The summertime is synonymous with grilling, but not everyone may know how to master the cooking technique. The best way to start? With a grill that is just as good as your barbecue recipes.
Consumer Reports Digital Lifestyle Editor Elliot Weiler joined TODAY to share the best of the best when it comes to grills and the accessories to use with them. Whether you’re cooking up burgers for the family or grilling steak for your next cookout, these picks are worthy of a spot in your toolkit.
Best grills and grill accessories, according to Consumer Reports
Best charcoal grill
This classic grill earned a rating of Very Good in CR’s evenness test, as Weiler says the coals stack neatly inside. You can regulate airflow and temperature thanks to the dampers in the lid and on the bottom of the grill and once you’re done cooking, clean up is a breeze. CR engineers point out that the removable aluminum bucket helps remove all of the ash and coals in a swift movement.
Best gas grill
Looking for a grill on a budget? Weiler says this is a strong option all around. It earned top ratings in CR tests for sturdiness, preheating performance and earned Very Good ratings for temperature range, evenness and indirect cooking. It also includes a side burner, slide-out grease tray and a bottle opener for those who like to multitask.
Best portable grill
From the beach to the campground, a portable grill can be handy for those on-the-go. Weiler says this grill is a bang for your buck, since it won’t take up as much space as a stationary grill but still boasts two burners, rotary igniters and fold-down legs. In terms of performance, it earned ratings of Excellent for its preheating and evenness capabilities, but earned a rating of Fair for its indirect cooking performance — Weiler says this means it is better suited for hot dogs and hamburgers rather than something like ribs.
Best ceramic grill
The Kamado Joe earned high marks all around for its versatility — you can grill, smoke and roast using just this one grill. Weiler says it is excellent when it comes to grilling and smoking and features like the spring-assisted lid (which locks at any height), adjustable dampers and split racks only up the ante. Weiler also says it is one of the few models with an easy pullout ashtray, which helped it earned a Very Good rating for cleaning.
Best grill accessories
When it comes to cooking meat on the grill, food safety is everything. Cooking your meats at the right temperature is crucial, but Weiler says using a thermometer has more benefits than just temperature control — it can also help prevent you from overcooking your food and drying it out. CR approves of this tiny-but-might thermometer for accurate, fast readings on the grill and in the oven.
Whether you’re grilling in the backyard or on the go, a set of tools that come with their own case are sure to prove helpful. Weiler says it has all of the essentials and is easy to transport.
Fans of slow-smoked ribs: Weiler says this one is for you. This simple rack can hold eight racks of ribs in a space on the grill that typically can only fit three racks (when laid flat). Make sure to check the dimensions before you add it to your cart though, to make sure it will fit the grill you have at home.
We can’t think of many people who aren’t a fan of pizza — which makes this accessory worth the splurge. Though it is a bit heavy and takes a moment to heat up, it can help you whip up an oven-fired pizza in a matter of minutes.
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