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Side Burner Buying Guide

By uchechukwu ufoh March 12, 2021

Generally, side burners on a grill (whether propane grill or natural gas grill) are designed to work just like the burners on your kitchen stove. They are generally smaller than the primary grill and cannot be used to cook large amounts of food or items. However, they provide you with the capacity to make different meals all at once without breaking a sweat.

This article seeks to provide you with a side burner buyers guide to help you select the best grill there is out there.

Char-Broil Classic 360 3-Burner with Side Burner

Char-Broil Classic 360 3-Burner with Side Burner

Benefits of Side Burner on Grills

Not all grills come with these lifesaving side burners, but they sure do have many benefits they bring. For one, they are excellent for making side dishes and sauces; but beyond that, there are other benefits. Let's take a close look at some of these benefits.

1.     Efficient Temperature Control

Side burners offer you extra cooking space that you can control separately from the main grill. The flame from the main grill powers these burners allowing them to heat your side items. However, you can easily regulate your side burners' temperature without having to tamper with that of your main grill. That way, you can cook items such as veggies and smaller food items without worrying about them overcooking or burning.

2.     Wide Range of Food

The fact that you can adjust the temperature to suit the item you have placed on them is a major plus. This is because, with it, you can comfortably cook different types of meals. You can cook your main dish on the grill and have your side dishes steaming up on the side burner at the same time.

You can prepare a variety of meatless food alongside your main course. These meatless dishes include vegetable antipasti, vegetable fajitas, stir-fries, vegetable stir-fries etc.

3.     Cook Sauces and Make Glazes.

Grills with side burners make it possible for you to create delicious sauces and glazes that complement your main course with no added stress. While cooking the main course, take a pan, add the ingredients for your sauce and place on the side burner to cook.

4.     Save Time

With all the things we have mentioned, it is easy to see how side burners help you save valuable time. You can multitask while keeping foods that grill faster warm until the under dishes are cooked. With the side burners, you bypass the need to go to your stovetop and back; the dishes you need are already within easy reach on the grill.

5.     Save Energy

Grill side burners are energy saving in terms of human effort and power. With them, you don't need an extra stove. Thus, you can save the power that would ordinarily be used to power other appliances. Besides, there is no need to turn on air conditioners and other cooling appliances while cooking with an outside grill.

In terms of conserving human energy, side burners alleviate the need to dash back and forth the kitchen and serving area. By so doing, the burden of cooking outside is greatly reduced.

6.     Full Outdoor Grilling Experience

Side burners offer everyone a chance to bask in the full outdoor grilling experience. No longer does one person have to stay and operate the grills, and yet another in the kitchen bringing the side dishes. It almost eliminates the need for indoor cooking.

7.     Back-up Cooking Area

Side burners act as an efficient back-up cooking surface. We know how terrible it is to have your main burners fail on you at the last minute. Thus, it is comforting to know that should all fail, and there is yet another efficient cooktop for you to make your meals.

How to Buy a Side Burner

Buying a side burner is not as hard as you think. But first, there are key questions you must answer first. These questions include:

  • What do you want to use these side burners for?
  • What type of side burner do you want?
  • What model of grill do you use currently or intend to purchase?
  • How much BTUs do you need?

Well, that's that. Let's go straight to the juice.

Answering the question of what you want to use the side burners for will go a long way in helping you answer the second question (what kind of side burner you need). If you intend to cook things using the searing technique, then a searing burner will be perfect. If you want to cook your food with indirect heat, you should choose an infrared side burner.

What are Power Burners?

Power burners are similar to high-pressure burners. However, they provide you with much more heat and energy to cook your meals. These power burners use a mechanical blower to force air into the grill. That way, they carry a higher amount of gas and offer you better cooking performance. A single power burner can have as much as 60,000 BTUs, unlike side burners that offer only a fraction (12,000 BTUs).

What are Infrared Searing Stations?

An infrared searing station uses infrared technology to supply heat rather than supplying the grill with direct heat. These infrared side burners function by using an infrared tool between the grate and flame. This tool focusses the flame on the ceramic tile and converts the flame into infrared energy.

