Types of Grills

Types of Grills (Guide)

If you’re in the market for a new grill, it’s important to understand the different types available. From gas to charcoal, electric to portable grills, each type has its own unique features and advantages. By knowing the options, you can make an informed decision and find the perfect grill for your cooking needs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Grills can be categorized based on fuel type and configuration.
  • Gas grills offer convenience and precise temperature control.
  • Charcoal grills provide a smoky flavor.
  • Electric grills are easy to use and clean.
  • Portable grills are lightweight and ideal for on-the-go grilling.

Fuel-Based Grills

When it comes to grilling, there are plenty of options to choose from. The type of fuel used is an important factor to consider when selecting a grill. Let’s take a closer look at some popular fuel-based grills available in the market today.

Gas Grills

Gas grills are a convenient option for many grill enthusiasts. They offer precise temperature control, allowing you to easily adjust the heat according to your cooking needs. Gas grills are known for their quick startup and even heat distribution, making them ideal for cooking a variety of foods.

Charcoal Grills

For those who crave that smoky flavor, charcoal grills are a popular choice. These grills use charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal as the fuel source. Charcoal grills can reach high temperatures quickly, making them great for searing steaks and burgers. They also provide excellent heat retention, resulting in deliciously grilled meats.

Electric Grills

If convenience is your priority, electric grills are worth considering. They are easy to use and clean, making them ideal for apartment dwellers or those with limited outdoor space. Electric grills heat up quickly and offer consistent heat, allowing for even cooking.

Propane Grills

Propane grills offer portability and versatility. They are fueled by propane gas, making them perfect for outdoor use. Propane grills are easy to start and offer excellent heat control. Whether you’re grilling in your backyard or on a camping trip, propane grills provide a reliable option for outdoor cooking.

Pellet Grills

Pellet grills combine the benefits of both smoking and grilling. They use wood pellets as fuel, which not only adds flavor to the food but also allows for precise temperature control. Pellet grills are known for their versatility and ability to maintain consistent heat. They are perfect for low and slow cooking as well as high-temperature grilling.

As you can see, there are several types of fuel-based grills to choose from, each offering its own advantages. Whether you prefer the convenience of gas grills, the smoky flavor of charcoal grills, or the versatility of pellet grills, there is a grill out there that will suit your grilling needs perfectly.

Open Grills

Open grills are the perfect choice for high-heat direct grilling. These simple grills consist of a metal or stone box with burning fuel at the bottom, and the food is placed directly over the fire. They are ideal for cooking small, quick-cooking foods like kebabs, steaks, fish fillets, and vegetables. Open grills provide a direct flame contact, resulting in delicious char marks and a smoky flavor.

One advantage of open grills is their simplicity and ease of use. They require minimal setup and maintenance, making them a favorite among amateur and professional grillers alike. Additionally, open grills offer excellent heat distribution, ensuring that your food cooks evenly and to perfection.

If you enjoy the taste of char-grilled food and crave the high-heat searing that locks in flavor, an open grill is the perfect choice for you. Its straightforward design and ability to reach high temperatures quickly make it a versatile option for grilling enthusiasts who prioritize speed and convenience without compromising on taste.

“There’s something special about the flavor and aroma that open grills bring to food. It’s a classic and timeless cooking method that delivers delicious results every time.”

Pros Cons
Quick and easy setup No lid for indirect cooking
Excellent heat distribution No temperature control
Delicious smoky flavor May require more fuel

Covered Grills

Covered grills offer a versatile cooking experience, allowing for both direct grilling and indirect grilling methods. With a tall lid that can be raised and lowered, these grills provide added functionality for smoking various types of food. The ability to adjust the lid height enables precise heat control, making covered grills suitable for a wide range of cooking techniques.

When it comes to direct grilling, covered grills excel at cooking larger or thicker cuts of meat like steaks and pork chops. The tall lid helps to trap heat, ensuring even cooking and sealing in the juices for juicy and flavorful results. Additionally, the lid helps to distribute heat evenly, preventing flare-ups and creating a consistent cooking environment.

