Confession time: When it comes to grilling, I’m a total novice. Make no mistake, I know my way around a kitchen and love cooking for my inner circle, but grilling? The closest I’ve gotten to the real deal is plating the freshly charred burgers my dad whipped up—until now, that is. My fiancé and I recently moved into an apartment with a shared backyard, and we are ready to invest in a grill for our newfound space. (I can picture it now: inviting all of our friends over for charred rib eye and veggie kebabs…did anyone else just get really hungry?)
As a barbecue beginner, I’m looking for something that is easy to use and that will deliver delicious results. So what better way to get started than with a gas grill? Known for their ease and efficiency, gas grills heat up quickly, cook food in a snap, and are a breeze to clean up later. And since they emit less smoke than charcoal grills, I won’t have to worry about ingesting all those excess fumes.
Problem is, there are a lot of gas grills on the market, making it pretty difficult to whittle the list down to a few favorites. To help simplify my grill shopping journey—and hopefully yours, too—I asked a few experts about their favorite gas styles. As professional cooks, pitmasters, and barbecue hall of famers, these people know what makes a good grill. Now, all you need to do is fire up the propane, and get grilling!
According to Christie Vanover, pitmaster and founder of Girls Can Grill, Weber’s Genesis 3-Burner is a “workhorse that can last for decades. It provides consistent heat and large side shelves for food prep and final plating,” she explains. “Having three burners allows you to cook a lot of food at once over direct heat, but you can also use just one burner and wood chips to turn the grill into an indirect low-temperature grill for smoking.” In fact, this option can fit up to 20 burgers, making it perfect for outdoor soirées.
2. Napoleon Freestyle 425 SB, $649
As a seven-time World BBQ Champion and member of the BBQ Hall of Fame, Melissa Cookston is no stranger to what makes a great grill for both beginners and aficionados. If you’re just finding your barbecue footing, Napoleon’s Freestyle 425 SB model has you covered. “While it has an attractive price point, it doesn’t skimp on features, such as a side burner, instant light Jetfire system, and the ability to generate searing high temperatures over the enameled grates,” Cookston says. “It has a moveable cart, so it’s perfect for moving by the pool for some delicious burgers and hot dogs, or moving by the patio to sear off some steaks.”
Ready to turn up the heat? Cookston recommends Blaze’s Professional Gas Grill for more experienced barbecuers. Decked out with a rear infrared burner, this option is available in a handful of configurations and constructions. (Three or four burners? A moveable cart or built-in model? The choice is yours.) “Blaze offers a lifetime warranty on their grills, and it’s easy to see why when you look at the amazing build on their burners, grates, and reflectors,” Cookston adds.
4. Wolf 42″ Outdoor Gas Grill, $7,585
For a grill that bridges the gap between form and function, SubZero Wolf’s Outdoor Gas Grill is here to deliver. Unlike stand-alone grills, this countertop construction is meant to be installed into a larger outdoor kitchen. “It’s truly the champion of all things grilling,” explains Gaby Dalkin, CEO and owner of What’s Gaby Cooking. “I couldn’t be more obsessed with how easy it is, how beautiful it is, and how seamlessly it fits into our outdoor design.” Of course, this option has a lot more to offer than good looks. With two rotisserie handles, LED-lit knobs, and two individually contained 25,000 BTU grill burners, this grill has the versatility to cook whatever you want whenever you want.
5. Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill, $20,835+
Gas grills might be more convenient to use, but Chef Brad Wise still wants his food to taste like they would when cooked over fire. That’s exactly why he turns to Kalamazoo’s Hybrid Fire Grill, a hefty, investment-worthy model that packs a punch. “It basically creates a convection oven effect: Your meat develops a great crust and cooks through quicker than a traditional gas grill would,” the Rare Society founder and chef shares. “Usually in a gas grill, the firebox and the grates are really close to one another, which means you’re more likely to get flare-ups. With a Kalamazoo, there’s a greater amount of space, which means fewer flare-ups and more heat. Plus, you can layer in wood and charcoal if you’d like to bring in those smoky flavors.” And thanks to the customizable grates, Wise can tweak his grill to match his recipe.
“It’s a splurge, yes, but for me, it feels like I’m in my restaurant kitchen with all those high-powered cooking tools,” he says. “I can create some really incredible meals for family and friends with this thing.”
How Do You Use a Gas Grill?
Though cooking with a gas grill is a relatively simple process—fire up the propane, plop your food on the grates, and flip accordingly—there are some things you can do to take your dishes to the next level. Before you get started, Cookston recommends cleaning your grate and covering it with a light layer of cooking oil. From there, you’ll want to set up your grill for multi-zone cooking.
“You can easily do this by setting one part of the grill to low, one part to medium, and one part to high for searing,” Cookston says. “This is a great arrangement for cooking a thick steak or a bunch of burgers. Many times burgers or fattier cuts of meat will start flare-ups on the grill. With multiple zones, you’ll have a safe spot to move your items to in case of that.”
To keep your grill in tip-top shape, she also recommends keeping your grills and gas lines clean as well as checking for any leaks. “Make a small bowl of soapy water,” Cookston recommends. “Using a paint brush, brush the soapy water on the gas line around fittings and connections. If you have a leak, bubbles will form. Small leaks can be dangerous, just like big leaks, so be sure to keep you and your family safe!”