Your Guide to BBQ Rotisseries and Burners

Burners are a very important part of your gas grill. The burners are generally single length or U-shaped tubes that allow for the flow of gas to heat the cooking surfaces. Quality burners are individually controlled. When you turn the knob to light a burner that knob controls only one burner. This creates a more finite control of the cooking areas so that foods requiring different temperatures may be prepared at the same time.

Burners are generally made from either cast iron or stainless steel. Cast iron burners are long lasting and cost effective, however they have a tendency to rust over time. Stainless steel burners and especially those made of 18 gauge #304 stainless are the highest quality available on the market today. They are extremely durable, long lasting burners that resist corrosion. These burners, however, are more costly than cast iron.

Most burners provide a heating capacity ranging from 15,000 to 18,000 BTU's per burner. The best barbecue grills have burners that are either top ported or side ported and are protected by burner guards or flame tamers. These guards not only protect the burners from grease and food particle build-up, but also "tame the flame" when cooking unusually fatty foods.

A new type of burner featured on many grills is the "infrared burner." Many times these intense heat burners are built in to the back of the grill and are great for searing meats to seal in the juices and for cooking rotisserie items. Quality infrared burners have a mesh or ceramic cover to protect the burner.

Rotisseries are the easy way to prepare large roasted meat items such a turkeys or roasts. The rotisserie is a long rod, usually 3/8" to 1/2" in diameter that spans the grill cooking area. The rotisserie forks hold the food in place, while the motor turns the spit over the cooking burners. Infrared rotisserie burners along with grill burners cook the food to perfection. Insulated hoods are important when using a rotisserie as the insulation helps with the roasting process much like a kitchen oven. Another important feature to look for in rotisseries is the turning diameter of the spit. Some spits are placed so close to the grill grates or burners that they do not allow sufficient room for the food to turn.