Everything You Need to Know About Gas Grills — All in One Place
Simply put, a gas grill is a grill that cooks food using gas. Most gas grills use liquid propane gas from a tank that’s hooked right up to the grill. (However, it’s possible to connect some grills to the same fuel tank that powers your kitchen range or even to a gas line that runs to your house.) The beauty of a gas grill is that it’s easy to “light” and only takes about 10 minutes until it’s hot enough for you to throw on some burgers. And when you’re finished, you simply turn off the gas — you don’t have to wait for the coals to die down and then carefully dispose of them.
Additionally, gas grills are easier to control. You turn the heat up or down by turning a knob just as you do on your stove. Some diehard grillers claim you don’t get the same smoky flavor that you get from cooking over charcoal, but for many, the payoff in convenience is worth it — especially for weeknight grillers. If you want to grill with a minimum amount of fuss and effort, you will want a gas model. Let’s take a deeper look.
Related: What’s the Difference Between a Gas and Charcoal Grill?
How Much Do Gas Grills Cost?
A good gas grill will set you back a lot more than a charcoal one. While you can get what’s widely considered the best charcoal grill for just $165, one of the best gas grills will set you back around $1,000. Of course, there are models you can get for just a few hundred bucks, but those tend to be on the smaller side, don’t have as many burners, and might not last you as long as a sturdier, more expensive model.
What Should You Look for When Buying a Gas Grill?
There are lots of gas grills out there. I’ve included my absolute top pick below, but first, here are some shopping pointers, in case you want to do your own comparison shopping. Here’s what to look for when buying a gas grill.
- Construction: Check that the grill is built of heavy metal. Stainless steel is durable and attractive, but doesn’t hold in heat as well as cast aluminum and is harder to keep looking spiffy than porcelain enamel on steel. Avoid a grill with sharp edges or gaps where edges meet.
- Burners: The more burners, the greater the number of hungry guests you can feed at once. More burners also give you flexibility so that if you’re grilling, let’s say, steaks and chicken at the same time, you can cook each over a different heat setting. Look for burners made of stainless steel or bronze, which are more durable than aluminum and won’t rust like cast iron.
- Wheels: At least two wheels on a grill make it easy to move it around on the patio or into storage at the end of the season.
- A removable grease tray: After every cookout, you want to be able to easily dispose of any grease that dripped down. Many use disposable aluminum pans that you can just toss and replace.
- Little extras: Any little extra you can get is going to be nice to have. For example, side tables give you a spot to rest your spatula or a tray of burgers. If you have a side burner, you can keep a pan of barbecue sauce or baked beans simmering. Tool hooks give you a place to hang your tongs, brush, and even a bottle opener. Although built-in thermometers and fuel gauges are not super accurate, they do give you a general idea how hot it is under the lid and how much gas is left in the tank.
Why BTUs Are NOT Important When Buying a Gas Grill
A lot of grill stickers and boxes will splash out the number of BTUs (British Thermal Units) and make a big deal out of this feature. However this can be very misleading and doesn’t exactly mean much. See, the number of BTUs tells you how much gas the grill uses, which, in theory, should translate to how powerful the grill is. But in reality, more BTUs doesn’t translate to higher heat or better cooking. Clearly, the bigger the grill, the more fuel it uses. Our advice? Ignore this number entirely.
What Is the Best Gas Grill to Buy?
Based on years of testing grills, I think the best gas grill for you to buy is the Weber Genesis II S-335 Gas Grill. Not only does it heat evenly, but it also cooks equally well on high and low. Slap on a T-bone and it comes out with deep, dark grill marks and a rosy interior. Turn the heat down and chicken develops a crackling golden-brown skin and tender, moist meat. It has three burners, including a sear burner for those steaks, and has side tables on either side — one of which has a burner for sautéing onions or warming barbecue sauce.
Above the cooking surface, the Genesis has a warming rack to heat the buns. It’s also got a thermometer in the lid, a fuel gauge to tell you how much gas is left in the tank, and tool hooks. It’s compatible with the iGrill 3 app-connected thermometer, so if you want to lounge in a hammock (or fold the laundry) while the pork chops are cooking, you can set it to ping you when they’re done. Oh, and one last thing: A grease tray that’s easy to remove from the front of the grill makes cleanup a cinch.
