Are you looking to create the perfect outdoor patio grill station? Whether you’re a casual griller or a grillmaster-in-the-making, everyone has to start with the basics. Here are all the essentials Metroplex homeowners will need to outfit your grilling station.
Choose the Right Grill
Your first step is to choose the type of patio grill you prefer. You have several options — charcoal, gas, electric, or wood-burning. Most experienced outdoor grillers can only agree on one thing: no one can decide which grill type is better. So to decide, think about your lifestyle and the types of uses you’ll have for your grill. Will you be entertaining often or only infrequently? Are you cooking for large groups or small gatherings? What types of food do you plan on cooking: simple hamburgers and hot dogs, or items that require more culinary finesse, like ribs, turkey, and seafood?
Chances are, your choice will come down to a gas grill or a charcoal grill:
- A gas grill is considered easier to cook with, so that’s where many people start. This kind of grill will cook food faster and is easy to clean, but keep in mind that it may present some safety concerns, as it uses propane. If left on, it will continue burning until the fuel runs out.
- A charcoal grill tends to offer better flavor and is cheaper in comparison with a gas grill, but it takes longer to heat and there’s more of an “art” to learning how to cook with it.
Grills have a wide price range — starting for as little as $50 (and under) for a small charcoal grill to thousands of dollars for a top-of-the-line grill. Features can include rotisserie burners, built-in thermostats, side shelves, igniters, and vents and dampers to control the temperature.
Choose Your Location
Now that you’ve selected your grill, pick a safe location for it. It should be well ventilated and away from anything flammable, like decks, overhangs, and low-hanging branches.
Take a Grilling Class
If you’re a grilling novice, check your local area for a cooking class to teach you how to use your grill properly and safely, which will serve you better than trying to learn it through trial and error. There are also plenty of online resources. If you’re looking for expert tips on grilling, visit the Cooking Channel’s Grill Guide.
Must-Have Patio Grill Essentials
Once you’ve got your grill, you’re also going to want to stock up on accessories.
- Meat thermometers
- Skewers or shish kebab set
- Basting brush
- Fuel (e.g., charcoal, gas, lava rocks)
- Grill brush
- Heatproof spatulas, tongs, and barbecue forks
- Ignition tool for gas grill like a chimney starter
- Grill cover
- Grilling basket (for veggies and other items)
- Heat-resistant gloves or barbecue cooking mitts
- Seasonings, spices, and meat rubs
Stay Safe While Grilling
When grilling, remember to put safety first. The best way to put out a grill fire is by closing the grill vents, which starves the flames of oxygen. (Be sure to use heavy-duty oven mitts when doing so!) Always have ready access to a water hose to douse escaping embers and a fire extinguisher in case of an emergency. But don’t use water to put out the grill — you’ll expose yourself to possible steam burns. Keep children and pets away from the grill while cooking. For more advice on patio grill safety, visit the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) website.
Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be grilling like a pro in no time.