Photo courtesy of Broil King

How to select a barbeque that’s right for you

Warm summer days mean spending time with family and friends, and what better way to do that than with a barbecue.

“It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors,” said Dan Mills, a sales associate at Barbecues Galore’s north Calgary store. “It’s also nostalgic, as a kid some of the best times were always at a barbecue. Everybody remembers that smell of a grill.”

Mills says whether you have a huge back yard or a small balcony, you can find a barbecue to fit your space and your budget.

Here’s advice from a barbecue expert, on how to select a barbecue.

Decide the size

Mills says there is a huge range in the size of barbecues these days, from modest two-burner models up to six-burner units with 1,000 square inches of cooking space.

“What’s important to know is how many people are you cooking for?” he advised.

“If you’re planning to barbecue for larger groups, a bigger unit will come in handy.”

Consider the quality

Whether you have a huge back yard or a small balcony, you can find a barbecue to fit your space and your budget

The old saying, ‘you get what you pay for,’ burns true when it comes to barbecues, Mills said, if you’re one of those people who barbecue year round. Consider a solid, high quality barbecue that will stand up to winter weather. If you grill only occasionally and the barbecue is put away during winter, you might be okay with a lesser quality model.

In any case, companies are installing long-lasting features like stainless steel grills, which Mills says are bullet-proof and easy to clean, even in mid-range barbecues.

Look at extra features

Mills says choosing a barbecue with extra features, such as having a side burner or built-in rotisserie with dedicated infrared ceramic burner, expands your culinary possibilities.

A very popular option is a sear station, which is a separate infrared burner that gets very hot, very fast.

“So you’ll be able to throw your steak on there for 30 seconds a side and sear it, lock in the juices, then throw it on the regular grill,” said Mills.

You can also get a unit with built-in lighting, not just to illuminate the cooking area but also to light up the control knobs. There are even models with a wireless thermometer that sends information to a mobile device app, allowing you to monitor the barbecue’s temperature from afar.

Avoid shopping only by price

Some consumers decide how much they want to spend, then look at models based solely on the price tag. But Mills suggests that a good salesperson should be able to look at the functionality you need, and still find a good fit with that and your budget. He says while there are barbecues out there that cost $12,000, you can buy a good quality barbecue from a major brand name company for about $400.