What Size Grill Do I Need for My Family?

July 18, 2021

As far as I’m concerned, you only ask what size grill do I need when something goes terribly wrong and want to rectify it before the next attempt. This is a very common issue most newcomers have, and I urge you to read the full article without cutting it short, searching for quick answers for BBQ grill sizes, BBQ size guide, grill size guide, or BBQ grill size calculator on Google. Choosing the right grill size does require certain considerations, and I’m pretty much confident that you will find everything needed in this article. Let’s get into it. 

How Do You Know What Size Grill To Get?

Actually, the size of BBQ grill depends on several factors. Some of these factors perhaps might not be too familiar for most. So, I thought it would help you if I explain each factor thoroughly so that you can go no wrong when you are at the point of pulling your credit card out. The next chapter of the article is all about factors that you need to consider and how to calculate grill size. 

Considerations When Choosing Grill Size

The followings are what I looked for when selecting my BBQ grill under $500

Number of Heads to Serve

Yes, this is the first thing you must think of. The rule of thumb is to allocate at least an area of about 70 square inches per head. This is just a number according to my perspective, but I know there are people getting confused thinking about the grill size for family of 4, grill size for family of 6, etc. If you are one of them, the following information will help you determine the grill surface area. 

Please note that these are approximate numbers.

  • Per three heads: 210 square inches
  • Per four heads: 280 square inches
  • Per five heads: 350 square inches
  • Per six heads: 420 square inches 

Don’t Overcrowd the Grill

One important element is never to overcrowd the grill with food. If you happen to do so in order to serve the people quickly, you could end up with less-tasting food. Simply put, you must leave extra space on the grill to come up with best tasting recipes. My preference is to allow at least about 20% of grill clear all the time, and it has never disappointed me. 

Indirect Cooking

This side of things is barely considered by most, but I see it as a crucial factor in finalizing the gas grill dimensions. When you place the food on the grill directly above the heat, that is called direct cooking. I use this method to cook thinner sort of food and also when I’m in a hurry to serve my loved ones. 

However, if you want to cook large food such as whole chicken, it is ideal to go with indirect cooking. In which the cooking takes more time than direct cooking, but the taste is so supreme and best suited for chunkier food. In that sense, a small size BBQ grill might not be able to provide you with the results you expect. 

Most of the small built-in grill sizes don’t have the capability of permitting the correct amount of heat or the space required to facilitate proper indirect cooking. If you ask me the appropriate outdoor BBQ dimensions for direct and indirect cooking, my answer would be at least 720 square inches.

Standard BBQ Grill Size

Typically a standard grill size would be around 350 to 400 square inches, sufficient for around five heads. However, an average grill size won’t be the best choice for a bigger family, or you have more people to cater to at your parties. 

Grill Cooking Surface Size

You can get the square inches of a grill surface width multiplied by length. According to my take, the best size grill for outdoor kitchens would be over 450 square inches. Not only that size of a grill provides enough space for different sorts of food, but also you will find it easy to cook more food for more people in a short period of time. 

I recommend to use smokeless indoor grill if you prefer grilling inside the house. With the 80 square inches, I can feed for 2 people and 150 square inches good for three to five people.

What Size Grill Do I Need for My Family and what is the exact outdoor grill dimensions

What Size Grill Do I Need?

So, I think now you have a fair bit of information to justify your answer to what size grill do I need. My recommendation is to consider all the points and come up with a decision as buying a grill is not something that you do every day of the week. 

In addition, if you are a person who is into outdoor camping trips, you must consider the portability of the grill as a crucial point. Also, you could find a wide range of grill styles out there in the market, which allows you to pick one that helps you make the most out of the available space; charcoal kettle grills are a good example of that. 

Special Features to Improve Grilling Performance

Ok then, having the right size of grill alone won’t provide you with the results you want. So, I wish to share some of the features I look at when purchasing a BBQ grill from sale. I know most people don’t have sufficient knowledge to identify the uses of the features, which is why you should read the following phase of the article more vigilantly.

Ceramic Briquettes

These are lines at the bottom part that helps absorb the juices of the food you cook. Ceramic briquettes come in handy to prevent flare-ups to provide you with the exact taste you expect from a recipe. I personally burn off these briquettes periodically and replace them to get rid of the odor; that is a secret revealed! 

Metal Burner Shield

This is a very important feature that you must look at, as metal burner shields make sure the heat is evenly distributed. In addition, it works as a protector for the burner, keeping the food juice out. 

Side Shelves

Side shelves are mostly attached to the outdoor grills. They help you keep the plates and grilling appliances together. If you want a place to keep cooked foods, this is the easiest place you can think of to keep everything well organized. 

