Live

Watch CBSN Live

Grills and smokers: Great options for July 4 and beyond

Young boy learning to use barbecue tongs with sausages
Getty Images

It's official: It's grilling season, and Independence Day is coming up fast. Now is the time to plan a big, patriotic, outdoor feast, using the irreplaceable flavor of charcoal, smoke and good old-fashioned fire. Whether it's a smoky sausage smorgasbord or a healthy, weeknight breast of chicken for one, there's a grill or smoker for any kind of household or budget. And if an open flame intimidates you, know this: You have alternatives. Nowadays, traditional charcoal cookers compete with electric grills that can fit on a countertop.

Here you'll find a roundup of top-rated options to bring that sizzle, and all from brands and retailers Americans trust, such as Weber, Walmart, Cuisinart, George Foreman and Home Depot.

Smoker for small spaces: Smokey Mountain 14-inch cooker and smoker

weber-smokey-1080.jpg
Weber/Walmart

Need big flavor for small groups? Consider this smoker, barely longer than a large hero sandwich. The Smokey Mountain 14-inch smoker fetches reviewer praise for ease of use, simple cleanup and effective smoking action. Like any good smoker, it can maintain a temperature for as many hours as it takes to get the flavor barbecue lovers crave. Perhaps best of all: It's American-made.


Smoker for beginners: Masterbuilt MES 130B digital electric smoker

masterbuilt-1080.jpg
Masterbuilt via Lowes

No charcoal, no propane, no experience, no problem. Meet the Masterbuilt MES 130B digital electric smoker, which promises competition-ready results, even for barbecue greenhorns. A side-loading door allows for easy addition of wood chips. And a roomy interior with four racks allows for six (!!!) chickens, two turkeys, four racks of ribs, or four pork butts.


Reliable and versatile grill: Spirit E-210 gas grill

weber-spirit-1080.jpg
Weber

You've likely seen this grill at a dozen backyard functions. Designed to fit on a small patio or balcony, the popular Weber Spirit E-210 gas grill nonetheless has two roomy burners that can easily handle a half-dozen burgers at a time. Two sturdy side tables hold fixings or seasonings close at hand, and six hooks on the ends can store all the grilling instruments you need. Propane refills are a snap, and a gas-powered side burner even lets you cook up a barbecue sauce while you grill.


Gas grilling made easy: Weber Genesis TT SX-335 smart grill

weber-smart-grill-1080.jpg
Weber

Imagine a gas grill that lets you roam. This Weber Genesis TT SX-335 smart grill includes smart wifi tech that notifies you when a grill reaches a certain temperature, and even when the meat inside does the same. A companion app offers a countdown function, letting you know exactly how much time you have left to enjoy that cocktail on the other side of the house. The grill even lets you know when a burger is ready to flip.


Kamado cooker cult fave: Large Big Green Egg

big-green-egg-1080.jpg
Big Green Egg/Ace Hardware

If you're curious about kamado-style cookers, aficionados say that the Big Green Egg is one to buy. Reviewers praise this wood-fired model for its steady temperatures, heat retention and stability, as well as its versatility: Try some slow and low cooking, or fire it all the way up to make a pizza worthy of a Neapolitan. You may have to order it online for pickup, but fans say it's worth it.


Smart outdoor cooker: Ironwood 885 wood pellet grill

traeger-ironwood-1080.jpg
Traeger/Amazon

If you're tired of charcoal and gas, but still want to graduate to chef-level grilling, consider this as an investment for your taste buds. This top-rated wood pellet grill combines all the tech of a smart outdoor cooker with the old-school taste of wood-pellet chips. You can also smoke, bake, roast and braise. A sensor monitors the machine's pellet level, and Wi-Fi tech lets you control the grill from anywhere.


Old-school, budget-friendly grill: Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-inch charcoal grill

weber-kettle-1080.jpg
Weber/Walmart

Maybe you just want to do this the old-fashioned way, and for a price that fits almost any budget. For those simple souls among us, reviewers prefer the sturdy Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-inch charcoal grill. If you want to update the look a bit and set yourself apart from daddy's backyard, the model is also available in green and copper.


Small indoor grill: George Foreman Contact Smokeless grill

foreman-indoor-1080.jpg
George Foreman/Amazon

Reviewers like the space-friendly George Foreman Contact smokeless grill indoor grill, and not only because it takes outdoor flavor indoors by eliminating smoke by up to 80%. A nonstick coating on the rack makes for easy cleanup, and the George Foreman label means that fat can be reduced to a minimum. Even better: The drip tray is dishwasher-safe.


Indoor grill splurge: Cuisinart electric Griddler

griddler-five-1080.jpg
Cuisinart/Amazon

Take the convenience of an indoor grill, dial the functions all the way up to 11, and you get this countertop-friendly high-tech wonder. We're talking five cooking options -- including panini pressing and full-on grilling -- plus an LCD display, digital controls, a sear function and more. And this gadget still acts as a griddle, too; that means one machine can take you from breakfast to dinner. 


Just so extra: Traeger Lil Pig wood pellet grill

piggy-1080.jpg
Traegar/BBQ Guys

Tired of boring black? Like a little form with your function? Your bubblegum-pink sausage savior is here. Traeger's Lil Pig may have a big price tag, but then again, it has big style to go with it. It also has a brain in there, with a digital thermostat control that allows you to set the grill and walk away. Plus, a dual probe meat thermometer allows for grilling different cuts of meat to different temperatures.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.