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Grills and smokers: Great options for July 4 and beyond

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Young boy learning to use barbecue tongs with sausages

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It’s official: It’s grilling season, and Independence Day is coming up fast. Now is the time to plan a big, patriotic, outdoor feast, using the irreplaceable flavor of charcoal, smoke and good old-fashioned fire. Whether it’s a smoky sausage smorgasbord or a healthy, weeknight breast of chicken for one, there’s a grill or smoker for any kind of household or budget. And if an open flame intimidates you, know this: You have alternatives. Nowadays, traditional charcoal cookers compete with electric grills that can fit on a countertop.

Here you’ll find a roundup of top-rated options to bring that sizzle, and all from brands and retailers Americans trust, such as Weber, Walmart, Cuisinart, George Foreman and Home Depot.

Smoker for small spaces: Smokey Mountain 14-inch cooker and smoker

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Weber/Walmart


Need big flavor for small groups? Consider this smoker, barely longer than a large hero sandwich. The Smokey Mountain 14-inch smoker fetches reviewer praise for ease of use, simple cleanup and effective smoking action. Like any good smoker, it can maintain a temperature for as many hours as it takes to get the flavor barbecue lovers crave. Perhaps best of all: It’s American-made.


Smoker for beginners: Masterbuilt MES 130B digital electric smoker

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Masterbuilt via Lowes


No charcoal, no propane, no experience, no problem. Meet the Masterbuilt MES 130B digital electric smoker, which promises competition-ready results, even for barbecue greenhorns. A side-loading door allows for easy addition of wood chips. And a roomy interior with four racks allows for six (!!!) chickens, two turkeys, four racks of ribs, or four pork butts.


Reliable and versatile grill: Spirit E-210 gas grill

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Weber


You’ve likely seen this grill at a dozen backyard functions. Designed to fit on a small patio or balcony, the popular¬†Weber Spirit E-210 gas grill nonetheless has two roomy burners that can easily handle a half-dozen burgers at a time. Two sturdy side tables hold fixings or seasonings close at hand, and six hooks on the ends can store all the grilling instruments you need. Propane refills are a snap, and a gas-powered side burner even lets you cook up a barbecue sauce while you grill.


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