at a glance
choosing a professional range will not be easy this year.
many brands will have issues in supply. somehow you probably have read that before on a variety of home-related products. still, you do have some interesting choices to consider.
kalamazoo is still the best professional grill without question and the most unique, as you will see.
however, the price of their hybrid grills starts at $19.000. they do have a new gas grill worth considering. kalamazoo's new gas grills start at $12,000.
what you should buy in the next tier down between dcs, hestan, and lynx are not as clear. it depends on how you use the grill. they look similar but differ greatly with features like infrared burners, rotisseries, and overall construction.
in this article, you will learn the features, differences, and a few problems between all three premium grills. as a bonus, you will see the differences between a professional grill and weber's best regular grill.
you will also learn all about the other grill types like pellet and charcoal grills. they cook differently than a professional gas grill. you should know the difference before you buy any grill.
let's get started.narrow down bbq grill options with our free tool
best professional outdoor bbq grills for 2022
first, let's talk about what they have in common and what you should expect from a professional grill.
each grill is made of type 304 stainless steel. there are no plastic or painted metals in any of the grills listed below.
the burner output on all three is around 25,000 btu per burner. we will talk about the different burner compositions a bit later.
each is available as a built-in to be placed in an outdoor kitchen or stand alone as a freestanding in several different sizes.
lastly, each brand has matching appliances to outfit your outdoor kitchen. if you are looking to design an outside space, click this link for our webinar and step-by-step guide.
kalamazoo hybrid fire grill k500hs - $21,995
sizes available in built-in and freestanding: 28, 37 7/8, and 54 inches
kalamazoo is built to order and unique in so many ways. then again, they were started as a sheet metal shop in chicago in 1906.
it will allow you to bbq differently with its hybrid drawer. you can add wood and charcoal to infuse better flavor and texture than just using a straight gas grill.
it's easier to light with the burners stationed below, unlike a traditional charcoal grill. you have to open the drawer to refill the charcoal, which is much easier than a traditional charcoal grill.
unlike hestan and lynx, kalamazoo does not have a true sear zone. however, when you add charcoal, the grill does reach sear temperatures of 1,200 degrees higher than a traditional sear element of 1100 degrees.
kalamazoo is a powerful grill as well. like hestan and lynx, the burners are 25,000 btus each, but unlike the others, the cast brass weighs about 14 pounds with the ports placed in the back, so they don't clog over time.
its deep well construction allows for more air circulation and natural convection, so food is also cooked more evenly.
along with the deep well, clean-up is easy for ash and grease with collection located in the bottom.
the grill can be customized even to the grates designed for meat, fish, veggies, and even a pancha or griddle to cook breakfast items.
kalamazoo is also available in marine-grade metal if you live by the ocean for a higher price. marine grade refers to a better grade of stainless or a taurine finish to resist rusting. each kalamazoo is handcrafted in michigan and signed by the people who built it.
new kalamazoo grill head 42 and 48 inches
in 2022, kalamazoo will be manufacturing a grill without the hybrid fire drawer for the first time in its history. the grill is better insulated than any grill on the market. it weighs 360 versus 240 for most other brands.
they lowered the grill by 2 inches to still have the natural convection airflow for more even cooking. the price is $12,500.
this grill has no apparent weaknesses. the infrared rotisserie burner is not as hot as the hestan at 18,000 btu. kalamazoo is more than double the price of the others, starting at $14,595 for a built-in and $16,695 for a freestanding grill.
you may wait over two months to get it as well.
sizes available in built-in and freestanding: 36 and 48 inches wide
other dcs accessory to consider: their single burner will heat to 70,000 btu.
at one time, dcs sold more professional grills than any other brand. they have two series: series 7 and 9. both have 25,000 btu burners and rotisseries with 18,000 btu infrared at the top.
dcs claims to be an "all sear" grill by using ceramic rods throughout the grill to increase heat. dcs and kalamazoo sear through consistent temperature management. lynx and hestan offer infrared sears.
infrared will be faster because it's directed. the gas diffuses and spreads heat more. you have to stay on top of an infrared because of the speed. you can burn your food more easily.
perhaps dcs's best feature is availability. you will be able to buy a dcs more easily than any other brand.
differences between series 7 and 9 grills
the series 9 has light-up knobs. you also have a different workspace on the top of the grill. you can fit more on the series 9.
series 7 and 9 have the same grease management system. it angles down to the front of the grill into the tray. it's a decent idea, but your hot dogs may roll slightly.
you can lay the grates flat on the series 9 to prevent said hot dog from rolling. you also have a wood and charcoal accessory in the series 9 to infuse flavor into your meats.
it depends on where you stand on the sear. you can reach 1100 degrees on this grill but it's not infrared.
dcs does not offer an all- infrared grill like lynx and colors like hestan. its charcoal will not perform like kalamazoo. however, it's an available professional grill.
sizes available in built-in and freestanding: 27, 30, 36, 42, and 54 inches
lynx was the first and probably best-known professional grill. this grill was available in four ways such as all gas burners, a combination of gas burners and their trident infrared burner, and all-infrared burners.
now, you can buy the lynx as an all-sear grill, with just one sear burner or all gas with no sear.
the infrared trident is direct, intense heat, unlike a traditional gas burner like dcs that spreads heat. you can quickly sear the outside of your meat for a grill without overcooking.
in a lynx trident, the sear is variable from 300-1,000 degrees, so you can turn down the heat rather than moving your food and placing it on another burner.
