Thyme for a Chef, LLC is a Personal Chef Services Company. Chef David does all the work so you don’t have to. He offers dinner parties, events, and in-home meal preparation. You select the meals you want, or let him design a menu tailored around your needs and wants. You will get everything you want and nothing you don’t. He uses all his own equipment in your kitchen and does all the shopping, prep, cooking and clean-up (and for his in-home meal service clients, packaging and freezing).
Email Us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Call Us Directly at (602)740-3392 or (480)861-1082. Visit us on the web at www.thymeforachef.com and on Facebook.
Tuesday Tasty Tip 5/18/2010
Shopping for a Grill???
Selecting a grill for outdoor cooking can be a daunting task when you consider are the variations and options available today. Do you buy one from your local home center, a BBQ store or on-line? How big? Gas or Charcoal? There are lots of things to consider. When selecting grilling equipment, the process is best started by asking yourself a few questions. The answers to your questions help dictate your equipment purchases. Let’s work through a few of these questions.
What is your budget?
Grills range from less than $20 for disposal units to several thousand dollars for commercial use. How much you spend may depend on what you want to do with your grill as determined by your answers to the questions below. However, remember going “cheap” is never cost-effective. You will wind up replacing cheap grills every year or two.
Fuel cost is big consideration. While gas grills are usually more expensive than charcoal grills, charcoal is the more expensive fuel. Charcoal will cost you more money in the end. You can easily spend $4.00 to $6.00 a cookout on charcoal, while gas costs around $.30 per cookout. If you cook on a grill frequently, consider this cost.
Will you cook for 2 people or 50?
This is an important question as it determines the size, or cooking surface area, of the grill. There is nothing more frustrating than sweating hours in the sun cooking meat and vegetables for 25 people waiting in a line for you to finish cooking on a small Hibachi grill. Size your grill to the maximum number of people you think you would cook for, and then add 25% more. Use this number to calculate the surface area you need. Doing so allows for efficient, timely cooking as well as staging food for warming after being cooked.
Gas or charcoal?
There are generally two schools of thoughts. Some so-called “purists” will tell you charcoal is the only way to go to get the best flavor. While others say they want to taste the grilled food without the charcoal flavor. For some it is simply a matter of convenience as to whether or not they want to have instant heat, or to wait for the coals to ash over. Some don’t have plumbed gas, or don’t want to mess with the hassle of refilling tanks, not to mention paying the outrageous cost of tank swapping; so for them charcoal is the way to go.
How often do you plan on grilling?
If you plan to grill frequently, you will want a grill that makes your cooking an enjoyable experience, providing you with the options that you will use. Spending more money on what you WILL use is typically a wise expenditure.
Where will your equipment be located?
Will your grill be a permanent fixture, or will it be moved from one place to another? This will dictate the type of equipment and will definitely affect cost, especially as the size increases. Never buy a grill with cheap plastic wheels if you need to move your grill frequently. You will be replacing these within a few months.
Do you want to do more than grilling on your grill?
Close the lid on a quality grill and you have a great oven for baking anything from pizzas, bread or even pies. Large kettle grills can work well for these applications. So you want to smoke foods, a separate side smoke box on a quality grill allowing you to control air flow will enable you to turn your grill into a legitimate BBQ. (Remember, grilling it typically 550° F and higher with BBQ is no higher than 260° F. More on this in a later TTT.)
From whom should I purchase?
Some grilling and BBQ stores have outrageous margins, so buyers beware. If you plan to purchase a permanent built-in grill, shop around. The grill prices as well as the housing structures will vary tremendously. Check out do-it-yourself web pages. With some basic building skills and buying grills available on-line at wholesale, you will save yourself some serious cash.
If you plan to purchase from a retail store, find out what their services and warranties include first. Good shops offer free classes to their customers, especially if their purchases are new and customers need some guidance.
What features do I need vs. what would be nice to have?
Consider these options: side burner for frying and boiling, smoke boxes/trays (be advised – these do not work well on gas grills), adjustable dampers, warming drawers, storage cabinets for charcoal/propane, brushes, multiple heating zones if gas, etc.
Happy Shopping and even happier grilling!
Chef David Hall
Thyme for a Chef