Indirect grilling is another popular method that can be achieved with covered grills. By placing the food away from the direct heat source and closing the lid, the heat circulates around the food, resulting in a slow and gentle cooking process. This technique is often used for whole chicken, pork shoulder, and ribs, allowing them to become tender and succulent while absorbing the smoky flavor from the grill.

Direct Grilling Indirect Grilling Smoking
Cook larger or thicker cuts of meat Slow and gentle cooking Infuse smoky flavor
Traps heat for even cooking Prevents flare-ups
Creates a consistent cooking environment

Covered grills are a versatile option for avid grillers who enjoy experimenting with different cooking techniques. Whether you prefer direct grilling for juicy steaks or want to venture into the world of smoking, covered grills provide the necessary features to elevate your outdoor cooking experience.

Vessel Grills: The Perfect Choice for High-Heat Roasting and Cooking on Side Walls

If you enjoy high-heat roasting and cooking methods that utilize the side walls of your grill, then vessel grills are the perfect choice for you. These deep, thick-walled ceramic grills offer a unique cooking experience that combines radiant heat from the side walls with direct heat from the coals. Let’s dive deeper into the features and advantages of vessel grills.

A Versatile Cooking Method

One of the key benefits of vessel grills is their versatility. They excel at high-heat roasting, making them ideal for cooking flatbreads, kebabs, chickens, fish steaks, and other skewered or vertical cooking methods. The thick ceramic walls retain heat exceptionally well, ensuring that your food cooks evenly and retains its moisture and tenderness.

Additionally, vessel grills allow you to cook directly on the walls themselves or on a vertical spit inside the firebox. This opens up a world of possibilities for experimenting with different cooking techniques and flavors. Whether you want to achieve a crispy sear on the outside of your meat or infuse it with the flavors from the side walls, vessel grills offer unparalleled cooking flexibility.

Superior Heat Retention

One of the standout features of vessel grills is their exceptional heat retention. The thick ceramic walls trap and radiate heat evenly, creating a stable cooking environment that is perfect for high-heat roasting. This means that you can achieve consistent cooking results every time you use your vessel grill, even in changing outdoor conditions.

The superior heat retention of vessel grills also makes them more fuel-efficient compared to other grill types. Once the grill reaches your desired cooking temperature, it requires less fuel to maintain that heat level. This not only saves you money on fuel costs but also allows for longer cooking sessions without needing to constantly replenish the fuel source.

Advantages of Vessel Grills
High-heat roasting capabilities
Ability to cook on side walls or vertical spits
Exceptional heat retention for consistent cooking results
Superior fuel efficiency
Enhanced moisture retention for juicy, flavorful food

Moisture Retention for Flavorful Food

One of the challenges in grilling is retaining moisture and preventing food from drying out. Vessel grills excel in this aspect, thanks to their thick ceramic walls and superior heat retention. The radiant heat from the walls creates a moist cooking environment that locks in the natural juices of your food, resulting in incredibly flavorful and succulent dishes.

Whether you’re grilling a chicken, fish, or vegetables, vessel grills ensure that your food remains tender and juicy throughout the cooking process. The combination of high-heat roasting and moisture retention makes vessel grills a top choice for grill enthusiasts who want to elevate their cooking game.

Vessel grills provide a versatile and immersive cooking experience, allowing you to explore high-heat roasting and cooking on the side walls of your grill. With their exceptional heat retention, you can achieve consistent cooking results while using less fuel. If you want to take your grilling to the next level and experiment with unique cooking techniques, vessel grills are definitely worth considering.

Rotisserie Grills: Adding Motion and Flavor to Your Grilling Experience

Rotisserie grills offer a unique and flavorful approach to grilling, making them a popular choice among barbecue enthusiasts. These grills bring an element of motion to the cooking process by slowly rotating the food, resulting in deliciously tender and evenly cooked meats. With the ability to combine both direct and indirect grilling methods, rotisserie grills provide versatile cooking options for a variety of dishes.

