Consumer Reports: Best grills for your summer BBQ

Nothing says summer like food sizzling on a grill. But with so many grills on the market, how do you choose the right one?

To help you find a good grill, Consumer Reports has tested 150 of them including all the big brands and has recommendations.

If barbecuing fuels your passion, a good grill can really turn up the heat.

Their first test checks if grills are prone to flare-ups. A little flare-up is normal.

"We also looked at a grill's ability to handle searing versus slow cooking, and also at how evenly the heat is distributed," said Consumer Reports' Home Editor, Daniel DiClerico.

Consumer Reports used sensors to measure the temperature on all parts of the cooking surface.

Low-performing grills show hot and cold spots.

On a good grill, the heat is distributed well. That means steaks will cook evenly on different parts of the grill.

"Grills come in all sizes. Medium ones are the most popular. And we found three great choices," said DiClerico.

The Nexgrill for $270 dollars at Home Depot scored highest.

"It's got great temperature range. You can cook food quickly with direct heat or slowly using indirect heat for larger cuts of meat," said DiClerico.

It's outfitted with stainless-steel grates, which require less maintenance than cast-iron ones.

Another Consumer Reports Best Buy is the Backyard for $150 dollars and the Char-Broil for $170 dollars, both sold at Walmart.

All three are conveniently equipped with side burners for sautéing or boiling.

Consumer Reports did find two grill brands to avoid - Kenmore from Sears and Member's Mark sold at Sam's Club.

Consumer Reports' survey of its subscribers found they are more repair-prone than many of the other brands, and it does not recommend them.

After all, whatever grill you get, you want it to keep working for years to come.

No matter what grill you use - make sure to cook your meat properly.

Consumer Reports says be especially careful with steak that's been mechanically tenderized.

That can drive bacteria deep into the meat. If the label says steak has been tenderized, be sure to cook it to 160 degrees.
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