Renter's Guide to Grills

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Some foods just can't be prepared in a more delicious way than with grill marks -- for instance, a juicy burger, a barbecued chicken breast, or slightly-charred veggie skewers. But for the renter on the 18th floor with an itty-bitty balcony, grilling outdoors is the eternal conundrum.

Take heart, yardless renter, there's a new wave of outdoor grill products that will solve your dilemma and give you an alternative to "grilling" your hotdog in a microwave.

Take a peek at these cost-effective ways to grill your food -- just like you have a big backyard and a massive, propane-powered grilling machine.

These options are perfect for a renter whose balcony is constrained by space issues or for renters looking to take their grilling to the local park. (Some of these models are portable or can even be used indoors! That George Foreman really is a champ!).

A Tabletop Grill



Like a fondue pot that you pull out for special occasions and place on the table for festive gatherings, this Swedish-designed tabletop grill is a 10-inch bucket that you fill with charcoal. Place the grill rack on top and start barbecuing at the dinner or picnic table. A downside is that there's a limited cooking surface, so an entire dinner is likely going to be an all-night activity.


The Indoor/Outdoor Grill



Many electric grills, such as this one from George Foreman, can be utilized as a grill outside as well as inside. The pedestal-like configuration doesn't overwhelm your space, but holds an impressive 200-square-inch top. There's cool-touch handles, the ability to adjust temperature, and the unit includes a mechanism to drain grease into a tray for easy disposal.


The Patio Caddie



Going even smaller, there's the electric "caddie" grill with its 187-inch diameter porcelain grate. The electric grill emits 1650-watt power that can cook as powerfully as its gas-powered counterpart.


Wall Mounted Grill



Ideal for cramped balconies or backyards, the Sigmafocus affixes to a wall and then flips open to sizzle a round of patties on its stainless steel grill. Because it's fueled by charcoal or wood, the design includes a deep ash pan that it doesn't have to be cleaned every time it's used. It fastens to a wall and is engineered to protect it against smoke or heat damage.


The Small Green Egg


For its extreme pint-size stature, nothing can quite rival the Small Green Egg. Just as its name indicates, it's green in color and shaped like an egg. At only 13 inches round and 65 pounds, the grill can cook a 12-pound turkey, four burgers or a rack of ribs at one time. Or if you want something that can travel with you to a picnic or a friend's apartment upstairs (who has a bigger outdoor space), try the Mini Egg -- it has handles and is only 9-inches in diameter.

Though these grills are tiny and portable, don't forget to take precautions. Though cute, you'll want to keep in mind these little guys get hot -- careful when you transport them after use. To make sure the experience is completely yummy -- and entirely safe -- use long-handled utensils, be mindful of loose hanging clothing (shirttails, aprons, fringes, etc.), and never leave your grill unattended. For an accident-free summer of grilling on your deck, check out other safety tips provided by the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association.

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