We all like to think that we are great cooks. Some have paid their dues in the kitchen, while others like to wax lyrical about recipes they’ve seen on food television. In any case, grilling is an art in of itself and can be a lot of fun. Once you have mastered the basics, you might want to start trying out new things, such as smoking. Mixing hot-cooked meats with roasted vegetables and then letting them smoke for a while can be hugely rewarding. A grill that also lets you smoke your meat will give some great results, if you take the time to learn about how it can best be done.
Combination Grill Basics
A combination is one of the best kinds of grill you can own because it will allow you to diversify your outdoor cooking repertoire considerably. If you have a lot of time, meat (and any of your favorite vegetables) can be cooked slowly. You can also turn up the heat, literally, to give a nice caramelization to a good quality steak. At the moment, propane is the fuel of choice for most of the grill/smokers combos on the market. Propane, when used in conjunction with a little charcoal (or wood), can give a wood-fired taste and texture to any meat.
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Which combination grill model is best for you?
The Smoke Hollow 4-in-1 is a gas-fueled charcoal smoker that delivers meat flavors usually found on a more traditional fire. This type of grill is not just well-built—its straightforward design and ease-of-use will impress novice cooks and BBQ experts alike. Just grab some beers, put on some music or a game, and get grilling! This grill/smoker is ideal for finishing a precooked sausage with a delicious, caramelized crust. I like to do a slow cooked sausage in a half-beer, half-water stock but, as long as the grill is hot, you can do whatever you want!
The Medina River Outdoors 65 Patio is another smoker/grill that is well worth a mention. This is a compact little grill, but it packs quite a punch! Its big brother, the Medina Rivers 65, is a quality smoker too—but bigger is not necessarily better. For most modern homes, the 65 Patio will more than suffice.
The Char-Griller Trio is a very versatile component of any outdoor cooking kit. Whether you’re cooking burgers or going for something a little more fancy, this grill is very forgiving to the amateur chef. The easy-to-use knobs (designed in a trendy, minimalistic style) allow the operator to easily control and adjust the temperature. The overall feel of the Char-Griller Trio is one of a very polished and well-made product.
Landmann is a big name in the grilling world, and the 590135 Black Dog 42XT BBQ Charcoal Grill and Smoker certainly lives up to its reputation. This is a hefty piece of equipment, but there is a reassuring weight to it that gives the impression of quality and durability.
The Dyna-Glo DGB730SNB-D Dual Fuel Grill features an adjustable tray that allows for simple temperature control. It starts up super fast, using an electronic pulse system similar to that of most home gas ovens. This product’s porcelain and enamel shell and impressive commercial-grade, stainless-steel grates will give you an idea of how these products are manufactured, and the high standards Dyna-Glo adheres to during the manufacturing and delivery process.
Another heavyweight, the Char-Broil Charcoal Gas 1010 46371542 Grill Combo, comes in at nearly 150 pounds. Its three burners allow for a variety of temperatures across the grate. The best charcoal and LP grill/smoker combo features a cast iron structure that guarantees you’ll get many years of use out of it. The burners are made from stainless steel and, at 12,000 BTUs, they have the muscle required to give any type of meat a fast, hot cook. Of course, the heat can be turned down for a long, slow smoke that will provide a more complex flavor profile.
You don’t need a designated smoke house or a hugely expensive home oven. A smoker/grill combo can be acquired for less than $400 and will provide many hours of pleasure in your back garden—and serve as an interesting topic of conversation over a couple homebrew beers or a nice glass of freshly-opened vino tinto.
Whether you’re grilling or smoking your favorite meat, having a thermometer takes the guess work out of getting it perfect. Check out my recommendations for the best dual probe wireless thermometers.