Barbecue Grill: Time to Replace?

Is it time to replace that 20-year-old grill caked in grease, or should you see if you can make it last another year?

If your decision tends towards replacement, we’ve put together a helpful guide to all things grill replacement.

Gas or charcoal?

A gas grill will be more convenient but the flavor may lack. Says Dan Marguerite, co-owner of Backyard Barbecue Store in Wilmette. “The benefit of charcoal is the flavor, nothing beats a steak grilled on charcoal or wood, but you have to wait for it to start.”  And while a gas grill may lose some of the smoky flavor of charcoal, it is better than cooking on your stove.

GrillCharcoalThe Brand Decision

While Marguerite says that, both for gas and charcoal, Weber is a standby for North Shore customers, Pat O’donnel of Hearth and Home in Mount Prospect says that Broilmaster is worth a look.  He says these Illinois-built grills are, “exceptionally durable [and will last] twenty-plus years.”

But if you’re looking for a project that is a bit more involved, Marguerite says that, “DCS goes in to a lot of outdoor kitchens.”  For charcoal, both men are in agreement that Big Green Egg is a great product.  And if you can’t decide between gas and charcoal, Marguerite suggests Kalamazoo, which can grill with either.

Get what you pay for

Like Marguerite, John Keblusek, assistant manager at Northbrook’s Dehne Lawn and Leisure, also says that Weber is the product he suggests most often to customers, but not only because they produce exceptional flavors.  They have the largest market share in the premium segment for a reason. “They give you an exceptional value in terms of the quality they provide,” says Keblusek.

He stresses that many of the other brands, and many of the models sold at big-box stores, have responded to cost pressures by cutting on the quality of the internal pieces that customers don’t see, drastically lessening the lifespan of a grill.  Weber, on the other hand, supplies an excellent warranty that will replace and repair internal components that wear down over time.

After the purchase

At Backyard Barbecue, Marguerite says, “We hold classes at the shop, so when someone buys a grill they can always come back and learn how to grill on it.” And to keep your grill safe from the elements, O’donnel at Hearth and Home suggests a cover, which will run anywhere from fifty to a hundred dollars.  But, to really enhance the grilling experience, accessories such as pizza stones, rotisseries, smokers, and even deep fryers are all available.