Any upfront advice on burner type and material that I should stay away from?
I am MOST concerned about EVEN heat distribution.
AND some say 36,00 BTU. some 45K etc...can someone tell me exactly what that
means as far as efficiency?
Is it per hour use?
Could you elaborate on why you would want natural gas over propane?
Even though I have natural gas for heating and cooking in my home, I am
not the least bit interested in running a pipe and connector through
the wall to the outside where I could plug in a special gas line to the
grille. I wouldn't want to take the risk associated with a faulty
connector. I like the ability to shut the propane bottle off
completely. With the propane exchange plan at our local Home Cheapo
store, it is easy to swap bottles and keep a spare on hand. I have
cooked with both natural gas (at home) and propane (in our trailer) and
for a given size flame, propane seems to be a lot hotter.
I could never bring myself to invest megabucks in a grille, and all the
burners I have used, stainless steel, cast iron, etc., eventually rust
out, especially the so called stainless that have more iron in them
than my vitamin supplements. I'd recommend cast iron, with the caveat
that you should be able to find replacement burners at a reasonable
cost. I like some of the newer grilles where the burner is completely
shielded from drippings by a piece of metal that forms a tent over the
burner. The drippings hit the metal, and the smoke from the drippings
comes back to flavor the meat.
Are you going to roast a pig or cook burgers? I think 36K BTU is
adequate for just about everything unless your grille is as long as a
football field. Higher numbers, IMO, are just sales gimmicks.
The natural gas line will also have a shutoff valve. It s cheaper to
oeratie, does not run out in the middle of cooking, does not require hauling
bottles, is safer as you don't have 20 pounds of gas sitting under the hot
grill, you don't haul 20 or 40 pounds in the trunk of your car. ,
With the propane exchange plan at our local Home Cheapo
Both can have the same output.
Unless the overall size of the cooking area is larger and higher output is
needed. Grills come in sizes from 18" wide to 72" wide and all have burner
sized accordingly. You can always turn down a larger burner, but if too
small, it cannot be boosted if needed to sear a steak.
Hmm, plug into natural gas...never thought of that.
My natural gas grill is set in concrete and permanently
connected to the gas.
I wouldn't recommend trying to hook up one of those roll
around grills to NG.
But I absolutely love never getting a propane tank
filled, always having gas available, and always having
the grill on one place.
At the rate we use the propane for the BBQ, we might use two or three
20# bottles a year. Yes, it is a pain if you have your own bottle, and
must make a special trip to a refill center, wait for someone to come
out and refill your tank. But if you use the exchange program from a
place you visit anyway, like Home Cheapo, you drop your empty off on
the way in and tell the cashier you want a replacement on the way out,
pay about $12 and you're done. Since we have a shed in the back yard,
it is no problem to store a spare out of the elements, and it's handy
if the one on the BBQ runs out. Since months go by between running out
of gas, there is plenty of time to get a replacement.
If one is careful to keep a spare handy, running out of gas is only a
temporary thing, and then other factors like price, quality and
BTW, if one tried to convert a propane grill to use natural gas,
wouldn't the orifices on each burner have to be changed? Are these
orifices commonly available where grills are sold? At Home Cheapo?
This is a populuar topic here, and I wanted to say this the last time.
Not about grills but about my frien'ds GE gas wall-mounted oven: it
could be converted from NG to propane and back just by adjusting the
My brother's last house had that, built into a sandstone wall around
their patio. The wall matched or complemented the house construction,
stone facing iirc. The wall and grill looked like somethign one could
do himself, and the gas too I guess. I don't know how much it cost or
how much they used it, but it certainly gave a luxury look to the
patio, and the whole house to some extent.
With NG, if there were a leak, wouldn't it be better if it were
outside than inside?
Budget? They come in all price ranges, and you do get what you pay for.
I have a Vermont Castings VC200 that is excellent. If I was buying again
tomorrow, I'd consider the Signature Series by them, or a Napoleon with the
infra-red burners. A good grill is at least $500, a very good grill is over
$1000. We use ours a lot and it has held up well for many years now.
As for Btu, that is the amount of heat it can put our. The larger the
grill, the more you need to get the same heat all over. an 18" grill may be
good with only 20k, but a 60" will need at least 60k for a lot of steaks.
Size should be determined by your needs. Just the two of you? Small is OK,
but if you have large gatherings, you want a 48" or more.
