BBQ Grill & Smoker Glossary

We don’t take it for granted that everyone knows everything about gas grills, so we’ve put together a glossary to help you better understand the ins and outs of the most common BBQ pits. Below is a list of relevant terms and definitions — there’s no quiz at the end, we promise — that will be helpful as you search for a gas grill or use our many educational resources to expand your grilling knowledge. From grill components to features to performance indicators, we covered what you need to know about our selection of gas grills.

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  • Term:

  • Definition:


  • Asado Grills

  • Also known as Argentinian grills, asado grills are simple and effective cookers whose grates are positioned over a wood fire and can often be adjusted. They create an immersive grilling experience along with smoky flavors and high heat.


  • BTU

  • 1 BTU (British Thermal Unit) measures the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of a pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. BTU doesn’t measure how hot a grill can get, but it’s one of several factors in that equation. Instead, think of BTUs as a measurement of fuel efficiency, much like miles per gallon for a vehicle.


  • Built-In Gas Grill

  • Grills that are inserted into an existing structure, typically a BBQ island. They usually serve as the centerpiece of outdoor kitchens. Also referred to as a drop-in grill, grill head, or grill insert.


  • Ceramic Briquettes

  • A type of flame tamer that provides extremely even and stable heat, especially at lower temperatures. Ceramic briquettes are excellent at retaining and radiating heat, protecting burners from drippings, and vaporizing those drippings into flavorful smoke.


  • Commercial-Grade Multi-User

  • Gas grills designed specifically for apartment complexes, hotels, country clubs, schools, fire stations, or any other communal areas. Because commercial-grade, multi-user grills are built to withstand extra use and abuse from multiple grillers of varying experience levels, property managers can confidently install them without worrying about the grill quickly breaking down. Grills in this category carry a multi-user application warranty from the manufacturer.


  • Configuration

  • The way a gas grill is arranged in your outdoor setting. Freestanding grills that can be moved around your backyard on a cart and built-in grills that are installed directly into an outdoor kitchen island are the most common gas grill configurations. We also carry post-mount (or pedestal) grills, which remain fixed in one spot, along with portable models best used for camping or tailgating.


  • Conversion Kit

  • A set of equipment used to convert certain grills from natural gas to propane, or vice versa. Conversion must be performed by a licensed professional. Not all grills can be converted from one fuel type to another, and the warranty for some can be voided if conversion is attempted.


  • Cooking Grate/ Grill Grate

  • The actual cooking surface of the grill, typically arranged as a series of parallel metal rods. When hot, the grates transfer heat to your food and provide those beautiful sear marks everyone craves. Gas grill grates are typically made with high grades of stainless steel or cast iron.


  • Direct Cooking

  • A cooking technique that places food directly over the heat source. In the case of gas grill, this is done by putting your food above a lit burner, generally on high heat.


  • Drip Pan

  • A container that catches grease and drippings that result from grilling. Drip pans can be removed and washed, making cleanup easier.


  • Exterior Material

  • The exterior material of a grill covers everything on its outer body, including the lid, control panel, and housing. Stainless steel (of varying quality) is the most common type of exterior material found across our gas grill selection, though a handful of models use cast aluminum in the outer body.


  • Flame Tamer

  • The barrier between the burners and cooking grids inside a gas grill. A good flame tamer system will help keep flare-ups to a minimum and shield the burners from dripping marinades and sauces, which can cause damage when left on their surface. Flame tamers also help evenly spread heat across the cooking surface, and they enhance taste by catching drippings and vaporizing them into flavorful smoke.


  • Flash Tubes

  • A backup ignition method that allows you to fire up your grill if your primary ignition system fails. Flash tubes extend from your grill surface down to the burners, and using them is easy as turning the gas on, placing a lit match near the top of the tube, and letting it suck the flame to the burners.


  • Flat Top Gas Grill

  • Grills with a large, flat cooking surface instead of grates. Also known as a gas griddle, teppanyaki, or hibachi.


  • Freestanding Gas Grill

  • Grills that are mounted on a stand or cart. They can be moved from one location to another if needed.


