Gas or Charcoal?

People often ask us, should I get a gas grill or a charcoal grill?  To me, the answer is easy. Both.

I have both because as often as I grill, I get a good amount of use out of each. However, for someone looking to only have one grill, there are a few things to consider about each style.

My favorite type of grilling is over charcoal;

a mixture of both lump and briquets.

Gas simply cannot compete with the smoky, earthy flavors you get from charcoal. I also love the temperature range and versatility of charcoal, and it’s easy to set up charcoal fires in different configurations for different styles of cooking whether you are searing over direct heat or smoking over indirect heat. On the other hand, charcoal is more work to set up and is not as quick to get grilling. Also, the charcoal can be dirty, and you have to think about ash disposal.

Gas grills are clean, efficient

and easy to use.

I use my gas grill a lot when I’m in a hurry or cooking small amounts of food. Gas grills allow for quick use; there is no waiting for charcoal to light and reach appropriate temperature. You can uncover your grill, turn on the gas and ignite the burners  (which is generally reduced to the press of a button). This is especially nice when I’m cooking for small groups or just myself because there is no wasted fuel source.

When you’re done cooking on a gas grill, clean up is easy as well. Simply brush your grate clean, wait for the grill to cool and cover it up. You still get a great grilled flavor from a gas grill, but it’s not quite the same as on charcoal. I also find that although there are several burners with high and low settings, the temperature range and control isn’t as broad as that on a charcoal grill.

The Bottom Line

No matter your choice, gas and charcoal have their advantages and disadvantages.  Choose whichever one makes sense to you and your needs. For a casual griller who doesn’t want the mess, labor, and smell of a charcoal grill, I’d recommend a good gas grill. Do not skimp on the size and BTUs if you plan to entertain. If it is for an apartment, single person or small family you can get by with a smaller gas grill.

For a more die-hard grilling fan that enjoys entertaining and doesn’t mind the extra effort, a charcoal grill is a great solution. Over the past few years, technology involved with charcoal grilling has made it much more simple. I have a Weber Performer charcoal grill and it makes the charcoal experience very enjoyable.

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