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Parts of the Barbeque Grill You may Not Have Considered.

Updated on March 1, 2010

Enjoy Your Backyard: How Often Are You Grilling?

This Hub is all about details.  Details that fade in light of enjoying barbecuing often. Please, answer the poll questionnaire and if you are not enjoying your backyard enough, Get Outside and Have Some Fun!
This Hub is all about details. Details that fade in light of enjoying barbecuing often. Please, answer the poll questionnaire and if you are not enjoying your backyard enough, Get Outside and Have Some Fun!

How Often Does Your Family Barbeque?

How Often Does Your Family Barbeque?

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Despite the fact that the United States of America is one of the pioneers in outdoor cooking many people do not know what they are buying when they get a barbecue grill. They know that they are going to get a grill, but they do not know what are the features that they should look for on each of the grill that they come across. Not knowing which grill to take home or even if you have made a right decision is just the same as cooking without looking at what you are doing: you know you are going to get result, but you have absolutely no idea what results you will get.  Every different BBQ grill has different features and benefits that are specific to its use and its value.  Every model of barbeque grill is valuable for a different reason.

Same Grill, Different Uses.

American outdoor 24 inch grill on a deck mount post.  Blue flame burners are swappable for high heat infrared burner.
American outdoor 24 inch grill on a deck mount post. Blue flame burners are swappable for high heat infrared burner.
American outdoor 24 inch grill on a portable cart.
American outdoor 24 inch grill on a portable cart.
American outdoor 24 inch grill built into an outdoor kitchen.
American outdoor 24 inch grill built into an outdoor kitchen.

The first thing that confuses many people is the use of BTU. This abbreviation is used on every grill and very few know what it actually means and what it is used for. BTU is the shortening for British

Thermal Unit and is used to determine how much energy will be necessary to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. When this scientific measurement is used to refer to grills it indicates just how much heat the main burners will be able to produce when they are turned up to the maximum point that they can go. People assume that the higher the BTU the better the barbecue; however, this is not true. Both the grilling surface and the BTU are important factors that have to be taken into consideration. When you have a high BTU, but a small cooking surface then this means that you will be spending most of your time trying not to burn your food. However,  if your grilling surface is large and your BTU low, then this means that you will be using a lot of gas to get things heated up.  

Different Weber Models.

Weber Summit Models are the only barbeques that have burners running front to back for convection cooking and direct heat.
Weber Summit Models are the only barbeques that have burners running front to back for convection cooking and direct heat.
Genesis with side-burner. Weber porcelain coating shown bronze will not peel or flake.  Clients with peeling or flaking will discover layers of grease, not the baked on porcelain.
Genesis with side-burner. Weber porcelain coating shown bronze will not peel or flake. Clients with peeling or flaking will discover layers of grease, not the baked on porcelain.
Spirit models are made overseas to be able to compete with lower priced barbecues but the Weber standard of quality is maintained -- and has the same warranty as more expensive models.
Spirit models are made overseas to be able to compete with lower priced barbecues but the Weber standard of quality is maintained -- and has the same warranty as more expensive models.

This becomes more difficult to understand when you read the fine print in your users manual.  The barbeque grill companies do not publish a number related to the amount of heat necessary to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.  Rather, they publish an approximation based on fuel consumption (calories – an other way to measure heat).  Many consumers assume a higher BTU means a hotter cooking surface when this is not always true.  For instance, when a barbeque uses briquettes, lava rocks or porcelain rods to conduct heat additional heat radiates from this tray to create a grilling surface at the cooking grate.  More heat is generated from this conduction than could be determined from fuel consumption.  In the case of infrared grill burners gas is pressurized in the burner to create 1400 degrees at the cooking surface while only pulling as much fuel as a standard barbeque.  Comparing BTU listings an infrared grill at 1400 degrees would have the same BTU’s as a barbeque that does not get hotter than 500 degrees because the gas burns differently.

