5 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Barbecue Grill
All grill manufacturers will tell you that their products are easy
to assemble, easy to clean, and ready for quick shipment. But are those really the most important things
to look for? Today's grill buyers expect quality, service, and satisfaction. However, there are important
factors to consider before making that important purchase decision. Your grill needs to make money and be
constructed for commercial use. Before you buy, there are five important things to consider.
PLEASE NOTE: The following information is specific to carbon steel grills.
Stainless steel grill properties are significantly different.
1. A Large Grill Size Equals the Quickest Way to Feed a Hungry Crowd!
Whether you are cooking for a large crowd at a food fair or for golfers after a big
tournament, your grill needs to feed a lot of people fast. An ideal surface area for production cooking
grills is 24" x 60". The following example indicates routine food quantities and cooking times produced
by a 10 square foot LP gas grill:
|Steak, 1" thick
|Burgers, 1/4 lb.
it's also important to know that cooking times can be affected by the following factors:
- Temperature - Some items cook better at lower temperatures.
- Cooking Level - Is the finished product rare, medium or well done?
- Preparation - Are there marinades and rubs involved? Is the food raw to start? In the interest of time, many
BBQers pre-cook ribs and chicken and simply finish them on the grill.
- Size - Extra size or thickness does play a part.
- Quality of Product - Is the meat lean, fatty or marbled?
You know your particular group of customers better than anyone. With a little
advanced planning and a capable grill, you can serve people quickly and efficiently and keep
that cash drawer ringing…
2. Check the Gauge of the Steel Used to Build the Firebox.
12 gauge steel is 41% thicker and much stronger
than 14 gauge steel. This makes your grill stronger and more durable. Don't be misled. When it comes
to steel, bigger is not always better. The smaller the gauge, the thicker and stronger the steel. Make no
mistake. Welded fireboxes are stronger and more durable than bolted fireboxes. The difference will become
evident over time. All fireboxes can warp due to extreme heat, however, this is less likely to occur with
welded fireboxes. In addition, multiple reinforcements on the underside will help to extend the life of
the grill. The more reinforcement the better. For example: a 60" unit should have a minimum of three 2"
wide steel reinforcements. Over time, a 12 gauge welded reinforced firebox will be less likely to warp from
consistent commercial use.
3. More Heat is Not Necessarily Better!!!
Most grills you'll look at will start up quickly and offer you plenty of heat. Unfortunately, the amount
of BTUs that a unit offers does not offer the complete story. For example, a grill with 150,000 BTUs can
reach temperatures of approximately 850 degrees, however, it is very unlikely that you will ever need to
cook at a temperature higher than 500 degrees. Instead, your primary concern should be evenly distributed
heat. A grill that distributes the heat evenly will prove to be a more effective means for cooking evenly
and consistently. Keep in mind that many factors affect heat output. These factors can include wind conditions,
grill maintenance, altitude, barometric pressure, and LP tank level.
Look for these 3 things:
- Individual burners with adjustable heat.
This will allow you to control different areas of the grill.
- Lava rock is a good conduit of heat.
The right amount arranged properly is the ideal formula. If
the lava rocks are distributed unevenly the heat doesn't reach the food and the grill doesn't
get as hot. Too few rocks can cause the heat to escape faster and cause uneven heating. An added benefit
is that lava rock creates smoke that adds flavor to the food.
- For top performance and fuel conservation, a hood is recommended.
Bottom line – Sensible, even, adjustable heat results in a better cooking experience. A grill
that gets too hot uses more gas, ruins your food, and runs a greater risk of causing dangerous burns.
4. A Mobile, Portable, and Versatile Grill Equals More Profits!
Production cooking is not always a stationary situation.
it's very possible that you may have to transport your grill to another location in order to take advantage
of a good business opportunity. Check with to make sure manufacturer you buy your grill from offers trailer-mounted
models or a trailer to which your grill can be easily and safely mounted, even after you've owned it for a while.
In addition, there may be multiple highly profitable opportunities that might require you to serve such unique
dishes as roasted pig, lamb, and even steamship rounds. Be sure your grill can be easily fitted with the type
of commercial rotisserie attachments these type of foods call for. The ideal grill should be versatile enough
to be trailer mounted with rotisserie attachments included.
Pig Roaster Rotisserie
Barbeque Pit Grill
Wood / Charcoal Grill
5. Is Your Grill Safe? Insist on a Certified Grill!
Certified grills are the exception – not the rule. Many are not manufactured under strict
guidelines and may not hold up after regular, rigorous, commercial use. You may perceive the inferior non-certified
grill as safe, but there are no assurances without the proper certification. Certification means the manufacturer
cares enough to take the time and money to secure those certifications and to build a grill with the quality
required to meet those higher standards – which is why most grill manufacturers don't do it. it's the familiar
"pay now or pay later" scenario. Failure to protect both the products and their customers will have a future cost
due to potential liabilities. The same holds true for you.
Don't assume that every grill is certified to gas equipment safety standards. Ask if the grill is
certified. Who certified the grill? Look for that agency's certification label on the grill unit. Reputable certifying
agencies such as UL, Intertek Testing, NSF, and CSA insist that their label be on the grill in plain sight – or the
certification is not valid. This certification may help you avoid an unfortunate accident, help you to obtain Fire
Marshal approval, and possibly meet certain local cooking codes.
The Bottom Line: You need to concern yourself
with feeding large crowds as quickly as possible, not worrying about safety and liability issues. Proper
certifications provide the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the gas grill you bought was
manufactured to the highest standards of safety.