Barbeque GrillsBarbeque Grills

Barbeque Grills are cooking devices designed to cook food by heating it from below. Barbecue Grills have undergone a great deal of evolution and improvement over the past five hundred years but most use either gas or charcoal as a fuel. Of course, there is a great debate as to which method provides a superior cooking experience.

Barbecuing and Barbeque Grills are found in every part of the world and are used most frequently to cook pork, beef, chicken, fish and sometimes vegetables. There are a great range of grill designs and they include steel grills, brick and mortar, and even 55 gallon oil drums cut lengthwise.

The history of grilling and Barbeque Grills in the United States can be traced back to pre-colonial times. The Arawak Indians used a grilling structure made of wood that roasted meat in a pit. The Spanish observed their grilling technique and called it "barbacoa" which is the accepted origin of the word barbecue / barbeque.

For many years Barbecue Grills were simple, functional and only used wood as a fuel source. However, in the early 1900's the modern charcoal briquette was developed by E. G. Kingsford. The charcoal briquette created a more manageable fuel that provided a relatively clean burning and constant heat source. In the 1960s, William G. Wepfer and Melton Lancaster designed and invented the outdoor gas grill that used natural gas as a fuel. Natural gas was noted for its very clean burn and the user's ability to easily adjust the burn rate or temperature by turning a knob or valve.

Today most gas fueled Barbeque Grills use natural gas (NG) or propane (LP) as a fuel. These types of grills can be designed to cook the food with direct heat underneath or the food can be cooked indirectly with the grilling elements circulating the heat needed for cooking. Most gas Barbecue Grills are designed with a frame that holds the fuel tank near ground level and the grill box is located above the tank. Usually the frame has wheels attached so that it can be more easily moved to different locations. A relatively recent development for gas grills is the addition of an infrared radiant burner. This radiant burner is designed to be used with a horizontal rotisserie because it provides a more even heat across the grill. Usually the center of the food item is pierced by a skewer and then the skewer is rotated by an electric motor.

A more recent addition to the line of Barbecue Grills is the infrared grill. These grills burn propane or natural gas to heat ceramic tiles to a very high temperature. These ceramic tiles then emit an infrared radiation that will cook food directly. This differs from the majority of grills that use convection (hot air) to cook the food. Many users of infrared grills claim that the grill heat is more uniformly distributed and that the high temperatures allow for quick searing of meats. Other advantages of infrared grills are that the cooked meats seem juicier, the ignition is instant, the temperature is easy to control, and a more uniform heat source is generated.

Charcoal Barbeque Grills are still the most numerous grills in existence primarily because of their ease of use and easy access to wood or charcoal. In addition, many users simply prefer to grill with wood or charcoal to obtain the "smoke flavor." Charcoal briquettes are very popular because they offer a dependable and uniform heat source. In addition, users can choose charcoal made from various types of wood to impart a specific smoky aroma into their cooked food. Some of the more popular types of charcoal are made from hickory, oak, maple, apple, alder, or mesquite wood.
by Patricia Holland
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