The best outdoor grills of 2018

The best grills elevate outdoor cooking to an art form

z grills elite 900 5

At this point, the classic American barbecue is tied into our national fabric. In fact, per the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association, nearly 80 percent of today’s U.S. households own a smoker or grill. That said, it’s nearly summertime, which means many of us will soon be firing up those grills for a some weekend barbecue action.

While the majority of people tend to go with gas-powered options for the sake of convenience, many grilling purists won’t let a propane tank anywhere near their choicest cuts. As one could imagine, there is a broad spectrum of information to consider before purchasing a new outdoor grill.

Alongside basic personal preferences, there’s a slew of local legislation to consider when it comes to grilling on balconies, patios, and terraces in some municipalities. To make your decision a little easier, we’ve rounded up six of our favorite grills on the market, form smokers to portable powerhouses.

Kalamazoo K750 Hybrid Grill ($15,500)

Our pick

The Kalamazoo K750 hybrid grill has been the Cadillac of outdoor grills for several years now (with a price tag to match), and for good reason. Kalamazoo specializes in custom outdoor grill ensembles, and while the K750 isn’t the company’s most intricate model, it is our preferred option.

With the ability to cook with either gas, wood, or charcoal, the flexible fuel system is one of the grill’s most convenient features. However, the K750 is loaded with plenty of other handy functions. Rather than having to sift through and scoop remaining charcoal and ash after cooking, for instance, the K750 utilizes a basic slide-out drawer for easy cleaning and refills.

Individuals who enjoy cooking various sides will certainly appreciate the three-burner system, as well as the double burners. There’s even a motorized rotisserie with more than enough room to cook three full chickens at once.

The grill is massive, touting more than 720 square inches of total surface area, and the entire surface is laser-cut for optimal searing and durability. You can choose from a host of surface options, and even personalize the grill slabs with your initials and artwork. After all, nothing says “King of the Grill” like a smoldering meat flanks emblazoned with your family crest.

Kalamazoo

Char-Broil SmartChef Tru-Infrared Gas Grill ($800)

The best smart grill

Looking to capitalize on the smart-home market? Well, the Char-Broil SmartChef Tru-Infrared is the grill for the 21st century.

Using the companion SmartChef app, you can monitor and control your grill using compatible WiFi-connected devices, allowing you to set your grill and leave it be. This will free you up for more pressing tasks, like incessantly refreshing Instagram.

The Guided Cook feature allows you to select your food items and then follow a series of real-time notifications for optimal results. A Time Cook option lets you to set your desired temperature and preferred cooking time, while the Temperature Cook setting allows you to insert a series of probes that will notify you when your feeds reach a specific temperature.

As the name implies, the SmartChef Tru-Infrared also uses infrared technology, which helps you lock in more moisture for juicier cuts. You can also disable all of these auto-pilot smart features and grill manually, if you’re a barbecue purist.

Loaded with smart features and the latest infrared technology, this just might be the future of grilling.

Amazon Char-Broil

Monolith BBQ Guru Edition Classic ($1,600)

The most versatile

Monolith BBQ Guru Edition review
Kim Wetzel/Digital Trends

This Monolith grill comes with a pizza stone and stainless-steel grill grate for maximum grilling  and baking versatility, but what you’ll likely find most useful  is the smoker feature. Thanks to the wood chip feeder system, you can add more pellets without needing to take out the cooking meat or even touch any hot racks — which means you can create bold smoky flavors and maximum taste-bud excitement with a little less hassle.

The model also includes CyberQ Cloud, a probe thermometer which works to monitor the temperature throughout the grilling process. Using Wi-Fi, the thermometer will maintain your pre-set temperature through self-regulation, cooling things down with a built-in fan when the inside of the grill get too toasty. This means you won’t have to worry about the meat getting overcooked if you step away from the grill to greet a friend at your summer barbecue.

You can easily switch between the grill and smoker settings, which allows you to seamlessly transition between cooking up some mean steaks and churning out some tasty veggie kabobs. There are also extension grates for moments when you need to cook multiple types of food at once.

Amazon

Read our full Monolith BBQ Guru Edition Classic review

Char-Broil Kamander Charcoal Grill ($315)

The best kamado model

Traditional, Japanese-style stoves — known as kamados — have become wildly popular over the past decade. While brands such as Kamado Joe and The Big Green Egg widely dominate this market, there are certainly more affordable options with similar capacity. The Char-Broil Kamander just happens to be one of the best you’ll find.

Some culinary enthusiasts prefer kamado-style stoves for their overall versatility. The units can seemingly do everything, from smoking meats to cooking artisan-style pizzas. The Kamander uses double-wall steel construction, which traps heat and moisture for more even cooking times. The intuitive design will even keep your foods from drying out.

Like the aforementioned Char-Broil smoker, the Kamander also utilizes a convenient swing rack on the inside, helping optimize the total cooking area inside (327 square inches). If you’re looking for an all-purpose grill and you’re trying to spend around $300, the Char-Broil Kamander is the real MVP.

Char-Broil Amazon

Kenyon City Grill ($475)

The best for balconies

As noted previously, many cities have strict fire codes when it comes to grilling on balconies and patios (for obvious reasons). That said, the Kenyon City Grill has been designed to meet fire code requirements in areas that prohibit open-flame grilling.

Unlike some of the more massive behemoths on the market, the City Grill preheats in less than seven minutes. But don’t let the grill’s pint-sized package fool you — it can heat up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit in about 10 minutes. Plus, you can easily control this wide temperature range via eight different heat settings.

Outfitted with a pair of handles and weighing in at just 27 pounds, this unit is also exceedingly portable, allowing it to double as a camping stove on weekend getaways. The City Grill is a little on the pricier side; however, convenience and portability often come with a higher price tag.

Kenyon

Read our full Kenyon City Grill review

The Original Weber Kettle ($99)

The best budget model

The Original Weber Kettle has been one of the most popular grills on the market since its inception more than 60 years ago. The Kettle offers more than 360 inches of total cooking space, which is more than enough room for a casual barbecue session. The classic, top-mounted damper system makes temperature adjustments a breeze. All you need to do is twist the vent and lower the internal temperature to smoke meats, or crank it high if you’re looking to sear a steak. At just 32 pounds, you can also easily roll it out of the way between uses. You may not be able to conspicuously festoon your meats with your initials or rotisserie a full chicken, but if you’re in the market for a solid grill and you’re trying to spend less than a Benjamin, look no further.

Amazon Home Depot

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