Hot New Grills for Outdoor Barbecue
The application of fire to meat is a primal urge that can be satisfied by one of America’s favorite outdoor activities: grilling. But grilling has evolved from primitive to upscale—and as our interest in cooking becomes more sophisticated, so do our options for outdoor grills. Built-in gas grills have expanded into near kitchens, with built-in rotisseries, extra burners on the side and even the option for under-the-counter storage, wine cellars and refrigeration. For those who prefer the flavor of wood briquettes without the hassle of lighter fluid, charcoal grills can now be started with the touch of a button; and those who want authentic American barbecue (cooked low and slow) can choose from a variety of smokers. Here are some of the hottest new grills.
Weber 841001 Performer
The ease of gas ignition with the traditional flavor of charcoal
The Performer grills just like a standard charcoal grill with a porcelain bowl and lid, but it’s much easier to get the fire started. With a gas ignition system that lights the charcoal without lighter fluid, it requires you to refill the propane tank only once every few years. The Performer comes with two baskets for holding charcoal, a thermometer and a work surface where you can place platters, marinades and grilling tools. The whole setup is on a cart for easy transport.
Viking C4 Outdoor Cooker—VCQS
A contemporary smoker designed for home use
For authentic American barbecue, you need to cook with smoke and natural lump charcoal or wood over indirect heat. There are several smokers on the market to choose from, but this new outdoor cooker is as sleek as a rocket. Constructed from 18-gauge spun stainless steel, it has a thick ceramic interior that provides stability and heat retention for faster cooking. Dampers at the bottom and top of the grill control air flow: Open dampers to increase temperature for grilling, close dampers for slow smoking. This versatile capsule can grill hamburgers, smoke whole turkeys, barbecue ribs, sear steaks and chops, and even bake side dishes and desserts (must be installed on a cart, available with optional double side burners).
Weber Q 140 Electric Grill
An electric grill that’s good enough to compete with charcoal and gas grills
This compact, portable grill is perfect for your pied-à-terre, balcony or any urban space where space is at a premium (or gas or charcoal grilling is prohibited). Unlike other electric grills, this one gets hot enough to sear a steak at temperatures up to 600 degrees. Thanks to the aluminum heat-retention liner, it heats up fast and stays that way. The heavy-duty stainless steel cooking grates not only retain heat, but also give you appetizing sear marks.
Wolf BBQ3621B1, 48" Built-In Grill with Side Burners$5,195, wolfappliance.com
All the makings of an outdoor kitchen, designed by an indoor-cooking expert
Gas grills are still favored by outdoor cooks, and outdoor kitchens have vast potential. Wolf is known for indoor stoves and ovens, so it makes sense that the company’s outdoor built-in grill would be a sophisticated, heavy-duty, stainless steel model. It comes with a built-in rotisserie for roasting and cast-iron side burners for auxiliary preparations. The grill grates are made of porcelain-coated cast-iron for maximum heat retention and easy cleaning.
NANCY DAVIDSON is a food writer in Atlanta.