When we were doing our due diligence for opening GrillBillies Barbecue Supply, we reviewed most of the gas grills on the market which proved to be a confusing task. If it is confusing to us avid grillers, it must be that much more confusing to the homeowner. Below are some basics to consider when purchasing your next gas grill.
A quality gas valve is one that will work properly on any setting and especially on low eliminating “flame out”.
By the same token, when turned on high it should get blistering hot.
Manufacturers of lower quality grills will usually “skimp” on these.
Unfortunately, price dictates the longevity of the cookbox.
The cookbox is usually the first thing to go on less expensive grills.
Now, you may think you got “ripped off” when you bought your last grill but in most cases you pay for what you get.
Better quality cookboxes are made of cast aluminum, stainless steel or heavy duty porcelain coated steel.
A better quality cookbox can extend the life of a grill 5 to 10 years.
Some are warrantied for the life of the grill.
Another thing to look for is a deep cookbox.
It helps to eliminate flare ups and makes for better heat retention.
Less expensive grills usually have thinned walled burners that are subject to corroding quickly.
Also, they may burn unevenly lacking uniform heat distribution in the cookbox.
Better burners are made of stainless steel, cast stainless, thick steel or cast iron.
Side ports on the burners avoid fat and juices from clogging them.
Plates covering the burners play an important part in creating better results by capturing more of the juices rather than having most fall to the bottom of the grill and requiring more frequent cleaning.
Capturing most of the juices on the plates/bars creates vaporization of the juices and adds flavor back to the meat.
Usually a good quality 4 burner gas grill will be $450 and up.
From there price is determined by the size of the grill, accessories, how “flashy” it is etc.
Manufacturer warranties are an indication that the product has been built to last and last as long or longer than stated.
Look for warranties that apply to the burners, cookbox, gas valves and pedestal/stand.
Less expensive grills will not come with any meaningful warranty.
Select a knowledgeable dealer.
One that just doesn’t sell grills but also cooks on the grills he sells.
The better the dealer knows his product the better he can fulfill your needs.
“The best relationships are those that are based on trust and integrity”
There are many factors that go into purchasing a gas grill. We will highlight the most important ones. The size of the grill will be something you’ll have to determine by family size, average number of guests, and the most common meats you cook. The quality of the following components will determine the price of the grill you purchase and the years of useful life.
Firebox: This is the section where your burners are located. This is usually the area that fails first on cheap grills. Since it can’t be repaired, it forces the owner to buy a new grill. Below are three common types of firebox.
Porcelain Coated Firebox- This box is constructed of steel and covered with a durable porcelain coating. It is found on grills in the price range from $300 to $700. This construction is adequate; however, over time, due to cleaning and moving the cooking grates around the coating can chip and expose the steel underneath. Grease and moisture will attack the exposed areas and corrosion will occur. The thicker the underlying steel is, the longer it will take the corrosion to eat through the firebox. Porcelain coated fireboxes may hold up for several years; however, they typically will not last as long as stainless steel fireboxes or cast aluminum fireboxes.
Stainless Steel Firebox- These fireboxes are extremely durable and resistant to the chemical attack of grease and moisture. These are found on mid to high range grills and will give years of service.
Cast Aluminum Firebox- The characteristics of this box are similar to stainless steel. Cast aluminum and stainless steel fireboxes will last about the same amount of time and both will typically outlast a porcelain coated firebox.
Burners: Burners come in all configurations and types of construction, but when it comes to picking a good reliable burner, stainless steel is a safe bet. It is more resist to corrosion as would be a steel or cast iron burner. Our commercial grade grills, such as the BBQ 60G, come with burners that are made of steel pipe, but they are thick walled.
Gas Valves: It is hard to evaluate gas valves, but more expensive grills usually have better ones. What is important with the gas valve is its ability to stay lit at very low temperature, avoiding “flame out”, along with ability to produce extremely high heat and everything in between. Less expensive models usually have problems meeting this criteria. At our store, we demonstrate the quality of the gas valve in our Broil King line of grills to all our customers.
To create those delicious morsels of crispy deep brown nuggets found on that perfectly cooked steak and brisket, you need the presence of sugar.
When meats are exposed to heat, they release sugar and amino acids.
On a quick cook such as steaks, usually the high cooking temperature will provide the elements essential to achieving those crispy nuggets, which are known as the Maillard Effect.
Here’s what needs to be done:
When cooking a steak, for instance, make sure the surface of the meat is absolutely dry.
If not, when the heat hits it you will be steaming the surface of the meat.
After drying the meat with a paper towel, you can sprinkle sugar on the surface and allow the steak to sit so the sugar can penetrate the surface.
At high heat, place the steak on the grill and keep flipping as necessary to achieve that golden brown surface.
On large cuts of meat, because they are cooked low and slow, we will add brown sugar or a layering of seasonings – one of which is high in sugar – to help achieve a nice bark.
Check out our recipes for smoked brisket and pulled pork.
Place the roaster away from anything flammable.
Coat the cooking grate with spray cooking oil.
Remove the cooking grate from the roaster and place the pig on it.
Optional-inject the butts and hams with Butcher Pork Injection.
Rub the skin of the pig with vegetable oil.
Wrap tinfoil under the feet around the snout and ears.
Remove the roaster drip pan.
Light the gas pilot light.
Install the Charcoal Combo Insert.
Fully open the top and side vents. VENTS ON LID SHOULD BE WIDE OPEN ALL THE TIME.
Fill the troughs with about 7 lbs. of charcoal per trough and light.
When fully lit spread evenly.
Allow the roaster temp. to reach 300 to 325.
Ideally when the roaster reaches 325 spread wood chunks on the charcoal.
Replace drip pan and put the cooking grate with the pig back on the roaster.
Your temperature is going to drop because of putting on the cold pig.
Don’t worry. Once the pig starts to warm up your temp. will come back up.
Maintain about 300 degrees on the thermometer.
Maintaining temp. will be accomplished by using the bottom vents. Close vents to lower temps and open to raise.
Once adjusted it should stay at 300.
The wood and charcoal should keep temp for about 1.5 to 2 hours.
When the temp starts to drop turn on the gas valve.
When the meat temp. reaches at least 185+ using an instant read thermometer you’re ready to remove the pig. Test the temp. both in the hams and butts. If the temps vary bring the lowest temp up to 185+ and don’t worry that the high temp in the other area.
You need at least two people to remove the pig.
Place a table close to the roaster.
Place long sheets of heavy duty foil long enough to wrap around the entire pig and grate.
Place the cooking grate with the pig on the table and envelope the foil around the pig and grate.
Cover the pig with a blanket.
Allow to rest at least 1 hr.
The pig will stay hot for at least 3 hrs. and warm for several.
Garnish with greens and cut up fruit of varying colors.
Rule of thumb:
Cooking time=1 hr. for every 10 lbs. of pig.
Allow “wiggle room” of 1.5 hrs. in case the cook is taking longer and also to give the meat time to rest.