“Rotisserie grills add a touch of elegance to any cookout. The slow rotation of the meat helps to baste and self-baste the food, resulting in succulent and juicy flavors.” – Grill Master Magazine

When using a rotisserie grill, you can achieve the perfect balance between direct heat and indirect heat. The food cooks next to, but not directly over the fire, allowing for even heat distribution and optimal browning. This method is particularly suitable for cylindrical and fatty foods, such as whole chickens, ducks, rib roasts, and hogs.

Whether you’re hosting a backyard gathering or simply want to elevate your grilling skills, a rotisserie grill can take your cooking to the next level. The slow rotation not only helps to baste the meat, but also allows the fat to melt away, resulting in a deliciously crispy exterior. The result is a mouthwatering meal that is sure to impress your guests.

Discover the Joys of Rotisserie Grilling

If you’re looking to bring a new level of flavor and tenderness to your grilling, consider investing in a rotisserie grill. With their ability to combine direct and indirect grilling methods, these grills offer a unique and dynamic cooking experience. So fire up the rotisserie, sit back, and enjoy the aroma of your perfectly cooked meats.


Smokers are a popular type of grill used for smoking and low-temperature indirect grilling. They are specifically designed to infuse food with a rich, smoky flavor and produce tender results. Smokers come in various types, each offering its own unique features and advantages.

Types of Smokers:

  • Offset Barrel Smokers: These smokers have a separate firebox located beside the cooking chamber. The smoke and heat from the firebox are drawn into the cooking chamber, slowly cooking the food.
  • Upright Water Smokers: Water smokers use a water pan between the fire and the food. The water helps regulate the temperature and adds moisture to the cooking environment, resulting in juicy meats.
  • Box Smokers: Also known as cabinet smokers, box smokers have a vertical design with multiple racks for food placement. They provide excellent heat retention and uniform smoke distribution.
  • Pellet Smokers: Pellet smokers use wood pellets as the fuel source. These smokers have an automated system that feeds pellets into a firebox, maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process.

Smokers are ideal for cooking tough cuts of meat, such as brisket and ribs, which benefit from slow cooking at low temperatures. The smoking process imparts a delicious smoky flavor and creates tender, succulent meat. While smoking can take longer than other grilling methods, the results are well worth it.

“Using a smoker adds a depth of flavor to your food that can’t be replicated with other cooking methods. The slow, low-temperature cooking process allows the flavors to develop and creates melt-in-your-mouth meats.” – Chef John Smith

Low-temperature indirect grilling in smokers is a gentle cooking method that allows you to infuse meats with flavor without drying them out. The controlled temperature and smoke help break down tough connective tissues and render fat, resulting in tender, juicy meat that falls off the bone.

Smoker Type Advantages
Offset Barrel Smokers Allows for larger cooking capacity and offers a traditional smoking experience.
Upright Water Smokers Provides excellent moisture retention and imparts a subtle, smoky flavor.
Box Smokers Allows for precise temperature control and even smoke distribution.
Pellet Smokers Offers convenient automated operation and consistent heat for long cooking sessions.

Whether you’re an avid barbecue enthusiast or simply love the taste of smoky, flavorful meats, investing in a smoker can take your grilling game to the next level. Explore the different types of smokers available and choose the one that suits your needs and preferences. Get ready to enjoy mouthwatering, smoked delicacies right in your own backyard!

Open Pit and Campfire-Style “Grills”

Open pit and campfire-style grills are traditional methods of grilling that have been used for centuries. These grills involve cooking over an open fire, creating a unique and rustic cooking experience. Perfect for outdoor gatherings, camping trips, or simply enjoying the great outdoors, open pit and campfire-style grills offer a distinctive flavor and ambiance to your meals.

Open pit grills, such as Argentina’s asado and Brazil’s fogo de chão, are known for their use of roasting meats on stakes in front of the fire. The meat slowly cooks as it is rotated, resulting in a tender and succulent flavor. The radiant heat from the fire gives the meat a smoky and charred exterior, adding depth to the overall taste.