If the Genesis is beyond your budget, consider the Weber Spirit E-210. This Weber grill is a lot less expensive, but will give you the same great cooking results on everything from brats to salmon to a turkey breast. And although the cooking area is smaller than on the Genesis, you can still cook about 20 burgers at once. With the exception of the side burner, it has also all the conveniences of its big brother.
4 Must-Have Tools for Anyone with a Gas Grill
There’s no need to spend the money on any of those grilling kits. (They come with too many unnecessary things!) What should you get? Here’s a short, curated list!
1. Winco Stainless Steel Utility Tongs
You really only need one utensil: a good pair of tongs that you can use for rearranging, flipping, and rubbing crinkled aluminum foil over the grate during cleanup. Kitchn editors prefer these, which do not lock (the locking ones often lock when you don’t want them to!) and are more nimble than the oversized ones that typically come in grill tooling sets.
Buy: Winco Stainless Steel Utility Tongs, $5
2. Thermapen Mk4
If you have a grill with a built-in thermometer in the lid, know that it’s not enough. For starters, that’s the temperature up at the top, not down by the fire. And it’s not the internal temperature of what you’re grilling. This is the thermometer that everyone at Kitchn swears by and we all use it outside at the grill, too.
Buy: Thermapen Mk4, $99 at ThermoWorks
3. Grillaholics Grill Basket
Grilling small pieces of food (like asparagus and zucchini disks) is not an easy task — unless you have a grill basket. This one is a favorite among grillers because it’s heavy-duty (so it won’t warp over time), has plenty of holes (to allow your food to still get those coveted grill marks), and is relatively large (so it holds a lot of food).
Buy: Grillaholics Grill Basket, $22
4. Best BBQ Cleaning Brush
A good scrubbing brush is never a bad idea. This one has three rows of thick-gauge wire bristles that stand up over time, and it also happens to be Wirecutter’s top pick for the best grill brush. If you don’t like the idea of a brush with wires (the CDC has reported issues of wires getting stuck in the grates and ending up in food), I really like this wooden scraper, which conforms to your grates the more you use it. And again, a ball of foil works well for regular maintenance, too.
Buy: Best BBQ Cleaning Brush, $21 at Wayfair
Taking Care of a Gas Grill
Kitchn has the steps to walk you through cleaning a gas grill, but here are the most important rules to live by.
- Clean the grate after every use. After every grilling session be sure to clean the grates. It’s best and easiest to do it while the grill is still hot — before the crud cools and hardens. Use a stiff brush or even a wad of crumpled aluminum foil. And if you forget, give it a scrubbing next time you grill — after you’ve preheated it but before you start cooking.
- Keep the grill covered. When you’re not using your grill, protect it with a grill cover. The only exception to this rule is if you live in a super-humid climate, where moisture can get trapped under the cover and cause rusting.
- At the end of the summer, or once or twice a year if you’re an all-seasons griller, give the entire grill a good cleaning. Scrub the inside with a brush to get rid of any gunk and wash the lid and the exterior with soapy water.
A Few Extra Tips for Using a Gas Grill
- If your gas grill doesn’t light immediately, turn off all the burners and close the valve on the propane tank. Wait five minutes before opening the valve and trying to light the burners again.
- Be sure to check the gas tubes after each off season.
- Don’t be impatient. Give your grill a good preheat for at least 10 minutes.
- Always remember to close the valve on the propane tank when you’ve finished grilling.
- As it’s difficult to know when a propane tank is nearly empty, it’s smart to keep an extra full tank on hand.
- Always store extra propane tanks outdoors in an upright position. Never stash them indoors or near a heat source, such as a furnace or hot water heater.
Our Best Recipes for a Gas Grill
Got it? Now grill something! Kitchn has loads of recipes for the grill, any grill, but these will really shine on a gas one — especially on a weeknight.
Wondering about anything else? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll try to get you some answers!