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Gas Vs. Charcoal

The gas vs. Charcoal debate has been going on for a long time, and will probably continue for a long time to come. Some grillmeisters prefer charcoal, and others swear by gas. Both types of grills have their advantages and disadvantages. If you're undecided which grill to get, you should probably know the pros and cons of gas and charcoal.

Gas Grills:

Convenience is the one word that probable best describes cooking with gas. A gas grill is quick, and easy to light. You don't have to try to light a pile of stubborn charcoal, all you do is turn the gas on, and push a button. It's that easy. Gas grills also heat up faster than charcoal. Charcoal can take 30-45 minutes to reach the proper temperature. A gas grill will take only a few minutes to reach the proper grilling temperature. Gas grills are also more consistent. You set the temperature that you want, and then don't worry about it. With charcoal, you'll be constantly trying to guess how hot the coals are. A gas grill cleans up easily too. You don't have to worry about dumping the ash after you're done cooking, simply scrub the grates with a grill brush, and clean out the drip pans after the grill cools down.

Charcoal Grills:

Charcoal grills aren't about convenience. Charcoal grills are all about flavor, tradition, and the entire grilling experience. Many people will turn their back on the convenience of gas for the experience of cooking on a charcoal grill. Lighting up the charcoal, letting the coals burn down to the proper temperature, juggling the food between the hot and cool parts of the grill... all of these are part of what some people like about grilling. Another advantage to charcoal grilling is the flavor. The smoke rises from the charcoal, infusing the food with that wonderful, smoky flavor. Some gas grills have flavor bars, which vaporize the dripping fat, and produce smoke, but let's face it... would you prefer your food flavored with smoke from a nice chunk of hickory wood, or the smoke from vaporizing beef fat? Price is another advantage of charcoal grills. You can get a basic charcoal grill for around $30-$50. Your low end gas grill will start at around $150-$200.

Weigh the pros and cons gas and charcoal when you're looking for your grill. Do you want the rich, smoky flavor from charcoal, or the convenience of gas. Do you want to start grilling quickly, or do you want to wait for the charcoal. Once you've decided, you'll be able to choose the grill that's right for you.

Submitted by:

Tim Sousa

For a wide selection of both gas and charcoal grills, grilling tips, and more, visit Tim's website. Patio Grilling.


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