The magnet test, and other ways to find the right grill in Mexico, Part 2

A stainless steel grill won't be as shiny as cheaper alternatives, and that's the way you should want it. Photo: Courtesy
A stainless steel grill won’t be as shiny as cheaper alternatives, and that’s the way you should want it. Photo: Courtesy

It’s essential, and not so difficult, to find a barbecue grill that lasts and fits the needs of your home in Mexico. Here are some more tips to get you the best value for your pesos. (See Part 1 of this story here.)

When selecting the size of a barbecue, allow enough space for searing, slower cooking, finishing and toasting. For reference, an average size grill is between 400 and 600 square inches and will enable a meal for about eight people.

It is also critical to measure the space where it is going to be situated. Today’s plethora of options include side tables and warming trays which may not fit in your space after assembly. Before you buy any appliance or piece of furniture, always measure the space. 

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When it comes to construction, look for a barbecue made from stainless steel. These types of gas barbecues last the longest. Avoid anything made from aluminum or sheet metal. Those types tend to rust and will likely break down in just one season in Yucatan.

How to know for sure what material was used to make the barbecue? Don’t necessarily trust the advertising on the box. If it shines, it probably isn’t stainless. Use a magnet to test. If the magnet sticks, the stainless steel is perhaps just a coating. Stainless steel is the most durable and low-maintenance material for outdoor grills.

Also, check what material was used to make the grates. Cast iron grates capture, retain and distribute heat better than other materials. Porcelain coating, although great for keeping food from sticking, can chip easily and rust. If you go for cast iron grates, remember that they need regular oiling. 

Once assembled, your barbecue needs to be sturdy. A great way to confirm you are buying a good quality grill is to give the demo model a “shake” test. If it wobbles or rattles, it’s probably not the one.

Regular maintenance is vital to ensure your barbecue lasts for a long time. Cover the grill when not using it and always clean the grates before and after each use. Remove any black build-up because that is what is carcinogenic. It also corrodes the grill. As a rule of thumb, remove and thoroughly clean the grates at the beginning and end of every season.

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As always, check out the warranty. Warranties can be for different periods, depending on the part. Some models have up to 10- or 20-year warranties, which will speak to the quality and value of your barbecue investment.

Looking for a long-lasting barbecue for your home in Mexico? Contact furniture expert/expat Sheryl Novak, of SOLutions Mexico, at furniture@solutionsmexico.com.

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