Campfire grilling, on the other hand, encompasses a variety of cooking techniques. From cooking on planks to roasting marshmallows, campfire-style grills offer a range of culinary possibilities. Whether you’re grilling fish, vegetables, or even baking bread, the open flame adds a distinct flavor and enhances the overall cooking experience.

One popular cooking method with open pit and campfire-style grills is radiant-heat roasting. This technique involves cooking whole animals, such as lamb, goat, pig, or salmon, over the fire. The radiant heat slowly cooks the meat, resulting in a tender and flavorful dish. This method is perfect for special occasions or gatherings where you want to impress your guests with a show-stopping meal.

Radiant-Heat Roasting: Comparison of Cooking Times

Meat Cooking Time
Lamb 4-6 hours
Goat 3-4 hours
Pig 8-12 hours
Salmon 1-2 hours

As you can see, the cooking times vary depending on the size and type of meat you’re roasting. It’s crucial to monitor the fire and adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure the meat is cooked to perfection.

Open pit and campfire-style grills offer a unique and flavorful grilling experience. Whether you’re a seasoned grill master or just starting your grilling journey, trying out these traditional grilling methods will elevate your outdoor cooking to a whole new level.

Kamado Grills

Kamado grills, also known as ceramic smokers or “egg grills,” have gained popularity in recent years. These grills are constructed from thicker ceramic materials, providing excellent heat retention and precise temperature control. Kamado grills offer versatility and can be used for high-heat roasting, grilling, and smoking. They are often fueled by hardwood lump charcoal, which imparts a distinct smoky flavor to the food.

Advantages of Kamado Grills

Kamado grills have several advantages that make them a preferred choice for many grilling enthusiasts:

  • Excellent heat retention: The thick ceramic walls of a Kamado grill retain heat more efficiently than other grill types, allowing for consistent cooking temperatures.
  • Precise temperature control: With the adjustable vents and dampers, Kamado grills offer precise control over airflow and temperature, allowing users to achieve desired cooking results.
  • Versatile cooking options: From high-heat searing to low-and-slow smoking, Kamado grills can handle a wide range of cooking techniques, giving chefs the flexibility to experiment with various recipes.

Cooking with Hardwood Lump Charcoal

One of the distinctive features of Kamado grills is the use of hardwood lump charcoal as fuel. Unlike briquettes, hardwood lump charcoal is made from natural wood, providing a cleaner and more authentic grilling experience. The hardwood charcoal burns hotter, creating intense heat for searing steaks or achieving the perfect char on vegetables. It also imparts a natural smoky flavor to the food, enhancing the overall taste.

Advantages of Kamado Grills Cooking with Hardwood Lump Charcoal
Excellent heat retention Natural wood fuel
Precise temperature control Higher heat output
Versatile cooking options Enhanced smoky flavor

“Kamado grills provide an exceptional grilling experience with their superior heat retention and precise temperature control. The use of hardwood lump charcoal adds an authentic smoky flavor to your dishes, elevating the overall taste. Whether you’re searing steaks or slow-smoking ribs, a Kamado grill offers unparalleled versatility for all your grilling needs.”

Portable Grills

Portable grills are a convenient option for those who enjoy grilling on the go. Whether you’re heading out for a camping trip, a tailgate party, or simply grilling in your backyard, a portable grill allows you to enjoy delicious grilled food wherever you are. These compact grills are designed to be lightweight and easy to transport, making them the perfect companion for outdoor adventures.

One of the advantages of portable grills is their versatility in fuel options. You can choose from charcoal, gas, or wood pellets, depending on your preference and the availability of fuel sources. Charcoal grills provide that classic smoky flavor, while gas grills offer convenience and quick heat-up times. Wood pellet grills combine the flavors of hardwood smoke with the ease of use of gas grills.

Despite their smaller size, portable grills still offer enough cooking space to grill delicious meals for a small group of people. They come in various styles, including tabletop grills and compact freestanding grills. Some models even come with foldable legs or carrying handles for easy transportation. Additionally, portable grills often have features like adjustable heat controls and removable grates for easy cleaning.

