What to look for in a Barbeque!
Most gas grills will perform adequately at your next barbeque. But as with all appliances, some models do so with more style, and some offer more convenience, some with more cooking uniformity.
I recommend Weber Barbeques, and feel strongly that most companies that rate BBQs, do not live with them over years of service. Any imported POJ can cook fairly well out of the box but live with it, as things fall apart and service vaporizes like so much smoke and one can truly appreciate what Weber is all about. 17 hard years on my Genesis and still going strong, with one set of replacement grills6, original ignitor, only one grate replaced Cost of ownership? $500 purchase, $75.00 in parts / 15 years (do the math).
As a BBQ retailer over many years, selling most major brands, I had opportunity to hear the feedback from thousands of BBQ purchasers. Weber after sale parts availability, and ease of doing business with the company were superb. The Weber products gave my retail customers very high satisfaction, for reasonable costs. In my store I could sell a customer a basic Barbeque that would do an adequate job of cooking, but that low priced unit, usually lasted less than a few BBQ seasons, and then it required a lot of additional parts. Worst of all it did not cook the same as Weber did.
What features should you value the most?
Ability to Grill - I would rate Weber excellent (as did a leading consumer magazine that tests grilling) The Weber indirect method of cooking on their model E320 is a complete pleasure to cook with. This special system, literally seals the juices in to the food you are preparing.
Protection from spiders - Spiders love to clog gas line, and you need to insure that your BBQ has screening over the air intakes.
Cooking consistency means that items cooking in the front and rear of the grill, or at any placement on the cooking grill, cook at the same rate.
Ease of cleaning/durability - ask your dealer how to best clean the BBQ.
What upgrade to demand – Stainless steel burners, stainless steel cooking surface (grating). Well worth the little additional cost, because stainless lasts much longer than metal or porcelain over metal. I would recommend avoiding cast iron grating, as it absorbs heat, and has more flare up issues.
Char Broil and Vermont Castings are two other brands, that I have seen perform well.
If you are really into Barbequing and can spend the money to obtain an infrared burner, I would highly recommend this to anyone, who likes cooking meats. Great chefs know that cooking meat faster leads to just a little more better taste.