How to Buy an Affordable Barbecue

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How to Buy an Affordable Barbecue

The idea of barbecued food is as old as the first time meat met flame in the distant depths of prehistory. Since then, humankind has developed many innovative ways of cooking food, but there is something about meat being grilled on an open flame, that keeps people coming back for more. For most people, this involves using a barbecue, as opposed to a campfire, but as popular as using a barbecue is, many are daunted by the cost. Some barbecues cost thousands of dollars to purchase, and sometimes even more to run, depending on whether or not the grill is a gas or charcoal.

There are so many different varieties of barbecues available, that finding an affordable option worth buying can be somewhat difficult without the proper research. That being said, there are a number of tips that a buyer can keep in mind when buying an affordable barbecue that will help them to make an informed choice. With the right understanding of what barbecue will cost, buying a barbecue online via eBay is a much less intimidating prospect.

Gas vs. Charcoal

Gas and charcoal are the two main types of barbecues, and although electric grills exist, they are mainly used indoors. For anyone serious about putting flame to food, gas and charcoal are the only way to go, though each has different strengths and weaknesses.

Factors to Consider

Gas

Charcoal

Cooking Time

Gas lights more quickly and cooks food fast and evenly. Gas grills can generally reach higher temperatures.

May take time to light properly. Often needs to be monitored to ensure that it stays lit.

Food Quality

Gas may impart a distinct flavour to meat, especially steak.

Charcoal adds a distinct "smoky" flavour that is considered highly desirable.

Safety

Gas grills have been known to flare up, causing home fires and injuries. They should be kept away from any structures.

Although charcoal grills have an open flame, flare ups are less likely and can be more easily controlled.

Price

Gas grills are more expensive than charcoal grills. The cheapest gas grill will be far more expensive than a moderate charcoal grill

Charcoal grills are inexpensive, with the cheapest being very simple devices.

Fuel Price

Gas is cheaper than charcoal. Cooking a meal on gas will be less expensive than cooking an identical meal on charcoal.

Charcoal can be expensive, especially when the griller wishes to use exotic flavourings. A bag of charcoal will not last as long as a canister of gas, and replacement trips need to be made more often.

There are also gas grills that can be connected to a natural gas line, if this is an option for an individual home. In some cases, natural gas is a less expensive alternative to the traditional propane tank.

Decide How Much Space You Need

Routinely grilling for large numbers of people, is much easier with ample grilling space. Some grills even come equipped with side burners that can be used if the main grill is full. For the average family size, however, an expensive grill with side burners is not necessary. A general rule of thumb that can be applied to any kind of grill is that an area roughly 3000 square centimetres will provide ample cooking area for a small family.

Factoring in Guests

Many barbecues with a modest grill area will usually come with multiple grill levels so that more food can be grilled at one time. The only reason, therefore one should purchase a larger grill, or one with side burners, is if one is frequently cooking for larger groups of people. A grill with a smaller cooking area will have the added benefit of taking up less space on a patio or in a garden. This is especially important to consider with a gas grill, as they should be placed away from any buildings due to the risk of flare ups.

Decide Which Extra Features are Necessary

Just as is the case with the size of the barbecue, it is important to determine if the grill will serve any other functions before making a purchase. Some barbecues can double as broilers or rotisseries, which can be a boon for buyers who would otherwise have to buy another device. The same is true with smokers and other features that double as alternate ways to cook food. There are also other features that may or may not be needed, but will increase the overall value of the barbecue. An example of this is a light. If cooking will mainly be done during daylight hours, or in a well lit area, a light is just a superfluous feature that may make the barbecue cost more than is necessary.

Decide Which Material Will Be Most Cost-Effective

Although barbecues are made of metal, there are differences in these metals that are important to take into consideration. Some metals retain heat better, while some are prone to rusting. If a grill rusts and becomes unusable after a few years, it may end up being less cost-effective than a more expensive grill that will last longer. The most popular options for barbecue materials are aluminium, stainless steel, and painted steel.

Aluminium

Aluminium is lightweight and sturdy, with the added benefit of being less expensive than stainless steel. Aluminium will not rust, and it can last for a long time if cared for properly. The main issue that people have with aluminium is that it does not hold in heat as well as iron or steel will, which may increase cooking time, or otherwise affect grilling.

Drawbacks of Aluminium Grills

Aluminium may not be as strong as other metals, which is a drawback, especially if the barbecue is going to be moved frequently, or if it is placed in a location where it can be damaged and dented by other objects. Some aluminium barbecues can be coated with nickel or chrome; this can drastically increase the cost as well.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel barbecues are the most expensive option for consumers, mainly because they are durable and do not rust. This is not to say that stainless steel will always maintain an attractive appearance, however, as sustained exposure to the elements can cause it to turn yellow. This is the main drawback other than the price, as stainless steel retains heat very well, and is ideal for cooking many foods.

Painted Steel

Painted steel is usually found in the most inexpensive barbecues, and a nice coat of black paint can look very nice. Painted steel is also capable of retaining heat, making a painted steel barbecue a very efficient cooking device. The problem with painted steel is that it is very prone to rust, which can make it more difficult to operate and unattractive at the same time. Eventually, the rust may cause a buyer to search for a replacement before they would with a barbecue made of another material.

Ceramic Coating

Some steel barbecues have a ceramic coating that can not only help keep heat in better, but can also provide protection from the elements, reducing any chances of rust. This may be a less common option, but may be less expensive than an stainless steel barbecue without the problems that come from painted steel.

Buying an Affordable Barbecue on eBay

Those who are in search for an affordable barbecue are in luck if they choose to search on eBay. Not only is there a wide selection of barbecues, but the prices in many cases, will be lower than they would be otherwise. Buyers may be able to find barbecues that are brand new, some of which may need assembly, but may reduce shipping costs. Other barbecues may be used, but if they are in good condition, may be a good buy for the budget-minded buyer. The most effective way to determine if the selections on eBay will meet the needs of a particular individual, is to perform a simple search using the search bar on the eBay home page. This search may use general keywords like "barbecue", or it may contain additional words related to the material it is made from, the features it may contain, or whether or not it uses gas or charcoal.

Conclusion

Food is usually the key to enjoying a social occasion, and in many cases freshly grilled meat will be especially popular. For this reason, barbecues have become precision instruments that may be quite expensive. Those who want to have a worthwhile barbecue, yet who do not want to spend an inordinate amount of money, may have trouble finding a solution to their problem due to the dizzying array of options available.

The problem of finding a quality, affordable barbecue is exacerbated by the debate between those who prefer a gas grill or a charcoal grill. Truth be told, there is not clear winner between the two, although there are many striking differences. Potential buyers of a barbecue mainly know to take note of what exactly is needed in a barbecue, rather than what is flashy or exciting. Knowing what size of grill is needed, what special features can be eliminated, and what material is the best fit for an individual, will go a long way toward allowing a buyer to find exactly what fits best for them.

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