Temperature Indicators

You know, I find it very much annoying to open the lid to determine the temperature. That is why I always opt for grills that have built-in temperature indicators. Moreover, most products come with the cushion of adjusting the internal temperature levels as per your preference. Having temperature under control is crucial to get the authentic taste of the recipe. It’s not a pro tip from me but rather a rule of thumb, actually.

Indirect Cooking 

I want this to elaborate again; this is kind of an underrated element in most users’ books. If you pick a grill that doesn’t have enough capability to facilitate indirect cooking, you are guaranteed to face a difficult time when you deal with delicate recipes; fish and veggies are such foods that you are going to struggle with if your choice doesn’t have this option.

Ceramic Rods

This is another feature that helps you provide even heat distribution to the food that you cook. In addition, ceramic rods also minimize the chances of flare-ups. 

Built-In Ignitions

I want my grill to reduce the manual stuff as much as possible, and I think you also go about with things in that way. Built-in ignitions are what help you light the grill with just a push of a button without requiring you to use a lighter or match. 

High BTU Burner

Now, this option might not be available with all the grills, but if the situation permits, I urge you to look for this feature when you are in the market. The grills that have high BTU burners (usually located close to the cooking area of the grill) enable you to cook at temperature levels that are needed for best searing. 

what size charcoal grill do i need?, BBQ grill sizes, Choosing the Right Grill Size, Grill surface area

How Big Of A Charcoal Grill Do I Need?

Charcoal grills get the required power from charcoal briquettes, and I find these grills are way more manageable and fun than most other types. Before you think about a charcoal grill size guide, the first thing that you need to know is these grills are round in shape. This means the cooking area is not the same compared to usual BBQ grills. 

There are different sized charcoal grills determined by the diameter, such as 12, 22, or 26 inches. Also, the built-in BBQ dimensions may get varied from one brand to another. If you ask me, what size charcoal grill do I need, my answer would be to opt for a grill that is at least 22 in diameter. I say this because a diameter of 22 would be enough to roast a pork shoulder. You can go up or down with the size, depending on your requirement. 

On a personal note, I am a huge fan of horizontal barrel charcoal grills, because you get the opportunity of using them as a smoker when you fix a firebox to the side. Yeah, if you want to smoke for more extended periods of time at lower temperature levels, a horizontal barrel grill should justify your selection. 

Regarding the all-important price, you should be able to find a “good” machine for around 500 bucks. I know there are way cheaper products, but you can’t expect them to do the expected job with the best results. 

How Big Of A Gas Grill Do I Need?

This the most popular grill type of all, and gas grills get power from natural gas or as bottled propane. Talking about gas grill sizes, they typically feature a 400-500 square inches cooking surface. That size is more than enough for an average family. I know most of you look for grills thinking more heads to serve; in that sense, I would recommend a five or six-burner grill with more than 600 square inches. 

Another vital consideration is the size of the footprint, and I would like you to look at removable parts such as side shelves to minimize the occupied space. 

It’s not all about the size, as the value of purchase doesn’t have to be considered based on only one factor. If you are willing to buy a gas grill, it would be best if you choose a painted aluminum model because these models are well capable enough to prevent corrosion and rust. This plays a huge role when you are constantly using the machine for outdoor parties. 

Also, talking about the grates, I prefer the ones that are made of steel. In addition, I never forget to investigate whether they are porcelain covered or not. Such grates create eye-catching grill marks other than the fact that they are pretty much easy to clean. 

If you don’t mind spending more bucks, you can go with a high-end gas grill with a stainless steel body. The interesting part about gas grills is that you can find products even at $100 as well as more than a couple of thousand dollars. But, my experience tells that it is always a good idea to grab a middle-range product under $300, especially if you don’t have much experience with BBQ. 

What Size Pellet Grill Do I Need?

How big of a grill do I need? I would say it’s the same with pellet grills. If you are representing an average size family, you must aim at a 500-inch grill at least. For singles or small families, there are enough choices available less than that region. Similarly, if you are a party man, you could go beyond the 500-inch mark for additional several hundred bucks. Numbers suggest that most people prefer standard size built-in BBQ grills over other sizes; I know there are valid reasons why. 

There is a huge demand for pellets grills, particularly in the last decade. I assume that is because of internet use and the number of online searches is going up every day. However, as I said earlier, you should not put all the weight on the size when selecting grills. 

Control boards, meat probes, secondary cooking racks, direct and indirect grilling are some of the additional features modern-day pellet grills have. Of course, you have to pay attention to temperature range and construction as well. 

