Food Tips

Fire 'em up: The ultimate guide to outdoor grills

Fire 'em up: The ultimate guide to outdoor grills

Image: Lowe's

Food Tips

Fire 'em up: The ultimate guide to outdoor grills

Find out which grill is best for you with our guide to the six options that’ll help you whip up the best barbecued goodies.

The warm weather's just around the corner, which means the irresistible smell of grilled foods will soon be wafting across patios everywhere. If you’re new to grilling, the first step is finding the right barbecue for your needs. "With Canadians love of the outdoors and the growing popularity of barbecue techniques, the marketplace has endless options of outdoor living products to choose from now," says Lowe's senior director Nick Malone. With so many styles and models, shopping for a grill can be overwhelming. Gas or charcoal? Smoker or fryer? And what on earth is a pellet grill?

But choosing the right one for you doesn't have to be such a daunting task — you can get answers to all your questions at your local Lowes store. "Whether you’re a BBQ aficionado or a first-time griller, Lowe’s assortment has something for everyone and our experts can help you find the right fit for your grilling style," says Malone.

Read on for our handy guide and visit your local Lowe's store to have all your BBQ-related questions answers. 



Propane grills are one of the most accessible grills on the market, powered by propane gas tanks that hold about 20 pounds of gas and last for roughly nine hours of cooking. 

Who is it good for? A propane grill is an easy solution for someone who doesn’t have access to an outdoor natural gas line. Some smaller models are transportable and can be taken with you on road trips or picnics. 

What are its perks? It heats up quickly, can be used year-round and is easy to clean.

What is it good for? A gas grill is great for faster-cooking high-heat foods such as burgers, pork chops, fish fillets or veggie skewers. Tip: It never hurts to have an extra propane tank on hand to ensure your BBQ doesn’t get cut short!


Broil King Signet, $529,



Natural gas grills are similar to their propane counterparts but rely on a natural gas line installed outdoors for their power source. 

Who is it good for? It’s great for a griller who already has a line installed in their home, or is looking into making that investment. Since this natural gas option is easy to manage, it’s great for the novice griller. It’s also a good option for people looking for fast, convenient outdoor cooking.

What are its perks? A natural gas grill heats up almost instantly (it’s the same effect as having a gas stovetop), can be used year-round and is easy to clean. Plus, as with a gas oven, it’s easy to set and maintain the internal temperature. 

What is it good for? These grills are great for burgers, pork chops, fish fillets, or veggie skewers. If you’re looking for more of a sear, allow a cast iron pan to get really hot on the grill and then cook your food in the pan itself. 


Weber Mocha Genesis II, $899,



Charcoal grills use lump or briquette charcoal for fuel and produce a classic "smoky" aroma while in use. 

Who is it good for? Since maintaining your desired temperature requires ongoing supervision, a charcoal grill is best for an experienced cook who likes a challenge, loves the flavours and aromas that cooking with charcoal provides, and doesn’t mind taking a little extra time to produce something delicious. 

What are its perks? A charcoal grill can be inexpensive, but you must use new charcoal each time you grill. It takes longer than a gas grill to heat up (about 45 minutes), but it can get hotter than gas grills and offers a wide range of temperatures to cook from.

What is it good for? It’s great for long-cooking foods like ribs, brisket and other types of classic barbecue, but it also gets hot enough to give a great sear to steak.


Kamado Joe Classic, $1599,



Smokers come in a variety of fuel options: electric, propane or charcoal. While charcoal or wood chips provide richer flavour, it’s quicker to heat (and easier to control the temperatures in) electric or propane smokers. 

Who is it good for? Since it allows you to slow cook large quantities of meat at one time, a smoker is ideal for anyone who frequently entertains. There are many different types of wood chips you can use in a smoker to flavour your food, making a smoker also great for the experimental chef.

What are its perks? Although smoking takes some time, the results are melt-in-your-mouth tender. 

What is it good for? A smoker is best for classic barbecue dishes like brisket and ribs and also tougher, slow-cooking cuts like the shoulder. You can also infuse smoky flavour into salts, sauces, cheeses, popcorn and much more. 


Dyna-Glo, $311,



Pellet grills run on electricity but are fueled by hardwood pellets that come in a variety of flavours. 

Who is it good for? This is an ideal grill for one who likes slow cooking, smoking and roasting. Since most models aren’t portable (unless you have a generator), a pellet grill is best for those looking for a stationary product. 

What are its perks? It heats up in about 15 minutes and is thermostatically controlled, like an oven, making it easy to use. 

What is it good for? You can use a pellet grill to cook just about anything from chicken to steak to shrimp kabobs, but it’s particularly good for smoking or slow-roasting. Note: To get a real sear, you’ll need to use a cast iron pan.


Traeger Texas Elite, $1299,



Who said grills get to have all the fun? Outdoor fryers are propane-powered, large-capacity vessels that enable you to enjoy the tasty treat of fried foods without having to stink up your home with frying oil. 

Who is it good for? An outdoor fryer is great for seasoned chefs who don’t mind having to keep a close eye on what they’re cooking. Note: It must be kept far, far away from all children and pets.

What are its perks? It allows you to fry much more than you could on the stove. Use an outdoor fryer to cook whole chickens or even small turkeys, or to have a fish fry for the neighbourhood! 

What is it good for? Deep-frying anything! Be warned: Once you’ve tasted the perfectly crisp skin on a deep-fried turkey, it’s hard to go back.


Char-Broil Big Easy Oil Less Fryer, $169,


For more excellent grill options, as well as essential grilling tools and accessories, visit the for all your outdoor cooking needs. 


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Food Tips

Fire 'em up: The ultimate guide to outdoor grills