Friday, August 01, 2008

Up in My Grill

What does this porch need? That's right, a grill. Bob and I talked about the wonders of natural gas grills, as he and Rebecca are in the market for gasifying their new house. When we were in Atlanta last week we visited our friend Eric, who is also in the market for a grill and ogled his neighbor's recently installed palatial natural gas grill/wok, yes WOK, which kind of dwarfs his deck. Should Bob & Rebecca have a natural gas port for a grill installed? Should I buy a propane or charcoal grill? These are some of life's persistent questions. Between Re-Nest and Consumer Reports, let's see if we can find some answers.

While perusing Re-Nest I found that the Portland Tribune weighed the pros and cons of your basic LP gas grill v. charcoal and finds, "gas is a superior fuel in terms of pollution, efficiency, cost and convenience." Re-nest whines that really the true green choice is to do neither . . . and eat what, RAW FOOD? Wait, maybe that is what they're saying. But that's just crazy talk. Anything that gets the hubinator to cook is worth every ounce of carbon in the atmosphere . . . wait, no. If I cook outside, my a/c doesn't have to combat the heat of my stove. That's kinda green, right? Or at least as green as cooking inside? Anywho, if I'm going to be bad, I'll go with propane over charcoal. Any thoughts on Rebecca and Bob's natural gas grilling potential?

According to,

Natural gas [for grilling] has many benefits. First of all, depending on where you live it can be much cheaper, as much as a third the price of propane for each BTU. Since natural gas has half the power of propane it can actually cost a sixth as much or less than propane per volume, but since you use twice as much it's still a third the price. Also, natural gas burns much cleaner than propane. So natural gas is better for the environment and you don’t get as much exhaust from the burning propane which can end up on your food and float around your party. Lastly, natural gas, connected to your house won’t run out until the gas company does in 40 to 50 years. No more tanks to refill, no more worrying about running out in the middle of a big cook out and no more carrying those heavy tanks.
Man, that makes me want to get a gas line to the porch too, if I weren't in a place that shakes itself apart every so often.

Based on Consumer Reports' recommendation I looked into the Brinkmann 810-8410S at Home Depot. CR called it a medium-sized model, but it seemed humongous to me. What on earth am I going to do with four burners? And a side burner? Its future place on the porch is less than three steps from my stove which has four perfectly functional and underused burners as it is.

Consumer Reports only rated two two-burner grills that weren't table-top models, the Char-Broil Select 463-620208 and the Weber Spirit E210. While they rated the Char-Broil a point higher than the Weber, when you read the fine print it sounds like the Char-Broil's instability is a negative that far outweighs its significantly lower price (especially now that Home Depot offers the Weber for about $100 less than CR has it listed). And the CR user reviews of the Weber were glowing.

Now if only I can patiently wait until I get my rebate from buying my fabulous Energy Star rated refrigerator and washing machine, which is slated to take the form of Home Depot gift cards. Hmm, apparently the Weber Spirit E210 is only available from Home Depot online. Anyone ever buy a grill or similar appliance online?

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Anonymous said...

I write the consumer blog for Char-Broil called Sizzle on the Grill and I'd recommend you look at the Patio Caddie. It's a very good grill with economical space saving as well as lower gas consumption - as it only uses one burner. I used one exclusively for an entire year and was very pleased with cooking everything from a low & slow smoked whole chicken to salmon, beef steaks and chicken. Of course it did lamb, burgers and hot dogs just fine as well. It's available at several retailers. CB