We all use different grills at different times and places. Our favorite, hands down, is our DAD's PKGrill. We have also have a Charl-Broil gas grill, and have had a large Weber, and a couple of permanent block 'n' stucco barbecue pits. We once used a very large, special-order towing-package barrel grill, but found that unless we were cooking for four thousand of our closest friends, it was just overkill. Used up all the charcoal in the county, too, giving rise to smog alerts, and rumors of forest fires in our vicinity.

The sentimental front-runner, however, is the PKGrill, a gift to DAD from MOM, who wanted to get him out of the kitchen. It worked.

But the best thing about the PK is that it worked, too. It handles big holiday loads, but is small enough that you don't mind firing up five briquettes for a quick patty melt. It's easy to move, to take apart, and to clean. It packs in the back of any sedan, much less an SUV, and it's easy to clean up and haul back home. It's not cheap, but for our buck, it's a good deal.

Dad's new Char-Broil gas grill is easy to use, and offerst a quick start for week-day dinners. Mom loves it because it grills hot and fast without giving foods a smokey taste and smell. (She's on chemo.) Dad loves the new side burner, and has even used it to boil shrimp!

We've had close, personal relationships with a couple of Weber grills, too. And appreciate the fact that they are easy-to-use, and clean up well. The small Weber is the ticket to the Alton-Brown-instant-smoker, a trick we got while watching the Food Channel. We'll write more about that later, when we quit being steamed about the price of the "Big Green Egg." Will our Boston Butt actually be aware that it's in a metal garbage can huddled up to the ancient, miniature Weber grill? I think not. And our guests won't know the difference either.



Wood Chips and Chunks

Charcoal Starters

Starting a Fire


Keep it Going!

Is It Done Yet?

Favorite Grills from GirlsonaGrill

Our sentimental favorite is the PKGrill, a gift to DAD from MOM, who wanted to get him out of the kitchen. It worked. But the best thing about the PK is that it worked, too. For more information about the Portable Kitchen Grill, visit their Web site at

A Few Tips on Buying Your First Charcoal Grill

1. Don't buy an expensive grill. Try charcoal grilling first, and make sure it's for you.

2. Don't buy the cheapest, smallest grill out there, either. It won't work properly, it will make your life miserable, and you will come to hate grilling.

3. Check out the size of the grates, and buy the grill that is the right size for the amount of food, and size of the food that you intend to cook. Unless your immediate family has 36 people in it, you don't need a 48 inch towing package. Most family needs can easily be met by a standard PKGrill or Weber Kettle. When you decide that catering barbecues is for you, you can always upgrade.

4. Invest in a top-quality grill thermometer, the charcoal starter of your choice, and some grilling implements (spatula, tongs, and basting mop would be a good start). Then remember to use them, beginning in order, above.

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Mom and Dad recently purchased a new, small Char-Broil Gas Grill with a side burner. The irony is not lost on us: the two members of the family who are certified Kansas City Barbeque Contest Judges have gone gas! OK, truth is that the PK still rules, but Mom's on chemotherapy, and sometimes can't tolerate the smell and smokey taste of charcoal-grilled meats. She LOVES that DAD has taken the cooking outside, and it's fast and easy on busy days to get a meal on the table.