lynx has a ceramic burner instead of cast brass or metal, unlike the other three. cast brass is excellent, but ceramic never weathers. they placed the burner ports on the underside to avoid getting clogged with any drippings.
lynx has the briquettes for heat distribution to increase heat and reduce flare-ups. you also have a slide-out shelf to catch any drippings.
availability will be tough in 2022, and i said that last year. lynx may be more expensive than the kalamazoo grill head with longer delivery times with some major price increases.
in addition to limited availability, lynx's briquettes require hands-on cleaning. you can't flip the briquettes to self-clean. instead, you must empty them into a bucket and clean them by hand. that may not be a huge disadvantage but may require more work.
sizes available in built-in and freestanding: 30, 36, and 42 inches
hestan is the industry's newest grill with a ton of features. let's start with the grill hood. you can move it with one finger like the others, but the hestan will stay in place so that you can grill with the hood partially open.
hestan has the diamond cut thick grates at 5/16ths of an inch. it will hold heat and be more even as well.
unlike lynx, hestan features reversible briquettes for the evenness of cooking, reducing flare-ups, and easier cleaning.
the trellis burner is a 321-grade metal with ports on all four sides. typically, metal would rust, but hestan has done significant saltwater testing to prove its superiority to type 304. marine-grade stainless steel is considered only 316 stainless steel.
variable rotisserie burner
their rotisserie infrared burner is the best and is variable between 12-18,000 btu. it's located on the top, so you can use it for cooking on the utility shelf right below.
lastly, hestan is the only grill available in 12 california colors and available freestanding or built in.
like the others, this is a great grill, but the burner ports face the food directly and cause the burners to clog.
editor's note: if you want to save some money and spend under $5,000, lynx and hestan each have a less expensive series. lynx has their sedona line, whereas hestan has their aspire line.
which professional grill is the best?
first, they all have their merits. all will give better heat output, rotisseries, and sear burners.
kalamazoo is the best grill with the ability to cook with wood, gas, and charcoal, but $17,000 and up for a grill is steep. their grill head without the hybrid drawer at $12,500 for a 42 inch is an excellent consideration. it's actually in the ballpark.
dcs has good power and, better yet, availability (at least now). you may like a dcs grill.
lynx also has a good all-around grill. their all sear is another excellent consideration, but infrared is different from a regular gas burner and has to be learned. lynx will be tough to find available in 2022.
hestan is another excellent grill with the best grates, rotisserie burners, and choice of color.
overall, it depends on how you like your grill. the kalamazoo hybrid gives you the ability to infuse flavor in an overall better cooking system.
lynx will allow you to cook and sear faster, while the hestan is a good-looking alternative with color and excellent grates. dcs will be popular. the series 9 does everything well and will be available.
how is a professional grill different from a regular grill?
there is no official definition of what makes a grill professional. however, this grill class is all stainless with higher btu output at 23-29,000 btu per burner versus 6-10,000 on regular grills.
you are also buying features like the ability to rotisserie, sear, or smoke your foods in most professional grills. a professional grill is $5,500 and above versus weber's best grill with similar features at $2,749.
are professional grills truly better than the best weber grill?
first, let's look at weber's best grill, the weber summit s-670.
the specs are impressive at first glance. it is a grill still worth considering at half the price, but it's not a professional grill, and here's why.
- btu output: the total btu output of 60,000 is competitive compared to most professional grills, but six 10,000 btu burners achieve it. professional grills have fewer burners but are more powerful at 25,000 btu each to quickly cook, char, and sear your food.
- rotisserie: the summit is good at 10,600 with direct, infrared heat. however, pro grills are almost double at 18,000 btu to cook the meat quickly. you can also use it for cooking on the top shelf as an ancillary burner.
- smoker: weber has a 6,800 btu smoker to infuse the meat with wood or other flavors. kalamazoo and dcs have far better ways of smoking.
- grates: i never thought we would ever talk about grates in an article, but thicker grates hold the heat better than thinner stainless grates of regular grills. lynx, dcs, and hestan have briquettes to increase heat to the surface and eliminate flare-ups for faster and safer grilling.
do you need to spend $8,000-$24,000 versus $2,799 for a weber? certainly not, but a professional grill will grill quicker and more thoroughly than even the best conventional grill. in all steel, there will be less maintenance as well.
pellet and charcoal grills
before you buy any grill, you should look at all your alternatives. we cover this more thoroughly in other articles. the two main grill alternatives are pellet and charcoal grills.
traeger pellet grill
pellet grills are powered by wood pellets which then heat your burners. the convection fan spreads the heat produced from the wood pellets throughout the grill. the upside to this grill is flavor.
pellet grills are not grills at all. they should be considered smokers. the top temperature of a pellet is 450- 600 degrees. a pro grill can heat to 900-1100 degrees to sear and char your food. pellet grills do not have that capability or the ability to cook quickly.
weber charcoal bbq grill
charcoal grills have heat and add texture to food, unlike gas grills. charcoal can reach high temperatures of gas. the downside to charcoal is adding and removing the ash. the temperature can vary, unlike the more precise grills.
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steve is the third-generation ceo of yale and a lifelong bostonian. he currently resides in boston, one mile from where he was born. despite being one of the worst goalies of all time, he is a huge hockey fan of college hockey and the boston bruins. the love of his life is his daughter sophie.
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a note about pricing