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Barbecue Grills – The Basics
Barbecue grills have become a staple for summertime cooking in many households. And just like all other appliances, there is a large selection and everyone has a preference. The most common types of barbecue grills on the market today are wood, gas, charcoal and pellet. So, does it really matter what type of barbecue grill you get? Well, that depends… Factors like flavor, cook time and cost are a few important variables to consider when purchasing a barbecue grill. The following will outline a few of the pros and cons associated with different types of barbecue grills.
Barbecue Grills – Is There Really a Difference?
Variety is certainly not in short supply when considering barbecue grills. Aside from the main four heat sources, there are brand and size considerations as well as cost effectiveness. So, which grill is king? When it comes to:
- Flavor – Nothing beats wood barbecue grills. Although charcoal, gas and pellet grills do offer some options for achieving that wonderful smoked or sweet flavor, wood grills will offer a more robust flavor. The downside of a wood grill can be the intensity of flavor. If a more delicate flavor is desired, then gas or pellet grills would be better.
- Speed – Gas and pellet grills take the cake when it comes to speed. Ready in a little over 10 minutes, these grills work nearly as quickly as a microwave without compromising flavor. Charcoal can take up to 20 minutes, while wood can be in excess of 30 minutes.
- Heat – If you’re looking to sear steaks, then wood and charcoal are definitely going to give you the heat. Unfortunately, the wood grills do not have the longevity of some of the other options listed. Embers tend to lose their heat more quickly, ruling out long cook times unless a large pile of embers is available. Building that bed of embers significantly increase the amount of time it will take for the grill to be ready to cook on. Gas grills are great if you would like more temperature control, but they often do not provide the high levels of heat that wood or charcoal can. If you are looking for slow cooking for larger quantities or larger cuts, then pellet barbecue grills are definitely a strong contender.
- Ease of Use – While it doesn’t take a rocket-scientists to use a barbecue grill, some skill is necessary for achieving the desired flavor. Gas grills are by far the easiest to operate. With the turn of a dial and a push of a button, the grill is started and within a few minutes you will be ready to start cooking. Pellet stoves are easier in that they do not need to be watched as closely since temperatures are not as high and cooking times are longer. Charcoal and wood barbecue grills require a more watchful eye and are more labor intensive when cooking.
- Versatility – Gas grills offer the most versatility in that they are more readily useable during cold weather months and are often portable in nature. Pellet barbecue grills do offer some flexibility during the cold weather months as well; however, their dependence on electricity does limit portability. Whereas charcoal and wood grills are limited to the dedication of the cook. Maintaining good heat and location often poses the greatest challenge when using these grills, especially in colder weather climates.
- Cost Effectiveness – Cost effectiveness is relative, as each type of grill has some expense associated with it. Initial costs can vary greatly depending on the variety of barbecue grills being considered. Wood barbecue grills can be least expensive to operate depending on your access to wood. Gas grills can be costly because of the maintenance costs associated with valves, tubes and other complex parts. The cost of pellets and charcoal, as well as replacement grills can add to the overall investment in these types of grills. The greatest advice in terms of cost is don’t scrimp on the initial investment. The decision to do so can be quite costly in the long run.
Barbecue Grills – A Final Note
The variety of barbecue grills available today leaves the outdoor chef a lot to consider. From the initial investment to the overall cooking experience, barbecue grills have left nothing to chance. Before making the leap, do your research and consult a professional to help you make an informed decision. Buckeye Stoves is proud to offer a large selection of wood, charcoal, gas and pellet barbecue grills, supplies and accessories to make your outdoor cooking adventure a reality. The professionals at Buckeye Stoves are available to answer questions and provide in-depth information about a variety of barbecue grills. Contact us today for more information.
Regular Chimney Cleaning – An Ounce of Prevention
Burning wood creates smoke which contains several problematic elements, like soot, ash, creosote, and toxic gases. Your chimney and flue are designed to carry smoke out of your home. In order to do this efficiently, the exit path must be blockage free. Fires caused by the build-up of residue in the chimney result in tragic loss of life and substantial property damage annually. Chimney blockage also causes carbon monoxide laden smoke to back up into the home creating potential health hazards.
A routine program of regular chimney cleaning and chimney inspection reduces the risk of chimney fires and ensures safe, efficient operation of your wood-burning stove or fireplace.
Regular Chimney Cleaning vs Soot and Creosote
Regular chimney cleaning attacks the build-up of the two most dangerous wood combustion by-products, soot and creosote.
Soot is a powdery residue that settles like dust on the surfaces of wood burning systems. Initially, soot is easily wiped away. If left in place, however, layers of soot will accumulate in chimneys, stovepipes, and fireplaces, reducing air flow through by up to 30%. This reduces vent efficiency and causes smoke and carbon monoxide to back-up into the home.
Creosote is a gooey residue that condenses from airborne debris carried by smoke. As this debris cools, it sticks to the surfaces of the chimney or flue in layers of flammable deposits. Creosote is so highly flammable that even a small amount of build-up creates the potential for a chimney fire. If allowed to build-up, creosote also significantly blocks air flow, causing poor burn efficiency and the back-up of toxic smoke.
Regular Chimney Cleaning – DIY or Call a Pro
A clean chimney is a safe chimney, but knowing the benefits of regular chimney cleaning is not enough. Starting a regular chimney maintenance program is essential. If you are thinking of going it alone, assess your ability objectively.
• Chimney cleaning is not just running some brushes down the chimney or flue. It is strenuous, sometimes dangerous, work. A thorough chimney cleaning includes removing soot, blockages, and built-up creosote from the chimney liner, firebox, smoke chamber, and damper. This means accessing the entire length of the wood burning system from the roof to the fire box.
• Chimney cleaning requires specific tools, protective gear, and, most importantly, the know-how to do the job properly.
• Chimney cleaning is a dirty job. Anyone who remembers the chimney sweep scene from the Disney movie Mary Poppins knows just how dirty it can be. Most importantly, that “dirt” contains substances that can cause certain types of cancer if the individual performing the job uniformed or inadequately protected.
Is it any wonder, then, that most people prefer to leave chimney cleaning to the experts. A professional chimney sweep has both the tools and the expertise to complete the job in a timely manner with a minimum of disruption to the homeowner. In addition to chimney cleaning, a professional chimney sweep is also qualified to inspect the chimney and advise on any problems that may exist.
Buckeye Stoves advises annual chimney cleaning and inspection to stay ahead of problems. The best time to have your chimney cleaned is at the end of seasonal usage. Making the appointment for your chimney cleaning during spring or summer avoids the pre-winter rush. In addition, Buckeye Stoves offer specials for early scheduling.
If you are interested in more information about chimney cleaning and chimney inspection or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us. We may not dance across rooftops, but we are here to help keep you informed and your wood burning system functioning safely.