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Gas grills tested by Consumer Reports to find the best

May 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Memorial Day is the traditional kick off of the summer season along with barbecue season. But if your grill has seen better days, here are some tips to help you find a barbecue that sizzles without burning a hole in your wallet.

A passion for grilling is what fueled John Cavallo's very own catering business.

"I just love it. Words can't explain why I love grilling so much," said Cavallo.

Whether you're grilling for work or your family, having a good grill is critical.

Lucky for grill enthusiasts, Consumer Reports spent the last few months testing gas grills to find the best.

Steaks are seared to see how well the grills perform at high temperatures and to check for flare-ups. Tests show grills with grates closer to the heat source are more likely to flare up. Salmon is cooked to see how well a grill can handle low temperatures, and so is chicken.

"We also look at a grill's ability to cook indirectly. And that's because more people are slow grilling foods like whole roasts and whole chickens," said Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman.

Consumer Reports evaluated features, too.

"More manufactures are touting infrared burners, but in our tests we haven't found that they really perform any better than standard burners, and some of them can get too hot and you could end up burning your food," said Lehrman.

Cast-iron grates or stainless steel sear well and keep temperatures more consistent. A side burner is a nice convenience, too. And a gauge that shows how much propane is left in the tank is another handy feature.

In the end, Consumer Reports recommends several gas grills.

Among them is a medium-sized Aussie Vantage Series 67C3. While it doesn't have a fuel-tank gauge, it's got a side burner and stainless-steel grates. And at $250, it's a Consumer Reports Best Buy.