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    The best grills of 2024: Level up your summer barbecues

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    Whether you’re a pitmaster or a beginner, we found the best grills for your backyard.

    Insider

    Grilling is a great way to make delicious food while spending time outdoors, but it can be tricky to sort through the hundreds of available models to find the best grill for your backyard. Whether you need a travel-friendly grill for camping or want to become the local pitmaster, we’ve tested top-rated grill options for every cook.

    From wood pellets to propane to charcoal, we found that the best grills have a powerful heating element, useful design features, and can withstand outdoor wear and tear. For maximum flame-fired flavor, our reporters have used the Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill for years. The bottom charcoal basin, built-in cleaning system, and three available sizes make the Weber Kettle a simple and enduring classic. We also love the Traeger Pro 575, a pellet smoker that’s great for just starting out: you can set the temperature with a dial and still get the wood-fired taste and texture.

    Read more about how Insider Reviews tests and reviews kitchen gear.

    Our top picks for the best grills

    Best pellet grill: Traeger Pro 575 – See at Amazon

    Best gas grill: Weber Spirit II – See at Amazon

    Best Kamado grill: Kamado Joe Classic II – See at Amazon

    Best charcoal grill: Weber Original Kettle – See at Amazon

    Best portable grill: Weber Traveler – See at Amazon

    Best BBQ smoker: Char-Griller Grand Slam XD – See at The Home Depot

    Types of grills

     ProsConsGood forCharcoal grills

    Flame-fired flavor and more budget-friendly

    Difficult to regulate temperature

    Experienced grillers

    Gas grills

    Beginner-friendly and easy to maintain

    Doesn’t add a smokey, barbecue flavorEveryoneBarbecue smokers

    Best way to cook low and slow

    Steep learning curveExperienced grillersPellet smokers

    Hands-off smoking with easily managed heat 

    Not as rich of a smoked flavorEveryonePortable grills

    Compact and easy to set-up

    Smaller cooking areaTravelers

     

    Best pellet grill

    A key factor in choosing one of the best grills for you is size, which will depend on what you intend to cook. The Traeger Pro 575 won’t take up much space in your backyard and has 575 square inches of cooking area. You can easily fit multiple racks of ribs, chickens, a large brisket, and pork butt. 

    The Pro 575 pellet grill is built with thick steel and porcelain grates inside, allowing for precise temperature control when smoking meats, veggies, and more. The grill is powered by wood pellets, an indirect heating source that is easier to manage than charcoal. You get wood-fired flavor and the ability to set the temperature with a front dial. It is our top pick in our best pellet smokers guide.

    While Traeger offers a variety of other models (including the Timberline, which we also loved), the Pro 575 is a great value for those who are just getting started with pellet smokers. In our testing, we found the top temperature couldn’t give us a sear, but did effectively braise.

    Find more of our picks in the best pellet smokers guide.

    Best gas grill

    The rated gas grills are ideal for home cooks who want to grill without a steep learning curve. The Weber Spirit is so convenient and easy to use that we have two models (the E-210 and E-310) featured in our guide to the best gas grills. The Spirit E-310 has a midsize cooktop and a storage shelf, making it great for families and small groups.

    The grill has three powerful burners under “Flavorizer Bars” that give you perfectly even char. Inside is a warming rack to keep food warm while the rest of your meal cooks or toast buns for burgers and hot dogs. This grill also has a grease management system for easy clean-up, with a removable tray that catches drippings to avoid grill flare-ups.

    It’s easy to hook the Spirit up to a propane tank, which allows for more consistent temperature maintenance while still achieving that fired flavor. While gas grills come in a wide variety of sizes, this medium-sized option from Weber offers enough cooking surface for a variety of meals, without taking up too much space in your yard.

    Check out more of our picks for the best gas grills

    Best kamado

    Ceramic Kamado grills originated about 3,000 years ago, and the design is still being used today. We test the best Kamado grills alongside other charcoal grills, and our top pick is the Kamado Joe Classic II.

    Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe are the top brands we’ve tested in the category, with the Kamado Joe Classic II just edging out the BGE. The quality of the build is essential on any grill, and an exceptional level of craftsmanship goes into the Kamado Joe. It has a sturdy frame, multiple grate levels, an ash catchment system, and more.

    Beginners may find the Kamado grill easy to overheat — even experienced grillers should expect some trial and error to figure out the right amount of charcoal. That challenge is part of what makes this grill so special: once it gets hot, it stays hot longer than other types of grills. You can cook between 225 and 750 degrees Fahrenheit while maintaining consistent heat.

