Fire When Ready
If life seems too short for building a fire and waiting for coals, the quick answer is a gas-powered grill. But which one? The first decision — what size to buy — depends on how many people you expect to cook for, how much they eat and how much you want to spend. Gas grills range in width from 24 to 65 inches and in price from a few hundred dollars to $3,679 (plus tax) for a top-of-the-line cooker with everything, including an infrared rotisserie.
These ready-when-you-are grills burn either natural gas from a pipe or LP (propane) gas from a tank. Their burners are rated in Btus. Larry Malesky of the Fireplace & BBQ Center says 15,000 Btus per burner is the minimum for grilling: "The higher the better to sear in the juices. If you go below 15,000, you're throwing your money away." When shopping for Btus, compare apples to apples. Some manufacturers advertise the heat produced by the entire grill surface (they multiply the number of burners by Btus per burner), which gives the impression of a significantly higher output.
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