The best outdoor grilling options Jennifer Weaver 11:45 a.m. EDT August 1, 2016

Scott JacksonComment

We’ve rounded up some of the latest trends in grilling, to help you determine the best new grill for your family.

Kamado cookers are one of the biggest sellers right now. The egg-shaped, ceramic grills originated in the far east. Grill chefs are drawn to this type of cooker for its versatility. It can be used as a grill, a smoker, roaster or even an oven.

“If you get one of these, you will have a grill for life,” Micheal Brown, of Buchanan Fire and Outdoor in Travelers Rest, says. “They hold heat well and will make the best-tasting food you’ve ever had. If you make a pizza on one, you’ll never want one another way again.”

Kamado cookers use natural lump charcoal as fuel, but the enclosed design means that the smoke and moisture is contained inside the grill, allowing it to flavor the food more completely. Think of it a little like a convection oven. There is a bit of a learning curve as you learn to control the temperature through the airflow controls. Temperature can be held from as low as 180 degrees to as high as 800 degrees. The most popular manufacturer of Kamado cookers is Big Green Egg. They have recipes and tips for use on their website, www.biggreenegg.com.

Perhaps the newest cookers on the scene are pellet grills. These grills use wood pellets as fuel. Pellets can be purchased in a variety of woods including hickory, oak, cherry, apple and mesquite. Pellets are fed from the storage hopper to a burning box where an igniter automatically lights them on fire. In models with temperature control units, a sensor reads the temperature and sends it to the unit’s computer.

“Pellets are becoming more popular,” Brown says. “You get the taste of a smoker, but they are much easier to use and more convenient.”

Green Mountain is one of Buchanan’s biggest sellers in pellet grills. These grills are computer-controlled and offer cool technological features. Just install an app on your phone and you can control your grill wirelessly! Like kamado cookers, pellet grills can be used for grilling, roasting, smoking and as ovens. Pellet grills do use electricity, however, to turn the auger that feeds the wood pellets into the burn chamber.

For convenience, gas grills also remain popular this year. While easier to use, you don’t get the smoky flavor preferred by many purists. Still, gas grills come with options that make them an attractive choice.

“Gas grills come with so many features,” Brown says. “Some feature side burners, searing stations and a rotisserie.”

These grills make it convenient to cook an entire meal outside. A few accessories will increase its versatility. Some popular items include smoker boxes or wood planks to add a little smoky flavor, smartphone-controlled thermostats, and grill pans and baskets that allow you to grill smaller foods.

No matter your grill style, there is a grill out there for you. A grill is a great investment, but with the beautiful Upstate weather, you can comfortably grill year-round.

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