A View to a Grill

For many Americans, Memorial Day weekend marks the official start to barbecue season. And for almost as many, the best barbecue sauces, marinades, and techniques are the stuff of legend, as closely held as state secrets.

But the picture is less secretive as far as equipment is concerned. Although the debate between which is better—a charcoal or a gas grill—has been going on for years without hope of resolution, it really boils down to a personal choice of taste, convenience, and cost. Real wood or charcoal grills produce the smokiest flavor but are the least convenient to use. Gas grills, on the other hand, can be operated with the flip of a switch, but they don't produce as flavorful meats and vegetables. And if you live in an apartment or don't have a backyard, a portable grill might be your best choice.

Here are our picks for the best in each category.

Weber 6240001 Genesis Gold B LP Gas Stainless Steel Grill

Weber is the household name, so to speak, in grilling, and this machine lives up to its reputation. With three burners, a powerful 36,000 BTUs, and push-button ignition, it's the perfect marriage of power and convenience. It's got a side-table work area, storage space, a warming basket and rack, and it's on wheels. $549.99 www.sears.com

Weber 741001 22-1/2" One Touch Silver Charcoal Black Kettle Grill

Another Weber, this little number is the standard-bearer for the low-maintenance charcoal grill. Its porcelain enamel bowl and lid prevent rust, and its One-Touch® cleaning system opens and closes all three bottom vents, sifting ash into the catch pan with, well, just one touch. $84.98 www.sears.com

Grill-4-All Propane Grill

At just 15 lbs., this stainless steel propane grill is not only portable but designed for fast and easy grilling and cleanup. It comes with a cooking grate, a propane burner, wind guard, propane regulator, heat shield, and lighter. Available accessories include extendable legs (up to 32" tall) and the ability to switch between gas, electric, or charcoal. Great for indoor grilling. $149.95 www.grill4all.com