For those who enjoy the great outdoors, there is nothing better than al-fresco dining. Instead of using a barbeque, which has a tendency to cook food unevenly or burn it, consider a flat-top grill. A flat-top grill has a large, flat cooking surface with different heat zones and is ideal for simultaneously cooking a variety of food.
Camp Chef is a U.S. company that specializes in outdoor cooking equipment. Its flat-top grills are available in several sizes, from compact countertop models to large multi-burner models with wheeled bases. The mid-sized Camp Chef FTG 600 has four 12,000 BTU burners and a 604-square-inch griddle surface, making it ideal for everything from a family dinner to a small catering event.
Gas or electricity fuels flat-top grills. Propane offers the most versatility if you want to take the grill on camping trips or away from your home. Electric models usually are quite small and are better suited for use in a kitchen.
The total amount of heat generated is important because it dictates how much food you can cook at once and how long it takes. Electric models are measured in watts and gas-fueled grills are measured in BTUs. A model with more than one burner allows for greater control over the surface temperature.
Flat-top Camp Chef grills are available in various sizes. Choosing the most suitable one depends on the number of people for whom you intend to cook. The smallest is a portable model with an 18-by-18-inch cooking surface. The largest is designed for catering events and has a 744-square-inch top and two fold-out side shelves.
How and where you will use your grill dictates how portable it needs to be. Some smaller models are relatively lightweight and are good choices for RV owners and camping trips. Other larger options have foldable legs, which helps with storage and transportation, or a wheeled base, which is sturdier yet somewhat heavier.
If the grill uses propane, it is imperative the grill includes a gas check valve on the tank or along the pipe. A built-in flame-failure device also is vital to ensure the flow of gas is stopped should the flame be extinguished. Additionally, you should wear protective clothing such as an apron, oven gloves, and closed-toe footwear to prevent accidental injuries.
Camp Chef flat-top grills are available with a selection of optional accessories. If you are unable to store it indoors, then it is strongly recommended you have a cover to protect it from the elements. Some models may include handy extras such as a propane tank holder, adjustable legs, a grease management system and cooking utensils.
The price varies depending on the size of the grill. The smallest model starts at just over $200 and the largest is just under $1000.
A. These grills are designed specifically for use outdoors. However, you can use them inside if there is sufficient ventilation.
A. The griddle plate is designed to dissipate heat at different levels, creating different heat zones. The center and outer edges are cooler and you can use those areas to cook slowly or to keep cooked food warm.
A. No. All Camp Chef grills are made from cold-rolled steel and have an all-natural, nonstick season that is baked on, so it is ready for use right out of the box.
What you need to know: This flat-top grill has a 604-square-inch griddle surface with four independently controlled gas burners.
What you’ll love: It includes a frame with wheels and two fold-out side tables. A built-in grease management system prevents unwanted mess.
What you should consider: It requires basic hand tools for assembly.
What you need to know: This versatile stovetop is designed to sit over a single burner and has a griddle on one side and a flat-top grill on the other.
What you’ll love: It is made from durable cast iron and has molded-in carrying handles.
What you should consider: It doesn't come with a storage bag.
What you need to know: This solid-steel top converts a regular grill or barbeque into a flat-top grill.
What you’ll love: It has high sides and a built-in grease channel at the front, and fits most single- or double-burner 14-inch stoves.
What you should consider: It takes a long time to heat up and cool down.
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Chris Gillespie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.