Portable barbecues for everyone

Well, summer is officially here! The barbecue season is in full swing and the holiday season is just around the corner. If you’re planning to go camping, or just to enjoy some time outdoors, a portable barbecue could be a very useful ally for preparing your meals. But what kind should you choose? Follow these tips!

Your needs

Before considering individual specifications, think about what you actually need. How many people will you be cooking for? Will you be cooking on your balcony, in the forest, in the park or even in the parking lot at a sports stadium? When planning to travel away from your own back yard, you’ll need a model that’s small and light. Also, think about your barbecuing skills, how often you’ll use it and your budget.

Fuel needs

Like many large appliances, portable barceques can use different fuel types, each with its own characteristics. In general terms, gas is better for chefs who need speed and ease of cooking, whereas wood and charcoal are ideal for those who love a great taste.

More specifically, each type of appliance has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, a propane barbecue will only take five minutes to heat up and offers better temperature control. On the other hand, it doesn’t sear as well as coal, which reaches a higher temperature. Also, some portable versions only have a single burner, which can lead to food cooking less evenly. According to Carolle Morin, owner of Boutique Chaleur in Longueuil, a propane barbecue is ideal for condos and camping,

Using coal is better for keeping the juices inside the meat as it releases moisture during cooking. However, take time to learn how to use the air inlets and outlets. Cooking takes longer but all devices perform equally, regardless of their size.

As for wood, this comes in more than a dozen different types so you can vary the flavors in your cooking but a minor drawback is that you need a little more skill.

Essential characteristics

When shopping for your charcoal grill barbecue, make sure it’s made of thick enameled steel. The steel should be coated with baked paint or enamel and the griddle must be chrome plated steel.

Choose stainless steel griddles for gas or wood barbecues as the grill heats up faster than cast iron and uses less gas.

Mrs. Morin recommends that you should pay close attention to the burner power (BTU) and burners should also be made of stainless steel.

How much should you pay?

Prices range from as little as $50 to over $400 (Canadian dollars) depending on the model. Why spend more when there are many places where you can buy a portable barbecue for less? According to Mrs. Morin, supermarkets often sell products made of lower quality stainless steel (which can rust more easily) and these can be difficult to repair. "Specialty retailers have to offer a good service, which is why we sell products with guaranteed quality and parts that are readily available," she says. Basically, investing in a better quality device will save you a lot of trouble and will adding longevity to your grill.

Below is a list of fireplace and grill stores that service Virginia (VA)

Manassas, VA

Winston's Chimney Service
11301 Industrial Road
Manassas, VA 20109

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Mechanicsville, VA

Hearth & Home Shoppe
8151 Mechanicsville Tpk
Mechanicsville, VA 23111

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Roanoke, VA

Dixie Building Products Inc.
3342 Melrose Ave NW
Roanoke, VA 24017

Warrenton, VA

Costello's Warrenton Fireplace & Hot Tub
251 West Lee Hwy
Warrenton, VA 20186

For more information, contact your local fireplace and grill store..

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