Cooking for a big crowd on a small grill is the kind of thing BBQ chefs have stress dreams about. The food you can cook, the people you can feed and even the cooking techniques you can use depend on choosing the right size grill for you!
So, you might ask — what size grill do I need? Let’s take a look at how you can figure that out.
How Much Cooking Space Do I Need?
Start by thinking about how many people you want the capacity to feed. Do you rarely have more than a few people over, or do you love hosting big cookouts? Get a rough number in mind of the maximum number of guests you’d like to cook for. This will determine the approximate size of grill you need.
Here’s a general rule of thumb: If you’re cooking for a handful of people, then a smaller grill like the Chimp Tailgater Pellet Grill is more than enough space to suit your needs. . If you’re making food for small gatherings of 5-8, then something like the OG Grilla, or Primate could be perfect for you, depending on which fuel type you prefer.
For those who like having larger cookouts of 8+ people, you’ll likely want a super-sized grill like the Silverbac. And if you’re a true BBQ party animal who wants to cook for big crowds (or lots of meat), look into our grill extensions and jerky racks to take you up to 800 square inches and above!
Then, look at our BBQ food planner to get a basic idea of how much food you’ll need to cook for each guest. These numbers can vary a lot according to people’s appetites, ages and other factors. Just use the estimates as a jumping-off point!
Comparing Square Inches
Now, head over to our cooking size comparison for more details on how some of our top models stack up. These helpful infographics make it easy to visualize how much food you can cook on a Grilla Grill. (Hint: It’s a lot!)
Let’s look at an example of cooking for a max of 15 people, with two burgers per person to be safe. Looking at how many burgers each Grilla model holds, you’ll see that a Silverbac with an extension is the only model that can cook 30 patties at once.
However, maybe you’re hosting an all-day shindig and can cook in multiple batches with a slightly smaller grill. In that case, our kamado grill could be an amazing option, thanks to its ability to keep a constant heat for hours on end. Just remember: Like buying clothes, it’s usually better to get something that has a little extra room than something that might put you in a tight squeeze.
You also might need extra space if you want to experiment with direct and indirect heat grilling. In charcoal cooking, many pitmasters like to create direct and indirect heat zones that can cook at different temperatures on the same grill. Fortunately, Grilla offers an even easier and space-efficient way to do it with the Kong split diffuser!
Gimme Some Space: Expanding the Cooking Surface
Most models of grills have optional features to create a bigger cooking surface. The simplest and most popular are extension racks. These add-on racks are easy to install inside your grill, and they can give you a serious boost in cooking capacity.
The Grilla jerky rack is the biggest and baddest extension rack around, with a whopping 840 extra inches of cooking space! Three slide-out racks make it easy to access anything you’re cooking. With that kind of space, you’ll have room to feed the whole neighborhood if you’re so inclined.
Need some extra work space on your grill? Add a front shelf to make prep a snap. Chop your veggies, store your grill sauces — hell, taste a whiskey flight as you grill if you want to! There are no rules when you’re in the jungle.
Your Grill’s Footprint
Think about the footprint your grill will have on your patio. Remember that the grill should be a safe distance from walls or furniture. You’ll also need enough room for people to comfortably move around the patio without bumping into the grill (or getting in the pitmaster’s way). If you have a WiFi pellet grill, make sure there’s room for it in an area with a WiFi signal.
Our original Grilla pellet smoker model is a great choice if you need a grill with a smaller footprint, as is the Chimp. Extension racks also do a fantastic job of increasing your grilling surface without giving it an ape-sized footprint!
Meanwhile, if you plan on cooking at BBQ competitions, tailgates or camping trips, you need a grill or pellet smoker that will fit comfortably in your vehicle. A compact model with folding legs like the Chimp is perfect if you’re often grilling on the go.
OK — so we’ve established that size does matter. Still, it’s just one important part of choosing the right grill for you. See our ultimate grill buying guide to learn about the rest of the key factors you need to know!