Key Takeaways:

  • Combo grills offer the versatility of both gas and charcoal grilling in one unit, potentially saving space and money.
  • Features like temperature control, separate burners, and additional cooking options like an offset smoker or pellet grill enhance the cooking experience.
  • Assessing the quality of materials, such as continuously welded stainless steel and porcelain-covered grill plates, is crucial when considering the value of a combo grill.

Grilling enthusiasts often face the dilemma of choosing between the convenience of gas grills and the flavor of charcoal grills. But what if you didn't have to choose? This is where combo grills come into play. Are combo grills worth it? This question is more relevant than ever as outdoor cooking becomes a staple of home entertainment. In this article, we'll explore the features, benefits, and considerations of combo grills to help you make an informed decision.

What is a Combo Grill?

A combination grill, or combo grill, is a multifunctional outdoor cooking appliance that combines both gas and charcoal grilling capabilities. This means you can enjoy the quick heating of gas grills and the smoky flavor of charcoal grills without needing two separate units. Some combo grills even include additional features like a side burner, pellet grill, or offset smoker, further expanding your cooking options.

The Versatility of Gas Charcoal Combo Grills

The primary advantage of gas charcoal combo grills is their versatility. With a dual fuel grill, you can switch between gas grilling for a weekday dinner and charcoal grilling for a weekend barbecue. The gas side often includes features like electric starters and temperature gauges for convenience, while the charcoal side allows for more traditional, open-flame cooking.

Space-Saving Solutions

For those with limited outdoor space, a combo grill can be a game-changer. Instead of having two grills taking up precious patio or deck space, a combination grill consolidates your cooking area into one unit. This can make outdoor cooking more accessible and enjoyable for people who have less room to work with.

Cost-Effectiveness of Combination Grills

When considering the cost of purchasing a gas grill and a charcoal grill separately, a combo grill can save money in the long run. Although the initial investment might be higher, the combined features and the convenience of having both grilling options in one can provide better value for your dollar.

Quality and Durability

When assessing whether combo grills are worth it, the quality of construction is paramount. Look for features like continuously welded stainless steel and porcelain-covered grill plates, which indicate a grill built to last. A well-constructed combo grill can withstand the elements and provide years of reliable service.

Cooking Space and Features

The total cooking area is a critical factor to consider. The best combo grills offer ample grilling space, warming racks, and side tables to accommodate large gatherings and various cooking needs. Additionally, features like heat control grids and temperature control can enhance the grilling experience by offering more precision.

The Convenience of Gas Grills

Gas grills are known for their convenience, and the gas side of a combo grill is no exception. With features like three stainless steel burners, temperature gauges, and warming racks, gas grilling becomes a hassle-free experience. The quick heat-up time and easy temperature control make the gas side ideal for everyday cooking.

The Benefits of Porcelain-Coated Grill Plates

When it comes to a gas charcoal combo grill, the type of grill plates used can make a significant difference in your cooking experience. Porcelain-coated grill plates are a standout feature that many grill enthusiasts look for. These plates are known for their non-stick properties, which means less food sticking to the grill and an easier cleanup process. Not only does this save time, but it also helps maintain the integrity of your meats and vegetables, ensuring they come off the grill looking as good as they taste.

Moreover, porcelain-coated grill plates are excellent at distributing heat evenly across the surface, reducing the chances of hot spots that can cause uneven cooking. This is particularly beneficial when grilling delicate items that require consistent temperatures. The durability of porcelain also means these plates can withstand high heat without cracking or chipping, making them a long-lasting addition to any complex grill. When comparing other combo grills, those with porcelain-covered grill plates often stand out for their superior performance and maintenance ease.

The Impact of Weather on Your Combo Grill Experience

When considering a combo grill, it's important to factor in the impact of weather on your outdoor cooking. Porcelain covered grill plates are not just a fancy addition; they play a crucial role in withstanding the elements. These plates are known for their resilience against rust and their ability to handle high heat without cracking or chipping. This means that whether you're grilling under the scorching summer sun or during a chilly autumn evening, your grill is designed to perform consistently. The porcelain enamel provides an extra layer of protection, ensuring that your investment remains in top condition through various weather conditions.

Moreover, the built-in temperature gauges on many combo grills offer an advantage for those who love precision cooking. No matter the weather, you can maintain the perfect heat level for your steaks or veggies. This feature is particularly useful when dealing with unpredictable weather patterns that could otherwise affect the internal temperature of your grill. With a reliable temperature gauge, you can adjust the heat accordingly and ensure that your food is grilled to perfection every time, regardless of the external climate.

The Advantages of Built-In Temperature Gauges

When it comes to grilling, precision is key, and that's where built-in temperature gauges come into play. These handy tools are a game-changer for both novice and experienced grill masters. With a built-in temperature gauge, you can monitor the heat inside your combo grill without lifting the lid, ensuring that your meats and vegetables cook evenly every time. This feature is particularly useful when dealing with the dual fuel aspect of combo grills, as it helps balance the different heat zones.

Moreover, the convenience of a built-in temperature gauge cannot be overstated. It allows for real-time adjustments, which is crucial for maintaining the perfect temperature for various cooking styles, whether you're searing steaks on high heat or slow-roasting a chicken. By keeping a close eye on the temperature, you can avoid the common pitfalls of over or undercooking, making your grilling experience more enjoyable and stress-free.

Integrating Built-In Smokers for Enhanced Flavor

For those who crave that authentic smoky flavor, integrating a built-in smoker into your combo grill can elevate your culinary creations to new heights. This feature allows you to infuse a rich, smoky taste into your meats and vegetables, which is something that can't be replicated with gas grills alone. The built-in smoker works seamlessly with the charcoal component of the combo grill, providing a consistent smoke flow that permeates your food.

