WebstaurantStore / Food Service Resources / Buying Guides / Outdoor Grill Buying Guide

Outdoor Grill Buying Guide

Whether you’re preparing a tender, seasoned steak or a stack of juicy hamburger patties, having an outdoor grill at your bar, restaurant, or catering business is essential. We offer a variety of built-in or portable styles, as well as gas versus charcoal, providing you with virtually limitless opportunities to find a grill that best suits your needs. Give customers the home-style taste of seared pork chops or flavorful vegetable kabobs with one of our many outdoor grills!

What's a BTU?

Ever wonder why grill manufacturers emphasize how many BTUs their grills carry? Well, here's why:

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, which is a unit of measure that determines the amount of work needed to heat or cool 1 lb. of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. For a grill, the BTU measures the total heat output, per burner, in a given amount of time. However, the higher the BTU doesn't necessarily mean the better the grill. If the BTUs are too high, your grill may be over compensating for a design flaw, such as burning through fuel quickly or poor heat retention. If the BTUs are on the lower side, it might have slow preheat and recovery times.

For a standard grill, you'll want anywhere from 80-100 BTUs per square inch of your main cooking grate. As you begin exploring our various grill options, check out the specification sheets and manuals for more information on their BTUs.

Fuel Type

The next step in figuring out what kind of outdoor grill you’d like to purchase is determining what fuel connections you have, or will need to get. We offer both portable and built-in grills that are powered through propane or natural gas. Some of our portable grills can also be powered with charcoal or wood chips.

Gas grills offer quick start up times, typically reaching the optimal cooking temperature in just 10-15 minutes. They also evenly distribute heat across the grilling surface, and often have temperature control knobs so you can regulate heat more precisely. This allows you to create different heat zones for searing, cooking, or warming.

Charcoal grills take a longer time to heat up, but can reach temperatures of up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfect for steaks and large chunks of meat. Charcoal grills also provide that smoky, rich flavor that leaves your mouth watering. The chart below lets you compare both fuel types at a glance to determine which is right for you.

Production Rate

After you've determined the fuel connections, you’ll need to consider how frequently you plan to use the grill. Below are some general guidelines on how to determine what production level you’ll want for your establishment.

Number of Burners
BTU Range
Cooking Surface Width
Power Type
1 - 5 45,000 - 180,000 19" - 74"
  • charcoal
  • liquid propane
  • natural gas
  • Tailgating events
  • Company or church picnics
  • Small catered events
  • 2 - 8 49,000 - 180,000 54" - 76"
  • charcoal
  • liquid propane
  • natural gas
  • Small to mid-size catered events
  • Rentals
  • Concessions
  • 6 - 10 99,000 - 160,000 56" - 81"
  • charcoal
  • liquid propane
  • natural gas
  • BBQ competitions
  • Fairs
  • Large catered events
  • Rentals
  • Large tailgating events
  • Portable vs. Built-In

    If you plan to only use your grill in fair weather months, you may want to consider a portable grill that can be stored during the winter. If you have the ability to seat guests in an outdoor setting all year round, it might be beneficial to have a built-in grill with a simple, one-time installation.

    Backyard Pro C3H860DEL Deluxe 60 inch Stainless Steel Outdoor Grill with Roll Dome and Cover

    Having a portable grill is a great investment for businesses that only grill during certain seasons of the year. Portable grills are equipped with casters, which make them much easier to haul around. In fact, many of our grills have removable legs that make them easy to store. Some of them even come with slide action grates that can be adjusted to different heights for optimal control over cooking temperatures. If you are really looking for an easy-to-transport grill, you can check out our towable grills. These grills are attached to trailers that you can hook up to your vehicle and pull behind you, making them a great choice for caterers or tailgating events. Some manufacturers also make smoker units, which can be used for low and slow roasting to achieve tender, flavorful meats.

    Bakers Pride CBBQ-60S-BI Liquid Propane 60 inch Ultimate Built-In Gas Outdoor Charbroiler with Grill Cover
    If you are looking for a more permanent solution to your grilling needs, you may want to invest in a built-in grill on your deck or patio, especially if you plan to use the area all year long. Built-in grills often boast higher power capabilities, making grilling for many customers at once an easy feat. Our grill selection comes in a variety of durable constructions, like stainless steel, that allow them to withstand any element in virtually any environment. Plus, with natural gas and liquid propane options, restauranteurs can customize their units to best fit their needs. If you’re really looking for an upgrade, consider purchasing a rotisserie attachment or smoker box to expand your menu offerings.

    Backyard Pro Outdoor Gas Grills


    Now that you’ve chosen a grill for your establishment, it’s time to consider the special features and accessories that you can add to your unit. We offer grills with side burners, dome lids, and even marinade injectors to infuse awesome flavor into your meat. Check out the chart below for some of our must-have accessories.
    Thermometers are important for determining whether or not your meat has reached a safe temperature for consumption. Many grill thermometers mount right inside your grill so that you can monitor temperatures at a quick glance.
    Side shelves allow you to keep your spices, utensils, and other ingredients close by as you grill. It also offers extra space for plating, ensuring ultimate fresh-off-the-grill presentation.
    Grill covers help protect your grill from snow, sleet, hail, rain, and other inclement weather conditions.
    Dome lids also protect your grill when not in use, but when it is, the dome design offers more even cooking while still creating the beautiful sear marks that customers love.
    Splash guards are designed to help protect your surroundings from sizzling hot splatters. The 3 wall design allows the chef to still have complete visibility of the products, but furniture and other guests will be safeguarded from the splashes.
    Adding a side burner to your grill is perfect for sauteing or keeping sauces hot. You can even move items that are finished cooking over to the side to keep warm.
    Cut up tender steak, chicken, and vegetables and slide them onto the skewer for a summertime favorite. After all, who doesn’t love kabobs?
    Why inject marinades into your meats? They let the meat absorb moisture in order to become tender and juicy. The marinade works fast to infuse the flavor deep inside the meat, and the meat may be cooked immediately after injecting – which makes them the perfect grilling accessory.
    Basting brushes spread liquid marinades over top of meat, and most feature very long handles to protect the operator from hot grills.

    Grill Cleaners and Scrapers

    Noble Chemical 1 Gallon Knockout Liquid Heavy Duty Oven & Grill Degreaser & Carbon Remover - 4/Case
    Now that you’ve chosen a grill, determined your fuel type, and chosen some accessories, the last step is to find a suitable cleaner! Check out our premium grill cleaning chemicals to keep your grill functioning properly.

    We offer liquid cleaners and aerosol cleaners to remove baked-on fat, grease, and carbon from your grill. For further cleaning options, check out our grill equipment cleaning brushes and scrapers.

    Subscribe now for great deals and industry tips! Sign up for our mailing list to have weekly discounts and industry knowledge sent right to your inbox.

    Food Service Resources

    Tips, guides, & advice

    Explore Resources
    • Visa
    • Discover
    • American Express
    • MasterCard
    • Paypal