The grilling surface that you choose will also depend on the number of people that you usually cook for, plus an allowance for special occasions when you invite guests. Never buy a grill because it seems to have a high BTU, this is an advertising trick that has caught many innocent shoppers that do not know the first thing about making the right decision to buy a grill. There are essentially three types of surfaces that will come into play when you are thinking about the grilling surface: the primary square inches, the secondary square inches and the total square inches. Of the three the most important one to take into consideration when choosing a grill is the primary square inches. This is the part that will determine just how well your grill will heat.  The secondary and total square inches are for the warming racks and the sum of the primary and secondary respectively. 

As a guide the best way to determine if you are getting a heating surface that attends to your needs will be to do a rough calculation of how many BTUs will is needed for each square inch. If you have a grill that produces 30,000 BTU from the main burners and you have 500 square inches grilling surface then you know that BBQ will not produce enough heat without pulling a lot more gas than average. If, however, if you have a grill that produces 40,000 BTU that will be applied on a 400 square inch grilling surface, then you know that you are getting a grill that will heat up efficiently.

The types of frames that the grill is made from is also another factor that has to be taken into consideration. Many manufacturers try to reduce costs, by avoiding welded parts and use mechanical fasteners to join parts on the grill. Welding offers a much sturdier structure than fasteners, so always ensure that you are choosing a grill that has welded areas and not just bolts and screws. You should also check the stability of your grill by looking at the legs, the last thing that you want is to have a grill moving out of place or refusing to roll when it is lit.  Personally I like grilling at a custom outdoor kitchen grill island not only for its stability but it is built as an extension of the backyard design for my barbecuing needs.

DCS, Dynamic Cooking Systems.

DCS 26 inch grills were discontinued years ago as not profitable for the newly purchased company.  Models are still in wide use and replacement parts readily available.
DCS 26 inch grills were discontinued years ago as not profitable for the newly purchased company. Models are still in wide use and replacement parts readily available.
The dcs 36 and 48 inch grills had portable carts with propane tank drawers and storage drawers.
The dcs 36 and 48 inch grills had portable carts with propane tank drawers and storage drawers.
The feature that pushed DCS ahead of the competition was the use of porcelain rods locked into a stainless tray instead of briquettes or lava rocks.
The feature that pushed DCS ahead of the competition was the use of porcelain rods locked into a stainless tray instead of briquettes or lava rocks.

The paint finish that is applied to your grill must reflect professionalism in every aspect. It is best to get a barbecue grill that uses a rust resistant paint rather than one that just looks good and then deteriorates after being exposed to the elements after a few months. A powder-coated enamel is highly recommended if you live in areas where the salt concentration in the atmosphere is very high. Not only does it protect your grill from corrosion and rust it also ensure that you have a beautiful grill for years to come. Check to see how the application process of painting was carried out. Paint that is applied electrostaically offers a better finish and lasting protection. 

All the grills that you buy should come with the relevant certification to prove that the manufacturer adheres to the rules and regulations that are required by law for fire safety. There should also be a ISO certificate present to prove that the manufacturer is dedicated to excellent services and providing products that adhere to ISO's international guidelines.   We generally refuse to sell a barbeque grill if we are not confident in the manufacturers warranty.  We test the warranty and obtain the contract for providing service when warrantee labor is needed.  We then stock barbeque grill replacement parts to ensure our ability to be reliable to our clients.  When buying a grill – or anything else – considering the maintenance of the future is a good rule to follow.

Outdoor Kitchen Grill Island.

Solaire built in infrared gas grill outdoor kitchen with built in drawers and refrigeration.
Solaire built in infrared gas grill outdoor kitchen with built in drawers and refrigeration.
Alfresco built in gas grill with built in accessories including access door, drawers and outdoor refrigeration.
Alfresco built in gas grill with built in accessories including access door, drawers and outdoor refrigeration.
Twin Eagles built in bbq grill and built in access doors and drawers.  I like the stainless coping here we used to create a finished look to the granite tiles. This was the only one we did this way -- a lot of work!
Twin Eagles built in bbq grill and built in access doors and drawers. I like the stainless coping here we used to create a finished look to the granite tiles. This was the only one we did this way -- a lot of work!

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