Benefits of Portable Grills:

  • Convenience and portability for outdoor grilling adventures
  • Versatile fuel options, including charcoal, gas, and wood pellets
  • Sufficient cooking space for small groups
  • Features such as adjustable heat controls and easy-to-clean grates


“Portable grills are the perfect solution for anyone who loves grilling on the go. Whether you’re camping, tailgating, or simply enjoying a day at the beach, a portable grill allows you to enjoy the flavors of outdoor cooking wherever you are.”

So, if you’re someone who loves the taste of grilled food and enjoys outdoor adventures, a portable grill is a must-have. With their convenience, versatility, and compact design, portable grills make it easy to satisfy your cravings for delicious grilled meals, no matter where you are.

Grill Type Advantages
Charcoal Classic smoky flavor, affordable fuel source
Gas Convenience, quick heat-up times, precise temperature control
Wood Pellet Flavorful hardwood smoke, easy-to-use, consistent heat


In conclusion, understanding the different types of grills allows you to make an informed decision when choosing the perfect one for your grilling needs. Whether you prefer the convenience and precise temperature control of a gas grill, the smoky flavor of a charcoal grill, or the ease of use and portability of an electric or portable grill, there is a grill out there that suits your preferences.

Consider factors such as your fuel preference, preferred cooking style, and the portability you require when making your decision. Gas grills are great for quick and convenient cooking, charcoal grills add that unmistakable smoky flavor, while electric and portable grills offer versatility and ease of use.

So, whether you’re grilling for a backyard gathering, a camping trip, or simply enjoying a delicious meal outdoors, there’s a grill out there waiting for you. Make your choice, fire it up, and happy grilling!


What are the different types of grills?

Grills can be categorized based on various factors, including fuel type and configuration. Some common types include gas grills, charcoal grills, electric grills, propane grills, pellet grills, open grills, covered grills, vessel grills, rotisserie grills, smokers, open pit and campfire-style grills, kamado grills, and portable grills.

What are gas grills?

Gas grills use propane or natural gas as fuel for cooking. They offer convenient use and precise temperature control, making them popular among grill enthusiasts.

What are charcoal grills?

Charcoal grills use charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal as fuel. They provide a distinct smoky flavor to the food and are ideal for traditional grilling experiences.

What are electric grills?

Electric grills use electricity as their fuel source. They are easy to use and clean, making them suitable for indoor and outdoor grilling.

What are propane grills?

Propane grills use propane gas as their fuel source. They are portable and versatile, making them a popular choice for outdoor cooking.

What are pellet grills?

Pellet grills use wood pellets as their fuel source. They offer the benefits of both smoking and grilling, allowing for a variety of cooking styles.

What are open grills?

Open grills are simple grills consisting of a metal or stone box with burning fuel at the bottom. Food is placed directly over the fire, making them suitable for high-heat direct grilling.

What are covered grills?

Covered grills have a tall lid that can be raised and lowered. This design allows for additional cooking methods such as indirect grilling and smoking.

What are vessel grills?

Vessel grills are deep, thick-walled ceramic grills that rely on both radiant heat from the side walls and direct heat from the coals. They are suitable for high-heat roasting and skewered or vertical cooking methods.

What are rotisserie grills?

Rotisserie grills add motion to the grilling process by rotating the food slowly. They are suitable for cylindrical and fatty foods, providing even browning and basting.

What are smokers?

Smokers are designed for smoking and low-temperature indirect grilling. They are commonly used for cooking tough, flavorful cuts of meat.

What are open pit and campfire-style grills?

Open pit and campfire-style grills involve cooking over an open fire. They are often used for radiant-heat roasting of whole animals and classic campfire cooking techniques.

What are kamado grills?

Kamado grills are ceramic smokers that offer excellent heat retention and precise temperature control. They can be used for high-heat roasting, grilling, and smoking.

What are portable grills?

Portable grills are smaller in size and come in various fuel options. They are lightweight and easy to transport, making them ideal for camping, tailgating, and outdoor gatherings.

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