Infrared searing stations are known to be highly effective and heat up quickly while cooking your food easily. Food prepared on infrared searing stations retains its flavour, moisture and tenderness. Thus you have a win-win situation: shorter meal prep time and meals with great flavour.

About Built-in Burners

Some grills come with built-in burners as extra features. These side burners provide an extra cooking area for you to whip up several meals simultaneously. These built-in burners are perfectly capable of helping you steam your veggies, make glazes and other side dishes.

Drop-in Burners

Drop-in burners are made with the highest grade of steel, thus making them durable. Like all side burners, they offer you a secondary cooking area. With the temperature control feature, you can monitor and control the side burner's temperature separately from the main grill.

 

Best Gas Grills with Side Burners

1.     Weber Spirit II E-310 LP Gas Grill

Weber Spirit II E-310 LP Gas Grill ranks as the overall best grill available on the market currently. It costs hundreds of dollars but more than makes up for this with the features it packs. The Weber Spirit II E-310 LP Gas Grill comes with a 10-year warranty on all the parts and is designed with a 529 square inch cooking area.

It comes with a well-crafted heating system that ensures heat is evenly distributed throughout the cooktop such that the food is well cooked. The cooker has an incredible side burner that allows you to keep your dishes warm or steam your side dishes. Extra features include an ignition system, grease management system and favorize bars.


Weber Spirit II E-310 LP Gas Grill ranks as the overall best grill available on the market currently. It costs hundreds of dollars but more than makes up for this with the features it packs. The Weber Spirit II E-310 LP Gas Grill comes with a 10-year warranty on all the parts and is designed with a 529 square inch cooking area.

It comes with a well-crafted heating system that ensures heat is evenly distributed throughout the cooktop such that the food is well cooked. The cooker has an incredible side burner that allows you to keep your dishes warm or steam your side dishes. Extra features include an ignition system, grease management system and favorize bars.

2.     Cuisinart Stainless Steel 3-in-1 Five-Burner Gas Grill

Cuisinart Stainless Steel 3-in-1 Five-Burner Gas Grill has the best side grills ever seen on a grill. The Cuisinart Stainless Steel 3-in-1 Five-Burner Gas Grill is designed with cast iron and delivers on swift and evenly cooked meals. The smoker tube utilizes wood chips and pellets to infuse that desirable smoky flavors in your meal.

All five burners are coated with ceramic and thus retain heat. They each deliver 48,000 BTUs of heat and come with a 15-year warranty. Cuisinart Stainless Steel 3-in-1 Five-Burner Gas Grill is easy to set up and simply a delight to use.

3.     Char-Broil 463377319 Performance 4-Burner Cart Style Liquid Propane Gas Grill

Char-Broil 463377319 Performance 4-Burner Cart Style Liquid Propane Gas Grill comes with a stunning 10,000 BTU lidded side burner. You can use the lidded burner to prepare anything from side dishes to sauces. When not in use, you can fold down the lid to protect the burners.

Apart from the side burners, Char-Broil 463377319 Performance 4-Burner Cart Style Liquid Propane Gas Grill comes with a swing-away warming rack, stainless steel side shelves and a lid-mounted temperature gauge. Let us not forget that the primary burners offer you a cooking space of 425 square inches. The cooking area is made of fine cast-iron grates that are quite durable.

4.     Weber Spirit E330 Lp Black Grill

Weber Spirit E330 Lp Black Grill is equipped with a searing station to help you prepare a perfectly grilled steak. The sear station gives your steak that amazing sear mark that we all love and adds an exquisite flavour to your meal. With the side burners, you can have your side dishes simmering at a controlled temperature while your main dish cooks to perfection on the primary cooking surface.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a means to grill and cook different dishes at once, then a side burner is the answer to your prayers. These side burners often come with their own temperature control knob that allows you to control how much heat is supplied to them. Some of the best grills that come with exceptional side burners are Weber Spirit II E-310 LP Gas Grill and Char-Broil 463377319 Performance 4-Burner Cart Style Liquid Propane Gas Grill. Try them out.


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