Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer — and, of course, grilling season — is quickly approaching, so it's time to get your outdoor kitchen in order. A mid-level grill may do the job, but a luxury model also offers bragging rights, a conversation starter, and typically a lifetime warranty to ensure those benefits last for years to come.
Investing in a high-end grill will give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your restaurant-quality steaks will be the envy of the neighborhood.
What to look for:
Standard features of high-end grills include high-quality materials like marine-grade stainless steel, superior craftsmanship, lifetime warranties for burners and most other components, and handy features such as backlit knobs and interior lighting.
Stephen Cordell, a sales representative at Fine's Gas in Fort Oglethorpe, says grills made by both of the store's best-selling high-end brands — Fire Magic and Blaze — are made with marine-grade stainless steel. While corrosion from salty sea air isn't an issue in the Chattanooga area, grills made from marine-grade stainless steel are virtually weatherproof year-round, he says. Fire Magic and Blaze also have lifetime warranties on most parts, and their performance rivals that of restaurant equipment.
"These grills are basically rated up to roughly around 1,000 degrees (Fahrenheit), so you can cook like they do in restaurants," Cordell says. "You can leave the lid open and never have to close it, and can replicate restaurant-quality steaks."
Fire Magic is also a best-selling brand at Southern Hearth and Patio in Chattanooga, along with the Twin Eagles brand, says sales representative Sheldon Hall. He credits the brands' popularity to their lifetime warranties and superior construction. "They're just well-built, and they're made in the USA as well," he says.
What to buy:
Need a little inspiration? Here are a few options to consider if you're looking to up your grilling game.
Fire Magic Echelon Diamond
Fire Magic's top-of-the-line model is the Echelon Diamond, with features such as a charcoal smoker basket and a see-through "Magic Window" option that lets you check your food without opening the lid and letting heat escape, a unique feature that seems like it should be standard on all grills. Can you imagine an oven, microwave or toaster oven without a window?
Twin Eagles Eagle One Super Premium Grill
Great for cooking multiple items, this Twin Eagles grill features zone dividers to regulate different temperatures. Each burner has its own temperature sensor, and an LED above the control knob changes color as the burner reaches warm, hot and searing temperatures. Chef-grade hexagonal grates provide maximum food-to-surface contact and superior heat retention.The concealed heavy-duty rotisserie system has a turning capacity of up to 100 pounds, and its black glass infrared burner can reach higher temperatures and disperse heat across a wider range.
Hestan Outdoor Deluxe Grill with Double Side Burner
Starting at $10,999 for 36-inch and $11,299 for 42-inch
If you're dropping $10,000 or more, chances are pretty good that you want a grill that really stands out. Hestan models come in 12 colors (including Tennessee orange for all of you Vols fans), along with motion-sensored halogen "stadium lighting" for late-night grill sessions. Other features include a built-in rotisserie, an infrared top burner for searing and finishing, precision-control burners with 25,000 BTUs of power, flip-to-clean ceramic briquettes, and a spring-assisted hood that stays open at whatever height you choose.