    Best charcoal grill

    In general, look for charcoal grills constructed from thick steel or made from steel with an enamel coating. You won’t find a better balance of durability and great cooking ability than the Weber Kettle Charcoal Grill — we’ve had this grill for years, and it still works as well as the day we first tested it.

    The design of Weber’s original kettle grill has held strong for 70 years, making it one of the best grills year after year and the top pick in our guide to charcoal grills. The circular grill is simple yet efficient, with a bottom charcoal basin for even heating. The design features vents at the top and bottom, which allows for temperature adjustment. Pair it with one of the best charcoal chimney starters, and you’re all set.

    We recommend the 22-inch Original Kettle Grill from Weber, but 18-inch and 26-inch models are also available. While the 22-inch isn’t a large capacity grill, there is still a generous cooking area to grill multiple steaks or enough burgers for a small group. When it comes time to clean, you can use the built-in cleaning system to sweep ashes into the bottom catcher. Once you’re ready to cook, stock up on the best charcoal for grilling.

    Our guide to the best charcoal grills has options for upgrades, barrel-style, and more.

    Best portable grill

    The Weber Traveler gas grill makes it easy to grill on the go. This portable grill has a folding design, with two wheels that can maneuver through sand, gravel, and grass. It takes less than 10 minutes to break it down and set it up, allowing you to store it for backyard use, take it camping, or use it at a tailgating party.

    It only has one burner, but it still features a decent-sized cooking area and reaches high enough temperatures for roasting meat and veggies. The grill is designed to use small propane tanks for fuel, but you can switch to standard-sized propane tanks with an adapter. This is one of the best grills for beginners because of the low investment and easy learning curve.

    Best BBQ smoker

    Cooking with hardwood and charcoal requires a lot of time and attention. There’s a learning curve with using smokers, but the Char-Griller Grand Slam has built-in features to make it easier.

    A smoker constructed from thick steel is imperative to keep heat in and withstand elements when left outside. The Char-Griller Grand Slam is a barrel-shaped smoker made from heavy-duty steel with a large cooking area. This smoker can be used for both grilling veggies and meat as well as low and slow-smoking sessions. It is our top pick in our barbecue smokers guide.

    The large charcoal basket and firebox allow you to load the smoker with enough fuel to last for hours, maintaining an even temperature throughout the cooking process. There are three thermometer ports to monitor temperatures. When it comes time for cleaning, there’s a grease clean-up valve and ash pan that can be easily dumped.

    Read more about what to look for in the best barbecue smokers.

    How we test grills

    All of our grill picks are based on hands-on testing with many different types of food.

    Owen Burke/Business Insider

    This guide to the best grills is made up of our top recommendations from our individual grill guides. For more details on the tests we performed with each grill, check out our full guides and read the “how we tested” section. 

    Type of grill

    Cooking tests

    Other evaluation points

    Charcoal grill

    Zucchini, BBQ chicken, and steak for doneness and even cooking.

    Assembly, ease of use, cleaning, and quality of materials.

    Pellet smoker

    Pork shoulder, chicken drumsticks, and zucchini for even cooking, doneness, and flavor.

    Assembly, quality of materials, ease of use, ability to control temperature, production of smoke ring, and ease of cleaning.

    Gas grill

    Burgers, steak, zucchini, barbecue chicken, baked beans for even cooking and doneness.

    Assembly, ease of use, materials, and ease of cleaning.

    Barbecue smoker

    Pork shoulder, chicken drumsticks, and zucchini for even heating, doneness, flavor, and smoke ring.

    Assembly, quality of materials, ease of use, ability to control temperature, production of smoke ring, and ease of cleaning.

    Grill FAQs

    How do you clean your grill?

    Cleaning your grill is essential for grilling safety and keeping your grill in great shape for years of use. One of the simplest ways to clean your grill is to use a grill brush that will do all of the hard work for you. Using the best grill brush constructed with quality bristles and an easy-to-hold handle will make quick work of cleaning your grill grates. For harder, stuck-on food, you can also use a grill scraper.

    How do you remove rust from a grill?

    Despite efforts to avoid it, rusting can happen on even the best grills. To clean it, start with a cool grill. Use a good-quality grill brush or a grill brick to scrub off rust. If you’re trying to clean stubborn rust, you can make a paste by mixing water and baking soda. Apply the paste to your grill grates, allow it to sit for 10 minutes, and then scrub.

