80
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      Fire up the grill

      Summer is right around the corner, and that means it??s time to break out the grill. But how do you go about deciding what grill is best for you?

      Todd Eckstrom, manager at Swift Hardware in Houghton, says choosing between gas and charcoal is about your personal preference.

      ??The benefits of a gas grill is convenience--it??s instant on, it??s instant heat--so if you??re in a hurry, it??s quick cooking that way,?? explained Eckstrom. ??Charcoal takes a little bit longer to heat up and prepare, but it gives a different type of flavor depending on the type of charcoal you use.??

      Although gas grills are capable of cooking faster and at much higher temperatures, many still prefer charcoal for the flavor.

      ??It releases a flavor, I guess, just that smoky flavor compared to the propane taste,?? said Festival Foods night manager, Brandon Vanacker. ??A little trickier maybe, too, with that though as far as heat distribution, but I think taste overall is important with food.??

      Eckstrom says grills can cost anywhere from $30 to hundreds depending on the size and type. He recommends smaller grills when cooking for smaller numbers or camping and larger grills for entertaining.

      ??The more expensive the grill, the longer it??s going to last,?? Eckstrom added.

      As far as maintenance goes, it??s best to keep it protected from the weather and to clean it often.

      ??My personal preference is just to turn it on early and let it burn off, and then use a wire brush on it,?? Eckstrom said. ??The other technique to use is use some olive oil and some aluminum foil.??