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Are you suited up for summer? Because summertime is backyard grilling time and if your patio isn’t dressed to the nines by now, you’re late to the party! But don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with a quick overview of the world of BBQ grills and smokers so you can started thinking about what kind of grill (or smoker) will look the best next to your favorite chaise lounge. Let’s gooooo!

Keep it Old School

Even if we’ve never done it ourselves, nearly all of us have witnessed a parent or grandparent cooking on an old school charcoal grill. And while those are good workhorses for family barbeques, you can optimize your grilling experience by using propane gas instead of charcoal. Traditional gas grills are easier to start, easier to keep going, and easier to clean than charcoal grills, while retaining a very DIY element of the backyard barbecues. You still get to be responsible for tending the fire and monitoring your temperatures just like in the olden days.

Keep it Low & Slow

If pure fire isn’t your thing, but pure patience is, get a digital electric smoker and learn the fine art of cooking with smoke. When you use a smoker, you’re not using the flames to do the cooking. You’re using a low and highly controlled air temperature to complete the process. By choosing specific types of wood to burn inside the firebox, you control the flavor. The benefit of using a digital electric smoker (instead of an old fashioned smoke house) is that it monitors your time and temperature digitally so you can tend to other business­—like relaxing—instead of tending to the fire.

The Best of Both Worlds

If you just can’t decide between grilling or smoking, well, you don’t have to! The best of modern outdoor cooking appliances just may be the wood pellet grill/smoker combo that’s made for use as a smoker, direct flame grill, or both. Many current models include digital tools to assist with both smoke and temperature control, and some include smart connectivity, too! A grill that’s WIFI enabled allows you to monitor and control cook times, temperatures, and more from a smartphone app. Yep, the future is here! What more could we need except a robot chef to visit the grocery store, make the marinade, load up the grill, serve dinner, clean the table, take out the trash…

Well, until the day we have smart tools to really manage our whole households, let’s enjoy the thing that differentiates humans from all other mammals—cooking with fire!