Charcoal grills and gas grills are the two most popular kinds of outdoor grills in the market today. In fact, they’re so popular that many of those looking to buy an outdoor grill just in time for summer assume that these are the only options you can choose from.
The truth is that there are other types of outdoor grills out in the market today other than the standard charcoal and gas grill, or their variations. While they might not be as popular, they’re still able to let you enjoy delicious grilled foods, especially during the summer time.
Alternatives to Gas and Charcoal Outdoor Grills
Dual Fuel Outdoor Grills
Dual fuel outdoor grills give you the best of both worlds when it comes to outdoor grilling. They are fitted with two separate grilling areas, each having its own fuel type.
Advantages of Dual Fuel Outdoor Grills
The biggest advantage of using a dual fuel outdoor grill is that it addresses the shortcomings of both the charcoal and gas grills. Gas grills can grill foods much quicker since they don’t take a long time to fire up, but they tend to lack the smoky flavor you enjoy with grilled food. Charcoal grills can give you that, but only if you’re willing to wait for at least 45 minutes to get the grill fired up and ready to go.
With a dual fuel outdoor grill, you can already get started on grilling your food on the gas grill while waiting for the charcoal grill side to get all fired up. Once your charcoal grill is good to go, you can already transfer the food over there so that it can soak up all that smoky flavor.
The price is another big advantage. You can get really good dual fuel outdoor grills for about $300, and really fancy ones starting at $500. Considering that you’re getting the benefits of two of the most popular kinds of outdoor grills in one neat package, it’s value for your money.
Disadvantages of Dual Fuel Outdoor Grill
The size of the grilling area is one of the disadvantages of a dual fuel grill. Even though many dual fuel grills are the same size of the average gas grill, there isn’t as much space for you to cook lots of burgers and hot dogs all at once.
Having a smaller sized charcoal grilling area means that there isn’t that much space for you to place a lot of coal briquettes. If you’re planning to smoke large cuts of meat for long periods of time, that would mean having to keep replenishing the coals more often as you would with a stand-alone charcoal grill.
Infrared grills are among the newest types of outdoor grills available for backyard grilling enthusiasts. Although they use gas as their fuel source, infrared outdoor grills are equipped with an infrared heating element that’s located in between the grill grates and flames.
Advantages of Infrared Grills
Traditional gas and charcoal grills cook food on the grill by heating up the grill grates and the air surrounding the meat. While this method is what gives grilled meats that lovely smoky flavor, the continuous circulating of heated air around the food while they’re on the grill grates also causes meats to become dry and tough if you don’t keep a close eye on them. With infrared grills, much of the heat is transferred directly onto the grill grates, and there’s not as much heated air circulating around the grilled meats. As a result, the juices from the meats don’t run out as much as you’d expect in standard gas and charcoal grills, so there’s lesser chance of flare-ups.
Another advantage of using an infrared grill is that it heats up very quickly. The average time it takes for an outdoor infrared grill to heat up is just 3-5 minutes, compared to the 10-minute waiting time for a standard gas grill or the 20-minute waiting time for a standard charcoal grill. That means that you use up lesser gas grilling your food as you would when using a standard gas grill.
Disadvantages of Infrared Grills
Price is perhaps the biggest disadvantage when choosing an infrared outdoor grill. With a standard free-standing infrared grill starting at $1,000, it is easily one of the more expensive types of outdoor grills you can find on the market today.
Since outdoor infrared grills are relatively new, you’ll need to order parts that you’ll need to replace directly from your infrared grill’s manufacturer. You’ll also need to find an authorized repair facility that’s familiar working with infrared grills to replace the worn out parts.
Outdoor grill enthusiasts may frown on electric grills. Nevertheless, they are still a viable choice for many that desire is indulging on grilled food.
Advantages of Electric Grills
Safety is perhaps the main advantage you enjoy with outdoor electric grills. Since there’s no open flame used to grill your food, you don’t have to worry about getting burned from sudden flare ups that are bound to happen whenever you’re using a standard gas or charcoal grill.
As its name suggests, electric grills run on electricity. That means that you don’t have to worry about running out of charcoal briquettes or propane gas right in the middle of your barbecue party. Unless, of course, there happens to be a sudden blackout in your area.
Another huge advantage of electric grills is that they can be used both outdoors and indoors. Nothing can be more frustrating than a sudden downpour of rain during your backyard barbecue party. Not so with an electric grill. All you have to do is to bring everything indoors, and the party continues.
Disadvantages of an Electric Grill
No doubt, the biggest disadvantage of an outdoor electric grill is the flavor. While you may be able to get those lovely grill marks on your food, you won’t get that distinct smoky flavor.
Most—if not, all—electric grills are smaller compared to other types of outdoor grills. That means that you can’t grill a lot of food all at once. They also take quite a while to heat up, which just adds to the cooking time.
And although its size makes electric grills portable, you’ll still need an electric outlet to plug it into. If you’re using this outdoor, that would mean having an extremely long extension cord laid out on the ground. This can be a potential hazard, especially if you got lots of kids running around.