You want to get him the grill or smoker that he wants, but you still want it to be a surprise. Certainly, he has dropped hints and you’ve caught him eyeing up a few models at the local hardware store. But how do you get him the grill he wants without coming straight out and asking? I’ve used and reviewed grills and smokers for more than two decades, so let me walk you through it.
The days of charcoal vs gas are over. Now days there are electric grills actually worth owning, grills that burn little wood pellets, gas powered smokers, kamado grills, smoker ovens, hybrid grills and list upon list of accessories that turn inexpensive grills into deluxe pizza ovens, remotely monitor meat temperatures or simply make grilling and smoking easier and more fun.
And before we go any further, let’s talk money. You can spend almost $30,000 on a gas grill. I can help you find a custom smoker for $50,000 if you want. On the other hand, you can buy a charcoal grill for $30 or a gas grill for $150. I know that price is important, but some inexpensive products have more value than others.
BBQ Gifts under $50
Weber Smokey Joe Charcoal Grill
Small, lightweight, portable and about $35USD, the Weber Smokey Joe is a classic. For the first time griller or the griller on the go, this makes a great gift. It even comes in a relatively small box. Throw in a bag of charcoal and some lighter cubes and you have a great gift for under $50. He will be able to put the grill together in a couple of minutes and can be grilling in 20. Also consider throwing in a pair of steaks, some burger patties, or his favorite protein and not only will he be happy, but he will do the cooking too.
ThermoPro TP01A Instant Read Meat Thermometer
Let's be honest here. Sometimes the meat coming off the grill isn't cooked enough or gets over done. Guessing the internal temperature of meats isn't an art, it's a roulette game of danger. Get him an instant read meat thermometer so he can get it perfect every time. The ThermoPro Thermometer is fast and easy to use and best of all it isn't expensive. At around $10, this makes a great gift and he probably won't even get the hint.
Home-Complete BBQ Grill Tool Set
Don't let those BBQ tools just hang out on the side of the grill all summer. With this toolkit, he can keep everything he needs in one place. Plus, at under $30, this gift makes a great add on for any of the grills on this list.
BBQ Gifts under $100
ThermoWork Smoke 2-Channel Alarm Thermometer
He has the grill or smoker and likes cooking foods that take time. Keep him from lifting the lid anymore than necessary with the ThermoWorks Smoke. This 2-Channel temperature monitoring device checks the meat and cooker temperature and transmits that information to the handheld unit that he can carry around with him. Whether he is roasting a chicken of smoking a brisket, the ThermoWorks Smoke will let him watch the game and the food at the same time.
Lodge Sportsman Cast Iron Grill
Get him a gift that will last a lifetime. The Lodge Sportsman Cast Iron Grill is heavy and solidly built. With a little care it, will last for decades. This little charcoal grill is perfect for small spaces or camping. While it can only grill a small amount of food at a time, it cooks better than many of the expensive gas grills on the market.
Little Griddle Stainless Steel
Add a whole new level of versatility to his grill, whether it is gas or charcoal. The stainless steel Little Griddle converts almost any full-sized grill into a cooktop that can make everything from crepes to fried rice. Built to last, this is a simple but amazing way to take grilling to a whole new level.
BBQ Gifts under $200
Cuisinart CGG-306 Chef's Style Stainless Tabletop Grill
This portable gas grill has the features of a full sized gas grill but in a little package. It even comes with a cover. This grill is perfect for the patio or to take on the road. Get him a Four Pack of Propane Bottles and he will be ready to cook in about 15 minutes. The Cuisinart Chef's Style Tabletop Grill sells for around $185. This little grill has the power of a full-sized grill and good construction quality.
It might not look like much, but this little gas grill is the best built for its price. At around $130 you can get this grill, add in a full propane tank plus a couple of steaks all for under $200. The Huntington 2-burner gas grill is a great starter grill. It is perfect for small families, and with a little care, it will continue grilling for years.
Weber Kettle Original
This is it. The classic charcoal grill. There is a reason that the Weber Kettle Original has been the best selling, most popular charcoal grill on the market for more than 50 years. It is simple and easy to use but offers so much versatility. With this humble looking little black ball, he will be able to grill burgers and steak and smoke up some delicious ribs and whole chickens. With added accessories, there is practically nothing this grill can't do. Throw in a couple of bags of charcoal and plenty of meat and you will still be under a $200 budget.