Even there are grills that come with Wi-Fi capability. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not urging you to choose a high-end product, but it’s better to understand that pellet grills have come a long way, and there are great products available in the market if you like to invest in a good product. However, you are the one who pays the bill, so it is purely up to you to decide whether it provides the maximum bang for the buck.

Do you know these factors about flat top grills?

FAQs

If you have more grey spots, the following Q&A session will wipe them all, I guess.

How Much Space Do You Need Around A Gas Grill?

According to the experts, you should maintain at least 20 inches to the combustibles. That is the range most brands suggest as well. However, that doesn’t necessarily suggest you can keep inappropriate stuff around the grill. In addition, I must say that never try to use the gas grills indoors no matter how experienced you are. That is a thumb of rule I strictly follow. Outdoors is the most preferred option I recommend you. 

If you find it difficult to get a proper place in your backyard, you must at least try to find a place that has sufficient ventilation. You are dealing with gas, my friend, and I know you understand why they said prevention is better than cure. 

How to Measure Grill Size? 

Let me make myself clear here. Rather than worrying about measuring methods, I want my readers to consider the size of the cooking area. I know there is enough content on the internet suggesting the number of burgers as a measuring method, which I see, quite confusing for the newbies. Instead, it would be better if you check on only the cooking surface area.

Width of the cooking area multiplied by its length, you can get the square inches of a grill. And, I hope you know how to figure out solutions to what size grill do I need by now, as I have elaborated on this clearly in the article earlier.

How Many Burgers Fit On A Grill?

Some of you might still want to know answers to this query, even though I mentioned it is not the correct way to determine the size of the grill you need. Anyway here is how I measure it; you can do the math to get the answers depending on the area you plan. Usually, a 500-square grill has enough space to facilitate about 24 hamburgers.

However, I want you to put on the thinking cap and make wise decisions to prevent post-purchase disappointments.

How Does Grill Design Impact Cooking Performance?

Answering this question is a tricky one because inconsistencies in heat distribution, temperature, flare-ups and many other factors directly have a say on the cooking performance of a grill.

Manufacturers do know these and take necessary preventive actions to minimize the fluctuations. That is what I explained in the “Special Features to Improve Grilling Performance” section of the article. Long story short, you have to consider the additional features of the grill that come with the grill design. 

In that sense, I want you to identify the main causes for the above-mentioned deficiencies and find remedies for those issues. As an example, you can select a grill with a good metal burner shield to get the help to maintain even heat distribution, rather than thinking size of biggest grill! 

How to Find a Perfect Grill Size like A Professional?

No big deal, just stick to the following numbers. All you need to possess a measuring tape.

  • Per three heads: 210 square inches
  • Per four heads: 280 square inches
  • Per five heads: 350 square inches
  • Per six heads: 420 square inches 

Yes, first of all, my recommendation would be to think about the number of serving heads and pick a grill accordingly. If your intention is to buy a grill to have frequent parties, you better concentrate on a grill that has more than 600 square inches of space.

How Many Burners Should A Grill Have?

Let me emphasize to you that it is pivotal to have at least two burners if you intend to buy a gas grill so that you can turn on one burner and leave the other one off. However, the more burners you have the better control you get. I see this side of things (having more burners) as a great luxury that a Pitmaster could have.

I say this because you have the chance of playing with hot, medium and low heat zones when you have more burners at your disposal. In addition, never underestimate the value of the lid, which should have all it takes to tightly close, especially when smoking.

Should I Get a 2-Burner Or 3-Burner Grill?

Since I’m talking about the space and size of grills in this article, I would say a three-burner grill would obviously provide additional cooking space compared to two-burner grills. However, the space that I’m talking about here is not substantial. For a better product, you would want to put more significance on factors like temperature, flexibility, fuel source & efficiency and type of grill, along with the number of burners.

Do I Need A 3 Or 4 Burner Grill?

Although I include this question as a separate one, the answer would be the same as above. The more burners you have more cooking area you get. The cooking area has to be determined by the number of people you have to serve. According to my prior experience, a three-burner grill is enough for a family party. But, if you have more friends and colleagues, you have to go with a grill that has more burners.

What Is The Standard BBQ Propane Tank Size?

20lbs tanks are very common among BBQ grills. These are very much easy to carry and pick up; also, you should find no difficulties in exchanging them with felling stations for fresh tanks. 

Final Verdict On What Size Grill Do I Need?

 Let me give you one straightforward answer to this question before I say goodbye. First of all, you must know the number of people you are going to serve. Then, you can opt for a grill that is enough to cater to your requirement. However, there are few more helping factors which I think you should know by now. If anything is confusing, I’m available to help you. Cheers!

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