  • Fuel Type

  • Gas grills come in 2 fuel types: propane and natural gas. They’re similar in cost, so the fuel type that’s best for you likely depends on whether you already have a natural gas line installed in your home and if you prefer the portability of propane grills.


  • Grease Pan

  • See drip pan.


  • Grilling Surface BTU

  • The combined BTU rating of all burners used to heat grilling surfaces on a BBQ pit.


  • Heat Zone Separators

  • Components placed between burners in your grill to isolate specific temperature zones, allowing you to cook different foods at the same time. For instance, you can create a searing zone right next to an area designated for delicate items that need lower temperatures. Simply put, heat zone separators give you better temperature control and versatility while grilling.


  • Igniter

  • The device used to ignite the burners in a gas grill. See Ignition Type below.


  • Ignition Type

  • There are four primary ignition types among gas grills: single spark, continuous spark, flame thrower, and hot surface. The main difference between each method is the kind of igniter used, with certain types like hot surface ignition being more reliable and effective than others.


  • Indirect Cooking

  • A cooking technique that doesn’t place food in direct contact with the heat source. For gas grills, you can cook indirectly by positioning food on a low-heat or unlit burner, cranking up an adjacent burner to high heat, and closing the lid.


  • Infrared Main Burners

  • Burners that use safe infrared radiation rather than the convection cooking system found in traditional gas grills. Instead of heating the air around your meat, infrared burners send out heat waves that travel in a straight line until they reach the food. These burners tend to preheat quickly, cook food faster, and provide even heat for all-over searing.


  • Insulated Grill Jacket

  • A protective covering that’s necessary for most grills built into a combustible island, which can catch fire from the heat of the grill. To be as safe as possible and avoid the cost of an insulated jacket, we recommend you never build your island from combustibles to begin with.


  • On Post Gas Grill

  • Grills mounted on posts. They're typically seen in public parks, campgrounds, apartment complexes, and sometimes even at beaches.


  • Portable Gas Grill

  • Small grills that are built for travel. These lightweight grills are typically used on camping trips, at the beach, or for tailgating.


  • Power Burner

  • Additional burners that have higher heat outputs than traditional side burners. Power burners are great for boiling large amounts of water, and they typically hold larger pots and pans than a traditional side burner can. They have higher BTU ratings, which make them more versatile than a conventional side burner.


  • Rear Rotisserie Burner

  • Also known as a back burner, these are infrared burners usually located at the back of a grill. When coupled with a rotisserie, these burners create mouthwatering, slow-cooked dishes.


  • Regulator

  • The part of your propane grill setup that controls the flow of gas from the propane tank to the heating element within your grill. Regulators are typically sold with the hose that actually pumps propane to your grill burners.


  • Rotisserie kit

  • An accessory set that allows you to roast meat by rotating it rotisserie-style above a grill’s cooking surface. These kits include a spit rod, forks for holding food in place, a counterbalance, and a motor to power it all (some Luxury grills have integrated motors).


  • Sear Burner/Station

  • Usually in the form of ceramic infrared side burners, sear stations offer direct, high-heat searing. They’re among the best ways to recreate restaurant-quality steak in your backyard.


  • Side Burner

  • An additional burner attached to your grill cart or installed in your BBQ island. Smaller than power burners and often used like a conventional stovetop with normal pots and pans, side burners give you the versatility to steam, fry, and sauté sides or smaller food items.


  • Smoker box

  • An accessory that lets you smoke with flavored wood chips in your gas grill. Some grills come with a dedicated box or drawer for wood chips, while others can be outfitted with a separate smoker box accessory. Both options pair the mouth-watering flavor of smoked food with the ease of gas grilling.


  • Spring-Assisted Hood

  • A grill hood that includes a lightweight spring designed to make lifting easy. Spring-assisted hoods are a notable feature of many Luxury grills.


  • Wood Chips

  • Small pieces of wood used to smoke food on gas grills. They can be placed in a smoker box or a foil packet over a low-heat burner to produce delicious, smoky flavors within a grill.