6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Summer Grilling Tips

(ABC 6 News) – You can easily spend thousands on a new grill but Consumer Reports’ Paul Hope says you don’t need to.

“You really don’t need to spend a lot of money on a fancy grill. It’s not going to make your food taste any better. For that you really just want to practice, practice, practice,” Hope said.

CR has a specially designed lab just to test grills. The good news: You can get a good grill for under $300. Want a grill that heats up fast and evenly cooks food? The EvenEmbers model is a great option if you tend to cook a lot of the same foods at the same time.

If you want to cook up a variety of foods at the same time, you want a grill that offers a decent temperature range. CR tests for that, too.

“Temperature range is important because a grill that can cook at a broad range of temps can cook way more food and it can do it easier. So you can sear a steak on one side of the grill and slow cook a piece of chicken without burning the skin on the other,” Hope said.

The RevoAce from Walmart delivers. It’s also sturdy and well made.

If you prefer charcoal grilling, the Weber Kettle Grill consistently earns very good scores for evenness.

Ready to take your grilling beyond the grates? CR also checked out several flat top grills.

“A flat top grill fills in the gaps left behind by a regular grill. So instead of having grates it’s got a smooth surface a lot like a griddle which makes it ideal for anything you’d order from a diner. Things like pancakes, bacon, eggs, grilled cheese are all great on a flat top,” Hope said.

The Loco earned top scores. It has special burners that cycle on and off to maintain the temperature across its very large cooking surface.

Paul still managed to cook for a crowd on this budget friendly flat top from Blackstone which starts at about $260.