Weber Kettle Original
Maybe he already has the ever popular Weber Kettle, with the KettlePizza Deluxe he can turn this charcoal grill into an award-winning pizza oven. This 22-Inch kettle accessory comes with everything he needs to make the perfect pizza. It is also great for real fire baking. With the KettlePizza, his backyard grill will be cooking at temperatures up to 700 degrees F, turning out the perfect pizza in under ten minutes.
BBQ Gifts under $500
Cuisinart 360 Gas Griddle Cooking Center
Grilling burgers and chops are fine, but what if he wants to do something different? The Cuisinart 360 Cooking Center has a solid cast iron cooking surface that will let him cook pancakes for breakfast, Philly Cheesesteaks for lunch and make a full Teppanyaki style dinner. This is an amazingly versatile cooker that can do almost anything. The cooking surface must be seasoned before use, so plan to give it to him a day early. Oh, and make sure you have breakfast fixings for the next day.
Weber Spirit II E-210
It might be the smallest Weber Gas Grill, but it is still a Weber. This little grill is perfect if he doesn't have a lot of space to work with. Even the side tables fold down, so when it isn't in use, it can be tucked away in a corner. With Weber's brilliant burner system, this gas grill conserves on gas and yet still delivers the power. If he wants a gas grill that looks great, then this the one to buy. It even comes in colors.
Carson Rodizio Kit
With the Carson Rodizio Kit, he can turn almost any grill, gas or charcoal, into a full Brazilian steakhouse. With six skewers, this unit allows for a full meal, including dessert, to be cooked all at once. Yes, this accessory costs nearly $500, but it is more than just a piece of cooking equipment, it is a conversation starter that almost singlehandedly turns a cookout into a party.
Pit Barrel Cooker
Let him get serious about his barbecue with the Pit Barrel Cooker. This easy to use yet versatile cooker is perfect for grilling and smoking. While it might look like a nothing more than a steel drum (which it is), this cooker burns charcoal in the bottom and meats are hung down inside. This little unit can produce a lot of barbecue and do it very efficiently. There are no vents to adjust, it simply works as it is and it works perfectly.
BBQ Gifts under $1,000
PK360 Grill and Smoker
Not only will this charcoal grill last virtually forever, but it can grill at extreme temperatures. If he is serious about a fantastic steak, then this is the grill to get him. Grills like this are used to win almost all of the steak grilling competitions (yes, they exist). But more than that, this grill can easily be set up for smoking and roasting. In fact, there isn't much this grill can't do.
Traeger Pro 575
If he is into barbecue, then he knows all about pellet grills. The Traeger Pro 575 is a great grill for him to start his journey into pellet cooking. Capable of grilling and smoking, this little grill is perfect for most families. At around $800, this is one of the least expensive pellet grills on the market. You can pick him up a few bags of pellets and a whole lot of meat. Within an hour of opening the box, he can be grilling or smoking.
Broil King Regal 420 Pro
Broil King makes some of the best gas grills in the world and the Regal 420 Pro is packed with power. This is a serious grill that can grill it all. For a step up from most of the grills you find at the hardware store, get him this one.
BBQ Gifts under $2,000
Kamado Joe II Classic
If he loves barbecue and grilling he knows all about the Kamado Grill. The Kamado Joe II Classic comes with everything he needs to get started. Buy a bag of lump charcoal and he will be entertained all day and everyone else will be well fed.
With a classic, retro look, the Broilmaster P3-XF is one of the best built gas grills on the market. Designed to last for decades, this is one grill he will be able to keep a very long time. While the styling might not jump out at you, the performance of this gas grill is incredible as is its versatility. At around $1,300, this grill is a long term investment that will save a lot of money over the years.
Yes, there are electric smokers and while most struggle a bit, the Cookshack Amerique has become a classic. A big reason for this is its ability to do literal set it and forget it barbecue. He could load this stainless steel box up with ribs in the morning, program his settings into the control panel and come back later in the day to perfectly smoked barbecue ribs. It really is that easy.