which for me is that you do not get the same flavor as you do with a wood based fuel. If you are someone who is in a hurry, or does not like to get your hands dirty, or just wants to keep it simple and get it over with a gas grill might be for you. I tend to steer away from them personally, dont own one, never have.
Pellet Grill These have become ultra popular in recent years. They have been hailed as the perfect balance between gas and charcoal. Claiming the convenience of gas with the flavor of real wood. Well i say hogwash, not that i dont like them and dont think they have a place because they do, but what some call a balance in between i call a compromise. I will not compromise my Q for convenience sake. The strong points of this type of grill is it is less messy than charcoal, idiot proof to run, no worry about flare ups, consistant temps, easy to tend and there are pellets in about a thousand flavors. The drawbacks- they are slow coming up to heat, you have to have them plugged in, and many have noted that at high temps they are not very consistant and you cannot get a good sear on your meat. oh yeah they are EXPENSIVE.
Charcoal grills These are about as abundant as they come you can get cheap ones for just a few dollars or spend thousands on large rigs you can pull behind your vehicle. These grills impart a very distinct flavor in your meat from the smoke they produce. You can get a superior sear on you meats, and with know how and experience they can cook as efficiently as anything out there. They also lend theirselves well to a multitude of other tasks such as smoking. They do however come with some downfalls- More time tending the fire, flare ups(this can be prevented though), messy, start up time. All these drawbacks can be easily overcome with good equipment and knowledge though and if you want that wonderful flavor of trueQ, if you are the kind of person that enjoys the process as much as you do the end results this is definately the way to go.
With all three of these grills and the considerations listed at the top in mind you might be asking yourself what should i buy? Well I have one basic awnser, which i will elaborate on in later blogs, Buy a weber.
charcoal As far as charcoal goes you have 3 basic choices, Briquetts, Lump, or wood.
Briquetts are the most common form seen today. It is consistant size, burns consistantly and temps are usually consistant. However for this you will also deal with the fillers and binders in the briquetts(many claim these are toxic), and the taste differs fromlump or wood.
Lump charcoal is just wood chunks that have been charred and packaged. It gives you real wood without the fillers and stuff. It also lights faster and burns hotter than briquetts. It creates less ash. It gives you the taste of real wood(because it is). With the chunks being different sizes, shapes etc you do lose the really consistant temps of briquetts. It also burns up faster.
Wood- not much to say on this one it is the purest way to go, I would just use wood all the time if it was practical. Unless you have a huge supply of wood and a way to chunk it into pieces that work in you particular grill this is not much of an option. Howver, wood chunks are great with either of charcoals above to add flavor and small bags are abundant at the stores.
Utensils- a few basic things here. Buy a starter chimmney, couple sheets of newspaper in bottom and your good, eliminates lighter fluid. Stay away from the long forks when possible, you dont want to poke excess holes in your meat, you just loose juices this way. All you really need is tongs and a spatula, find a long hadled set if you can
Remember this is just a very basic list there is much more you can buy and do but with these 3 basic things you can be grilling in no time.