Food

These are the best grills for backyard barbecues and fall tailgates

Although summer may be coming to an end, there’s no time limit to enjoying backyard barbecues. Let's be real: Flame-broiled burgers, juicy grilled chicken and smoked ribs taste amazing all year round. But if you’re dealing with rusty grates and uneven heat on your old-school grill, it may be time to update your cookout equipment.

With all the options and add-ons available today, shopping for a new grill can be overwhelming. First, you’ll want to consider whether you want a gas or charcoal version, and there are pros and cons to both. For starters, a stainless steel gas grill is versatile, cooks food quickly over a hot fire and is easy to clean — but they can be pricey. Charcoal grills give your food a smokier flavor and generally cost less, but take a little more patience to prep and clean.

The good news is you can’t go wrong with the excellent options we’ve rounded up below. Pick the grill that’s right for your cooking needs and budget, and you’ll be all set to keep the fire going all year long.

Under $100

Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill, $99, Amazon

Amazon

If you’re after that slow-cooked, smoky flavor with minimal mess, the pros at Weber have created the ultimate charcoal grill for you. This porcelain-enameled kettle allows heat to circulate for even cooking, while a damper system controls the cooking temp without lifting the lid. Plus, a one-touch cleaning system makes it easy to remove and dispose of built-up ashes. (Looking for something smaller? This Weber also comes in a portable version that's on sale right now for only $30.)

Smoke Hollow Stainless Steel Tabletop Gas Grill, $75 (Originally $130), Amazon

Gas grilling has the benefit of being extremely convenient. This Smoke Hollow grill has more than 613 positive customer reviews on Amazon and is a No. 1 best seller on the site. Perfect for tailgating, picnics, camping and boating, this grill is portable and its compact design can easily fold up for grillers on the go.

George Foreman 15-Serving Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill, $79, Amazon

This large-format George Foreman grill has 240 square inches of grilling space and is perfect for serving large groups. Its nonstick coating is durable and easy to clean, and even removes the need for butter or oil. The best part about this grill may just be that it's apartment approved — no charcoal, propane or flare-ups here!

$101 - $250

Blackstone Grills Tailgater - Portable Gas Grill and Griddle Combo, starting at $166, Amazon

With two open burners, a griddle top, a barbecue box and a camping stove, this grill by Blackstone is a tailgate workhorse. It's portable and comes with adjustable legs that fold up for easy transporting. You can use both the griddle and grill top at the same time or remove both to use the open burners.

Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill, $199 (Originally $219), Amazon

This grill is a bit smaller than the others mentioned, with only 189 inches of cooking area, but it's a consumer favorite (with five stars on Amazon). It comes in 16 colors and has an easy-start electronic ignition. And for $70, you can buy a stand with wheels. If you want something a little larger, the 280-inch version is $249 right now on Amazon.

$251 - $500

Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker, $292, Amazon

Amazon

Smoke your meat low and slow or sear it high and fast with this versatile charcoal grill. Made to last with triple-walled steel, this fuel-efficient cooker maintains even heat at temperatures ranging from 200 to 700 degrees, making it a must-have for everything from roast beef to ribs.

Char-Broil Signature TRU Infrared 420 3-Burner Cabinet Gas Grill, $320, Amazon

Amazon

Rated as one of the best midsized option by Consumer Reports, this three-burner gas grill features an infrared cooking system that heats up fast and distributes heat evenly for perfectly cooked, flavorful feasts every time. Durable cast-iron grates and stainless steel burners ensure you’ll enjoy backyard barbecues for years to come.

Over $500

Char-Griller 5050 Duo Gas-and-Charcoal Grill, $540, Amazon

Amazon

Can’t choose between gas or charcoal? This all-in-one cooker makes your decision easier, featuring both kinds of cooking surfaces — one gas and one charcoal — for a whopping 1,260 square inches of cooking space, plus warming racks and built-in temperature gauges for superior control.

Weber Genesis II LX S-240 Liquid Propane Grill, $999, Amazon

Amazon

No backyard? No problem. Rated as the best gas grill for small spaces on BBQGuys.com, this two-burner model is perfect for cooking out on a small patio or balcony. It features all the top-of-the-line extras Weber is known for— such as Flavorizer bars, easy-on ignition and high-performance burners — as well as space-saving shelves and wheels for added portability.

Napoleon LEX485 Gas Grill with Rear and Side Infrared Burners, $1,099, Amazon

Amazon

Named the best entry-level gas grill by BBQ Guys, this stainless steel grill provides all the bells and whistles that grill masters want, like an infrared side burner, rear rotisserie burner, side shelves and plenty of storage space. The ample grilling surface lets you cook for a crowd (up to 24 hamburgers!), while producing and retaining even heat to ensure even cooking.

Lion 32-Inch Stainless Steel Propane Gas Grill, $1,994, Amazon

Amazon

Earning the title of best overall value by the BBQ Guys, this commercial-grade stainless steel grill will stay tough in even the harshest outdoor elements. With four burners and an infrared rotisserie back burner, this grill-and-cart combo makes it easy to serve up a multicourse meal that includes everything from ribs to rotisserie chicken.

TEC G-Sport FR Propane Gas Grill On Stainless Steel Pedestal, $2,609, Amazon

Amazon

For home cooks who want to step up their grilling game, check out this innovative infrared propane gas grill. The burners get superhot almost instantly, and they’re covered with glass panels to block rising hot air, radiate heat and vaporize any drippings, which adds flavor and moisture to whatever you’re cooking.

Looking for something to cook on your new grill? Check out one of TODAY Food's favorite healthy cookbooks, or pop over to the recipe pages for some inspiration.

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