Recently, I had to replace my favorite and very old barbecue. I was overwhelmed with all the selections between traditional charcoal grills, smokers or gas grills. Choosing this barbecue is as important as my kitchen stove because we use it year-round. I wanted to be sure I had what I really wanted in this important piece of cooking equipment. My top criteria included taste with an authentic barbecue flavor. It also had to be hassle-free, low-maintenance and one that had temperature control so I can prepare several items at the same time.

Here is what I found: My old charcoal barbecue, although not convenient or hassle free, gave everything I grilled that great outdoor barbecue flavor. I certainly had to think more about timing since I couldn’t regulate temperature and I had to commit to cleaning the grill. So, of my three criteria, the real barbecue flavor took precedence over anything else. I couldn’t part with the traditional barbecue, so I’ll continue to scrub the grill and buy the charcoal . . . but all the while, I’ll love every morsel created.

Maxine Turner is the president of Cuisine Unlimited and contributes monthly blogs about food, catering, trends and more to saltlakemagazine.com