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Fire up the grill!

Apr 27, 2023

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Options include built-in, portable, charcoal, gas, pellet and electric

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Outdoor kitchens are, well, hot. With bars with sinks, grills that rival any indoor cooking range, stainless steel refrigerators, luxurious countertops and more, they put many indoor kitchens to shame.

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But hardly everyone has the money, space or even passion for cooking to invest in one. If you’re in the market for a new barbecue, there are plenty of options that will allow you to master outdoor cooking.

"Barbecue-cooked meals are one of the celebrations of summer," says Alain Badolato, brand marketing specialist – seasonal, with RONA. "Built-in, mobile or portable, flat-top griddles, charcoal, gas, pellet, charcoal or the new pizza oven trend. There are barbecues to suit everyone's taste."

Does size matter? "What is important is how it will be used. Will it be for a single person, a couple, a large family? Will it be fixed, mobile, portable?

Then you can choose the right size, cooking surface area and number of burners according to your needs," he says. When choosing fuel sources, Badolato suggests you consider the following and explains why:

Propane or natural gas: Gas barbecues are simple to use. They heat up quickly and temperatures can be controlled easily. Food and marinades hold their flavour. Gas barbecues can only be used outside but may be prohibited in some places and condo buildings.

There are two types of gas barbecues: those that use propane gas from a refillable tank and those that use natural gas connected directly to the house supply. Which of the two is more popular? Propane is the winner, due to its accessibility and mobility.

Charcoal (wood chips and chunks): "The charcoal barbecue, a real classic, has come back into style due to the particular flavour it imparts to food," he says. Manufacturers provide models with attractive features: a contemporary look, improved performance, solid construction, practical work surfaces and storage, greater facility for adding wood, larger ash catcher and a propane lighter.

Because a charcoal barbecue is light, it's ideal for camping. Some models have an adjustable vent, which accelerates combustion the more the vent is open, somewhat like a heat control, he says. An integrated thermometer helps you keep track of temperatures.

Charcoal is available in pieces or briquettes. Pieces of charcoal are easily lit and heat up quickly. Harder to start, briquettes last much longer which makes them ideal for roasting. The height of the grate can usually be adjusted, as well as the tray under the charcoal briquettes. Models with round lids ensure better heat distribution.

Smokers. Smoker barbecues use the heat from smoke to cook your meat, instead of the heat generated directly from your fuel source. This creates a "low and slow" cooking effect, making your food extra tender and flavourful. Smokers can take between 3 and 12 hours to fully cook your food. You can achieve a variety of flavours by using different fuel sources, like charcoal, maple or mesquite.

Grilling pellets. A wood pellet grill uses safe, easy-to-use hardwood pellets to generate heat. "You can choose pellets in a variety of flavours to enhance your food, like hickory, mesquite, apple or oak," says Badolato. "Pellet grills are versatile and can be used to smoke, braise, barbecue or sear your food."

If you’re a beginner, he recommends investing in a conventional propane gas grill. If your cooking skills are advanced, wood pellet, smoker or charcoal barbecues can be good options to vary the tastes and textures of food. "For instance, the charcoal barbecue requires more technique since we have to control the oxygen supply to get the desired temperature," Badalato says.

Today's barbecues come with technological features like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible smokers and smart wireless meat thermometers that you can control with an app on your cell phone. When it comes to accessories, options include the following:

A cover. An adjustable cover that fits the barbecue properly will protect it from the elements. The choice of material depends on your needs and budget.

Cooking accessories. Make food preparation easier with kitchen accessories designed for the barbecue. "A thermometer, roaster, grill cover and electric kebab turner will nuance the flavours of your meat," Badalato says.

Utensils. Whether you choose wood, stainless steel or silicone, choose utensils that have long handles and are thermo-resistant to reduce the risk of burns.

Finally, you might want to invest in a barbecue gazebo to protect yourself from Mother Nature when barbecuing.

Clean your barbecue

The first long weekend of the season has arrived, marking the unofficial start to summer and the return of barbecue season. But don't simply pull your grill out of winter storage and fire it up. Napoleon offers these tips: • Soak the cooking grills in warm water and soap before giving them a good cleaning to get rid of grease and food crust. Remove and scrape the heat shields. Make sure the igniter and rear burner are in working order. • Clean the grease cup and scrape off the grease tray. • Visually inspect all hoses and feed tubes. Replace any hoses with crimps, scratches or punctures. If your grill has been in storage for a prolonged time or if you’re changing any components, perform a leak test. Cover each hose with warm soapy water and look for bubbles, which would indicate a gas leak that needs repair. • Check all ignition parts. For battery ignitions, consider replacing the batteries with new ones. Check all electrode leads and ensure the tips of the electrodes are clean and have no grease or rust buildup. If they do, clean them with a fine grit sandpaper.

Barbecuing versus grilling

Grilling is typically small foods, cooked hot and fast with no smoke, often with no lid and over high heat. Barbecuing is typically larger cuts, cooked low and slow, with the lid on. It's like roasting, but often with smoke.


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Options include built-in, portable, charcoal, gas, pellet and electric included Propane or natural gas: Charcoal (wood chips and chunks): Smokers. Grilling pellets. A cover. Cooking accessories. Utensils. Clean your barbecue Barbecuing versus grilling