Memorial Day symbolically kicks off summer, but for some the sweetest season can’t start without the sound of something sizzling and the smell of charcoal. Grilling, while primitive in concept, doesn’t have to be so in execution. To get the most out of it we rounded up three grills that feature smart designs that elevate the fire-meets-meat (and the occasional vegetable) experience. Please pass the ketchup.
1) On the go: Stok Gridiron
Despite the name this grill is equally at home on the beach, back patio or campsite. A built-in stand and rugged wheels make this collapsible model easy to drag anywhere and store. Under the gas grill’s elongated hood are porcelain-coated cast-iron grates with a unique removable section that can be replaced with accessories like a pizza stone, griddle or vertical chicken roaster. $200; stokgrills.com
2) Weeknight dinner: Napoleon PRO22K kettle grill
The charcoal-fueled workhorse of backyard cookouts is upgraded from top to bottom, starting with a hinged, clamshell-style lid that lifts easily without dragging a forearm over the fire. The beefy cast-iron grate holds heat better than stan- dard steel while the diffuser below pushes heat out to the sides of the kettle, reducing hot spots. Tabs inside the steel ring hold the grate at three different levels for precise heating. $280; napoleongrills.com
3) The summer party: David Rockwell by Caliber
Guests gather to interact with the cook, not watch his back as he tends to dinner. This unit is designed with a retractable top to encourage a more social form of grilling. Everyone can enjoy an open vantage point from any side of the gas grill. You can even let the picky ones tend to their own food, there’s plenty of tabletop for loading and unloading dinner and storage below on a Brazilian cherry shelf. $9,500; napoleongrills.com