tutions often aren’t noted in the product tion is started up; and the gas line, tank (not individually heat controlled.
information. If in doubt, ask to have specifi- included) and electrical wires are routed safe- Extras include two ball-bearing drawers
cations provided. (Costco provides this infor- ly away from the hotter underside. and two cupboards for storage, a built-in
mation on the outside of each box.) It’s best if gas grills are designed with removable smoker tray, a full-length remov-
inverted, V-shaped stainless burner protectors able stainless steel grease tray, an insulated
Ample cooking surface (flame tamers). The flame tamers not only PVC cover and a stainless steel lift-off serv-
Of equal importance is the total cooking radiate heat, they also shield the burners from ing tray. Grills also come with the 100 per-
area. If you grill often for many people or like food and grease to prevent clogging. And cent Costco guarantee, a toll-free consumer
to grill entire meals, a large cooking surface is they are instant flavor enhancers due to the number (1-800-913-8999) and a $100 value-
preferred. Many grills are designed in the savory smoke created. added rotisserie burner package.
400-square-inch range. The Costco model Beware of grills that offer lava rocks, Natural-gas conversion kits are available
has a combined 640 inches of primary cook- because food drippings can pool in them and at costco.com.
ing surface (32 by 20 inches) for its three create flare-ups—and then charred food. The Finally, consider this: Costco’s Kirkland
stainless steel main burner heating zones, plus Costco grill features stainless burner protectors. Signature stainless steel gas grill comes pre-
an additional 224 square inches of cooking As for the heating units, grills with just assembled!
space when the warming-rack area is added. one or two burners may produce hot and cold Costco’s grill is certainly the real deal.
The issue of heating capability, mea- cooking areas. The Kirkland Signature grill’s And to think that this beauty is just a ware-sured in British thermal units (Btu), has three burners, running front to back, cover the house visit away. C
become quite the conundrum for consumers, surface evenly. Each burner can be individu-withmanufacturersjumpingoveroneanoth- ally controlled. Or, if different foods are
er in a race to add ever more. Do not get hung cooking at the same time, each area can be
up with extravagant, pie-in-the-sky claims of
excessive Btu. In actuality, too many Btu translate into burned food for novice grillers. The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Assoc- The inner workings of a superior grill
iation suggests 20,000 Btu for portable grills,
30,000 to 50,000 Btu for stand-alones and
50,000 to 100,000 Btu for larger three-burn-er models like Costco’s. It was determined
through independent laboratory testing that
Costco’s grill needs 73,000 Btu to maintain a
temperature in excess of 500 degrees F.
(when the outdoor temperature is at 50), so
this is what is offered.
KIRKLAND SIGNATURE GRILL
Safety issues are always a Costco priority. The Kirkland Signature grill is put through
rigorous factory and independent laboratory
analysis. Each grill is factory tested for regulator and valve leaks; the push-and-turn igni-
Costco extras vs. a retail model*
Costco The retail model
✔ Smoker tray ✘ Not available
✔ Rotisserie system ✘ Sold separately
✔ Grill cover ✘ Sold separately
✔ Two drawers ✘ Not available
✔ Serving tray ✘ Not available
*For this comparison, we looked at the Kirkland Signature grill
and a comparable model at a national home-improvement store.
Costco buyers went the extra distance to other components that are exposed to heat
include top-quality parts and materials in or the weather.
the Kirkland Signature grill. Jim Nelson, In contrast, in the competition’s grill
Costco’s grill buyer, compared the Costco these parts are made of aluminum, powder-grill, above left, with one offered by a compet- coated steel, porcelain-coated cast iron and
ing warehouse club. Here’s the inside look. other similar materials.
In the Kirkland Signature model, the inte- The difference? Stainless steel stands
rior parts are stainless steel. This includes the up to heat and the weather longer than other
burners, the firebox beneath the burners, the metals. Coated metals are subject to rust,
grease tray, the housing along the sides and which ruins the grill—and the meal.—PV