Gas BBQs

Monday, 5 July 2010 | Tags: ,

Barbecue season usually means entertaining, and a new gas grill can bring plenty of joy to any outdoor chef's heart. We discovered all you need to know about buying a new grill to feed a small family or a hungry crowd.

The Basics

  • The size you buy depends on your cooking needs:

    • A 350-square inch grill is big enough for about 15 burgers.

    • 490 square inches can fit 25-30 burgers.

    • 800 square inches can practically feed an army.

  • Power: BTUs (short for British Thermal Units) are a measurement of how much gas is pushed through burners.

    • Most grills have between one and four burners and rate somewhere between 26,000 and 60,000 BTUs.

    • A 44,000-BTU grill is considered “hot”.

    • A 60,000-BTU barbecue is considered “blazing”.

  • Grills are made from a variety of materials, which can determine the cost of the barbecue:

    • Chrome plated: Looks smart, but must be cleaned thoroughly after each use.

    • Stainless steel: Easy to clean and maintain. More durable than chrome-plated grills.

    • Cast iron: Hold heat well. Wipe the grill with cooking oil before and after use to help prevent rust.

  • Stainless steel is the favoured material for the outer case. It looks great and is resistant to corrosion. Test it with a magnet: if it doesn’t adhere then it’s better material because there’s less nickel, which means it’s less prone to rust. Painted steel is a much more economical option but does rust.

Other Considerations

  • The thicker each rod on the grill, the hotter it will stay, which makesfor a better cooking surface, and those great grill marks!

  • Some models provide preparation space including fold up trays to holdextra plates and utensils.

  • Side warmers and burners allow you toprepare other food at the same time. 

  • A rotisserie is a nice added feature but typically you’ll only get a couple chickens on it, which won’t feed a crowd. Alternatively, you can fit six to eight chickens if you just cook them directly on the grill.

Be Aware

  • BBQ assembly can be pretty complicated so make sure you know what you’re doing, or ask about store assembly services. Better yet, see if there’s an already-assembled floor model – you may even get a discount!

  • Look for a good warranty, especially one that covers mechanical failures.


We called for a grill-off on these four different barbeques, but first, we had to assemble them all!

  • Broil-Mate: $279
  • Broil-King: $549
  • Vermont Castings: $899
  • Weber: $1599

Our tests and results include:

Assembly Test

  • The Weber and Vermont Castings weren’t easy, but we got them assembled in a reasonable amount of time.

  • The Broil-Mate and Broil-King assembly attempts were completely disastrous.

Usability & Quality Tests

  • The Broil-King and Broil-Mate didn’t impress at all, with their poorly constructed parts and the painted steel case, guaranteed to rust.

  • The Weber was well-built, easy to light, had great controls and heated up quickly.

  • The Vermont Castings wasn’t bad, but the weight of the lid was a bit heavy.


We fell in love with everything about the shiny Weber, except the price! Instead we picked the Vermont Castings, which we felt was a good choice for the value. 

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