The beauty of a built-in smoker is its ease of use. By simply adding wood chips or chunks to the designated smoking area, you can experiment with different types of wood, such as hickory, mesquite, or applewood, to achieve a variety of flavor profiles. Whether you're smoking brisket for hours or giving a quick smoky finish to your burgers, the built-in smoker is a feature that can transform your grilling into a gourmet experience.

Customizing Your Combo Grill for the Perfect Cookout

Customization is key to making the most out of any combo grill, and manufacturers have taken note. Many models now come with options for porcelain covered grill plates, which not only enhance the durability of your grill but also aid in even heat distribution. This means fewer hot spots and a more consistent cooking surface, allowing you to achieve that perfect sear on your meats and vegetables. Additionally, the non-stick properties of porcelain make cleanup a breeze, so you can spend more time enjoying your meal and less time scrubbing the grill.

For those who love to entertain, built-in features like side burners and rotisseries expand your cooking repertoire. Imagine being able to simmer your signature barbecue sauce on the side burner while your chicken roasts on the rotisserie, all without leaving the grill. This level of customization not only impresses your guests but also streamlines the cooking process, making it easier to manage multiple dishes at once. With these built-in conveniences, your combo grill becomes the centerpiece of any outdoor gathering, providing both functionality and a touch of gourmet flair.

Maximizing Space with Thoughtful Design Features

For those with limited space, the design of a combo grill can be a game-changer. Imagine a massive grill that offers all the cooking capabilities you desire but still fits comfortably on your patio. This is where features like a built-in utensil rack, a side table, and an access door come into play. A utensil rack keeps your cooking utensils within reach without cluttering the side table, which can be used for prepping or holding plates and seasonings. An access door, on the other hand, provides convenient entry to the main chamber or storage area without the need to move the entire grill.

In addition to these features, some combo grills are designed with two gas burners or even three burners, yet occupy less space than you might expect. This is achieved through clever engineering that maximizes the use of the main chamber, allowing for a variety of cooking methods in one grill. Whether you're working with a balcony or a small backyard, these thoughtful design elements ensure that you don't have to sacrifice functionality for space. When comparing to other combo grills, look for these space-saving solutions that can enhance your grilling experience without overwhelming your outdoor area.

The Flavor of Charcoal Grills

For many, the allure of charcoal grilling is the flavor it imparts on the food. The charcoal side of a combo grill allows for this traditional grilling experience. With the ability to add more charcoal, use wood chip cooking, and manage the open flame, the charcoal side caters to those who enjoy the art of grilling.

Additional Cooking Options

Some combo grills go beyond the basics, offering features like a separate side burner for sauces or sides, a pellet grill for slow cooking, or an offset smoker for authentic barbecue. These additional options can turn a simple grill into a comprehensive outdoor kitchen.

Ease of Use and Maintenance

The best combo grills are designed with the user in mind, featuring easy-to-clean surfaces, accessible charcoal trays, and convenient utensil racks. Maintenance is an important consideration, as a grill that's difficult to clean or requires frequent repairs can diminish its overall value.

Assessing the Cooking Experience

The overall grilling experience is a sum of all parts. From the ease of switching between gas and charcoal to the satisfaction of cooking with an open flame, the experience should be enjoyable and stress-free. A combo grill that delivers on this front can be considered a worthwhile investment.

The Pit Boss Combo Grill: A Case Study

Take, for example, the Pit Boss combo grill. It combines a propane side with a pellet side, offering a wide range of cooking methods. Users can grill, smoke, bake, roast, sear, braise, barbecue, or char-grill with ease. The Pit Boss is a testament to how a well-designed combo grill can cater to all your outdoor cooking needs.

When to Choose a Combo Grill

A combo grill is an excellent choice for those who value flexibility in their cooking methods, have limited outdoor space, or want to save money by consolidating their outdoor cooking appliances. It's also ideal for those who enjoy hosting and need the capacity to cook food in various styles.

The Downsides to Consider

While there are many benefits to combo grills, there are also downsides to consider. Some combo grills may have a smaller cooking space on each side compared to a standard grill, and the complexity of a combo grill can sometimes mean more parts that could potentially need repair.

Making the Right Choice

Ultimately, whether combo grills are worth it depends on your specific needs and preferences. By considering factors like cooking space, construction quality, and additional features, you can determine if a combo grill is the right investment for your outdoor cooking adventures.


Combo grills offer a versatile and space-saving solution for outdoor cooking enthusiasts. By combining the convenience of gas grills with the flavor of charcoal grills, these dual fuel units provide a comprehensive cooking experience. Quality construction, ample cooking space, and additional features like side burners and smokers add to their appeal. While they may come with a higher upfront cost and potential complexity, for many, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, making combo grills a worthwhile investment.

FAQ Section

Q: Can I use both the gas and charcoal sides of a combo grill at the same time?

A: Yes, most combo grills are designed to allow simultaneous use of both gas and charcoal sides, giving you the flexibility to cook different foods at different temperatures.

Q: How do I maintain a combo grill?

A: Regular cleaning of the grates, burners, and charcoal tray is essential. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for specific maintenance routines, and always cover your grill when not in use to protect it from the elements.

Q: Are combo grills more expensive than buying a gas grill and a charcoal grill separately?

A: Initially, a combo grill may be more expensive than purchasing either a gas or charcoal grill alone. However, when you consider the cost of buying both types of grills separately, a combo grill can offer better value and save space in your outdoor area.

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