Picking out the right size BBQ grill is one of the most important decisions in selecting your new grill. The choice requires some balancing between cost, available room and actual grill space.
If the grill is a free standing cart, be sure to note if the shelves fold down if your space is limited. Some grills have folding shelves, many do not. If the grill is built-in to an island, it’s always best to leave at least 12 inches of counter space on either side of the grill. 12 inches allows room for a plate or platter. If the grill section on the island is 5 feet long, a 3 foot grill (or less) is the perfect choice to leave enough counter space.
Rule out the largest party or two a year and determine what size is a “typical large” group to entertain. For my wife and I that is about 12 people. Next determine what you typically grill when you entertain. Both chicken breasts and steaks take up a good amount of space.
Let’s say that the average chicken breast or New York steak takes up about 24 square inches with a little room between the pieces. For every 100 square inches of primary cooking space you can cook for 4. For a party of 12, I need a grill with at least 300 square inches of primary cooking space. (some manufacturers include the warming rack as available square inches so it’s best to measure the width and depth of the actual cooking grates to determine the square inches).
I also like grilling our vegetables; asparagus and artichokes are two of our favorites. If you enjoy this too, then you need still a bigger grill. Add 30% to 50% more grill space for the vegetables. For our typical large party of 12 people; 400 to 500 square inches of primary cooking space is going to be perfect for the meat and vegetables.
A last consideration is to exclude the sear burner from your available space. Most sear burners are too hot for normal grilling. This means when you calculate the square inches, deduct the width of the sear burner when determining the available grilling area.
This is almost too obvious to mention but in every line, the larger the grill the higher the price. As a general rule of thumb a value grill will run about $50 per inch in width. That means a 32 inch wide grill will run around $1600, give or take.
With a premium line the typical cost will be about $100 per inch in width. This means a 36” wide grill will cost approximately $3600, give or take.
The best recommendation we can make is to buy enough grill, but not more than you will use.
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