Stainless steel looks pretty, but is a PITA to keep clean. I like and use
my side burner and rotisserie burner a lot, but YMMV.
Other brands to consider are MHP (Modern Home Products), Broilmaster, Broil
I appreciate all the replies. This is being done from a convenience point
of view, there are only two of use, but we occasionally cook for up to 6.
No need for a sideburner, but may consider one just in case. I have seen
the Vermont casings unit, and tend to like them in appearance( not real fond
of the stainless units), the Weber look cheap and no very well designed
ergonomically really( burner controls are in weird spots)
I am tired of the grill that we have now( very uneven cooking), and we have
run out of gas at inopportune times before. I already have the gas line
stubs in several places on the patio. a couple quick connects and I am set.
I will check codes on the mobility issue, but the reality is eventually the
unit will be built in.
Is there some kind of formula for determining best grill size to BTU ratio?
Also , is it true that the HD has some sort of big sale on the floor units
about mid summer?( probably doesn't matter as they are all Propane)
Yes, 50% off when I got one. But you must examine them carefully to be
sure all the parts are there. Mine had a drip tray missing, didn't
realize it, made a temporary one out of scrap metal and the
manufacturer sent me a replacement free of charge.
I prefer the heavier grates as opposed to the smaller stainless steel
type. The heavier ones hold more heat when they get hot, which helps
put nice sear marks on meat.
As far as BTU's, I've never seen one yet where it was inadequate.
Generally, the BTUs are gonna track the size of the grill. If you have
two that are the same size, but have diff BTUs, the only difference you
are likely to see would be the one with higher BTUs will heat up
faster. After that, I think they will both do about the same job of
cooking. I rarely have mine on high anyway, except when it's first
Another new feature is many grills now use a battery for electronic
ignition. Not sure how reliable this is over the long term compared to
the conventional piezo-electric type.
As for propane vs natural gas, I've had both and believe natural gas is
the way to go. More convenient, safer, cheaper to opperate. The only
downside is the initial installation of the gas line. For safety, I
can't recall hearing of an accident with an outdoor natural gas grill.
With propane tanks, I have read of plenty of accidents as well as major
explosions. To refill it, you wind up driving with a tank of highly
flammable gas in your car. Propane tanks can be OK if used correctly,
the risk is not real high and I would use one if I had to. However I
think the claim that natural gas is more dangerous is false..
I guess you can do a Btu to square inch of primary cooking surface analysis.
In general, more is better as you can turn the burners down.
HD does have a mid summer sale, IIRC, but they do not have the best
selection of grills if you want something really good. They handle Vermont
Castings, but the models they have are made for the mass market. The
Signature series is a better quality. Take a look at some of the propane
dealers and outdoor furniture shops, etc. You may pay a few $ more, but
over the next 15 or so years, you will enjoy a better product.
AFAIK any brand of propane grill can be converted to NG.
Many grills come in nat gas or propane versions when you buy them, but
most cannot be converted. I was recently helping a friend buy a new
one. He's renting a condo while looking for a house to buy. So, he
wanted one that could be converted. Most cannot. Wound up buying a
CharmGlow or CharmBroil (can't remember which), because they were the
only one we could find that would convert. They offer a kit for $50
and actually show the dual fuel capability as a key feature.
Not sure why the others don't offer this. Could be a liability
concern, or maybe there just isn't enough demand.
The sale at home depot is for one day only, isn't advertised and only
covers their cheaper models. You are in the same boat as I was. Check
out the VTC400 at home depot. They carry it in natural gas. It has some
stainless parts, others are porcelain coated. The hood is porcelain. Its
high BTU 3 burner. No side burner. Its well made and is under $400. Get
the Vermont castings cover for it. Its well bade and fits nice. If they
do not have the natural gas version in stock then ask them to get it for
you. Another store in the area may have it.
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If I buy this grill, can I at some point install it into a built-in unit?
I'd hate to spend $800 or more for a built-in grill when I can get one for
under $400 that will do everything I need. I asked this same question at
Home Depot and they shrugged their shoulders and were more interested in
selling a grill than figuring it out.
Thanks for the advice! I called CFM (parent company for VC?) and was told
that there is no way to do what I want - he mumbled something about heat
distribution and clearance and said there are no grills that can be mounted
as such. I think it's time to find a local vendor (Phoenix area) that
specializes in those types of things...
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