Craig Cutler

You don’t need to spring for a grill with loads of extra bells and whistles, but you do want to make sure you’re getting one that won’t fizzle out in two years (because constantly replacing sub-par grills is definitely not the best use of your barbecue budget). Browne recommends buying just enough grill for what your family uses—possibly going for a bigger grill surface if you entertain a lot. And you’ll want enough space on your grill surface to multi-task (think chicken on one side and corn on the other).

You’ll also always want to be on the hunt for sturdy construction, because you don’t want the grill to tip over or crash. Both Brown and Raichlen are fans of the classic Weber kettle grill as a dependable, basic option that will get just about every grilling or smoking job done. But Raichlen suggests going to weekend demos at local grill and barbecue shops to get a feel for what exact type of grill will work best for you.