    Best BBQ smokerThe offset smoke box of the Char-Griller Grand Slam XD makes for slow and controlled BBQ.

    Owen Burke/Insider

    A smoker constructed from thick steel is imperative to keep heat in and withstand elements when left outside. The Char-Griller Grand Slam is a barrel-shaped smoker made from heavy-duty steel with a large cooking area. This smoker can be used for both grilling veggies and meat as well as low and slow smoking sessions. It is our top pick in our best barbecue smokers guide.

    The large charcoal basket and firebox allow you to load the smoker with enough fuel to last for hours, maintaining an even temperature throughout the cooking process. There are three thermometer ports to monitor temperatures. When it comes time for cleaning, there’s a grease clean-up valve and ash pan that can be easily dumped.

    Cooking with hardwood and charcoal requires a lot of time and attention. There’s a learning curve with using smokers, but this grill has built-in features to make it easier.

    Read more about what to look for in the best barbecue smokers.

    Best pellet grillPellet grills like the Traeger Pro 575 are easy to use and produce good, smoky flavor.

    Owen Burke/Business Insider

    The Traeger Pro 575 pellet grill is built with thick steel and porcelain grates inside, allowing for precise temperature control when smoking meats, veggies, and more. The grill is powered by wood pellets, an indirect heating source that is easier to manage than charcoal. You get wood-fired flavor and the ability to set the temperature with a front dial. It is our top pick in our best pellet smokers guide.

    While Traeger offers a variety of other models (including the Timberline, which we also loved), the Pro 575 is a great value for those who are just getting started with pellet smokers. In our testing, we found the top temperature couldn’t give us a sear, but did effectively braise.

    A key factor in choosing one of the best grills for you is size, which will depend on what you intend to cook. The Pro 575 won’t take up much space in your backyard and has 575 square inches of cooking area. You can easily fit multiple racks of ribs, chickens, a large brisket, and pork butt. 

    Find more of our picks in the best pellet smokers guide.

    Best gas grillThe Weber Spirit II E-310 features three burners and a roomy cooktop; it’s a great mid-priced grill for all abilities.

    Lauren Savoie/Business Insider

    Gas grills are ideal for home cooks who want to grill without a steep learning curve. The Weber Spirit is so convenient and easy to use that we have two models (the E-210 and E-310) featured in our guide to the best gas grills. The Spirit E-310 has a midsize cooktop and a storage shelf, making it great for families and small groups.

    The grill has three powerful burners under “Flavorizer Bars” that give you perfectly even char. Inside is a warming rack to keep food warm while the rest of your meal cooks or toast buns for burgers and hot dogs. This grill also has a grease management system for easy clean-up, with a removable tray that catches drippings to avoid grill flare-ups.

    It’s easy to hook the Spirit up to a propane tank, which allows for more consistent temperature maintenance while still achieving that fired flavor. While gas grills come in a wide variety of sizes, this medium-sized option from Weber offers enough cooking surface for a variety of meals, without taking up too much space in your yard.

    Check out more of our picks for the best gas grills

    Best charcoal grillWeber also makes our favorite charcoal grill: the classic Weber Kettle.

    Owen Burke/Business Insider

    The design of Weber’s original kettle grill has held strong for 70 years, making it one of the best grills year after year and the top pick in our best charcoal grills guide. The circular grill is simple yet efficient, with a bottom charcoal basin for even heating. The design features vents at the top and bottom, which allows for temperature adjustment. Pair it with one of the best charcoal chimney starters, and you’re all set.

    We recommend the 22-inch Original Kettle Grill from Weber, but 18-inch and 26-inch models are also available. While the 22-inch isn’t a large capacity grill, there is still a generous cooking area to grill multiple steaks or enough burgers for a small group. When it comes time to clean, you can use the built-in cleaning system to sweep ashes into the bottom catcher.

    In general, look for charcoal grills constructed from thick steel or made from steel with an enamel coating (like the Kettle). You won’t find a better balance of durability and great cooking ability — we’ve had this grill for years, and it still works as well as the day we first tested it.

    Our guide to the best charcoal grills has options for upgrades, barrel-style, and more.

    Best KamadoKamado grills are basically giant ceramic ovens and have some of the best heat retention.

    Owen Burke/Business Insider

    Ceramic Kamado grills originated about 3,000 years ago, and the design is still being used today. We test the best Kamado grills alongside other charcoal grills, and our top pick is the Kamado Joe Classic II.

    Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe are the top brands we’ve tested in the category, with the Kamado Joe Classic II just edging out the BGE. The quality of the build is essential on any grill, and an exceptional level of craftsmanship goes into the Kamado Joe. It has a sturdy frame, multiple grate levels, an ash catchment system, and more.

    Beginners may find the Kamado grill easy to overheat — even experienced grillers should expect some trial and error to figure out the right amount of charcoal. That challenge is part of what makes this grill so special: once it gets hot, it stays hot longer than other types of grills. You can cook between 225 and 750 degrees Fahrenheit while maintaining consistent heat.

    Best portable grillThe Weber Traveler is the best option for beach and camping trips.

    Lauren Savoie/Insider

    The Weber Traveler gas grill makes it easy to grill on the go. This portable grill has a folding design, with two wheels that can maneuver through sand, gravel, and grass. It takes less than 10 minutes to break it down and set it up, allowing you to store it for backyard use, take it camping, or use it at a tailgating party.

    It only has one burner, but it still features a decent-sized cooking area and reaches high enough temperatures for roasting meat and veggies. The grill is designed to use small propane tanks for fuel, but you can switch to standard-sized propane tanks with an adapter.

    What to look for in a grill

    In order to choose from one of the best grills depends on what type of food you want to make and how hands-on you want to be. Below are the pros and cons of each type of grill:

    Charcoal grill: These are ideal for getting the classic flame-fired flavor and for cooks who want to be more involved in the grilling process. Charcoal grills are often smaller and typically more budget-friendly, but it is more difficult to regulate temperature when cooking with them.

    Gas grill: Beginners just getting started with grilling at home should consider a gas grill. They’re easy to use, from actually lighting the grill to managing the temperature. Plus, if you’re building an outdoor kitchen, you can hook up some gas grills to natural gas lines. 

    Barbecue smoker: There’s a bit more of a learning curve to using a barbecue smoker and cooking with charcoal. A barbecue smoker is the best option for someone who wants to take their time cooking while maximizing flavor.

    Pellet grill: Pellet smokers (smoker and grill are used interchangeably here) are for home cooks who want to pull off incredible homemade recipes full of flavor without having to tend a fire constantly. They’re ideal for low and slow barbecue cooking.

    Portable grill: A portable grill is the best fit if you’re planning to use your grill on the go. If you love cooking at tailgate parties or campgrounds, having a grill that’s compact and can be wheeled to a variety of locations is a great option.

    How we test grillsAll of our grill picks are based on hands-on testing with many different types of food.

    Owen Burke/Business Insider

    This guide to the best grills is made up of our top recommendations from our individual grill guides. For more details on the tests we performed with each grill, check out our full guides and read the “how we tested” section. 

    Type of grill

    Cooking tests

    Other evaluation points

    Charcoal grill

    Zucchini, BBQ chicken, and steak for doneness and even cooking.

    Assembly, ease of use, cleaning, and quality of materials.

    Pellet smoker

    Pork shoulder, chicken drumsticks, and zucchini for even cooking, doneness, and flavor.

    Assembly, quality of materials, ease of use, ability to control temperature, production of smoke ring, and ease of cleaning.

    Gas grill

    Burgers, steak, zucchini, barbecue chicken, baked beans for even cooking and doneness.

    Assembly, ease of use, materials, and ease of cleaning.

    Barbecue smoker

    Pork shoulder, chicken drumsticks, and zucchini for even heating, doneness, flavor, and smoke ring.

    Assembly, quality of materials, ease of use, ability to control temperature, production of smoke ring, and ease of cleaning.

    Grill FAQs

    How do you clean your grill?

    Cleaning your grill is essential for grilling safety and keeping your grill in great shape for years of use. One of the simplest ways to clean your grill is to use a grill brush that will do all of the hard work for you. Using the best grill brush constructed with quality bristles and an easy to hold handle will make quick work of cleaning your grill grates. For harder, stuck-on food, you can also use a grill scraper.

    How do you remove rust from a grill?

    Despite efforts to avoid it, rusting can happen on even the best grills. To clean it, start with a cool grill. Use a good-quality grill brush or a grill brick to scrub off rust. If you’re trying to clean stubborn rust, you can make a paste by mixing water and baking soda. Apply the paste to your grill grates, allow it to sit for 10 minutes, and then scrub. 

    Read the original article on Business Insider

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