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May 26, 2009 10:56 AM

Charcoal vs Gas grill?

I am ready to upgrade from my portable charcoal grill with chrome wires that is too wide apart.

I want cast iron grates, mainly.. I think my chicken will come out alot nicer and less flames hitting it.

I have read charcoal has better flavor?

I use a torch to light charcoal so it is not that slow to prepare.

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  1. yes, charcoal (especially natural lump) will give you a better flavor than a gas grill.

    You can dig around here and find several threads on the topic.

    1. As mentioned there are NUMEROUS threads on the topic -- here's my reply in one of the latest: .

      "I think my chicken will come out alot nicer and less flames hitting it."

      If you have a small grill, you really can't escape the licking flames. Cast iron grates will not help you. But, by upgrading to a grill with more surface area, you'll be able grill indirectly (charcoal on one side, food on the other).

      Get the Weber 22" One Touch Gold -- it's a no-brainer...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Joe Blowe

        Thanks, good point on the size and escaping the flames.

        can I get some input

        bare cast iron vs porcelain coated?

        I am comparing a charcoal only with cast iron grate
        charcoal and gas side by side unit, the only thing stopping me from getting this is that it has porcelain coated grates.. (which is an upgrade I suppose) I think I prefer bare cast iron because it seems they last forever if kept well oiled.

      2. Charcoal all the way, baby...burns so much better than gas! I have a very cheapo-poleapo charcoal grill that serves us so well...if your chicken is burning, you need to adjust! The only problem I constantly have is that I have to keep replacing the ash pan (where the charcoal sits)..but for $10 a pop every 9 months or so, no big deal. I live in FL where you can grill year 'round...though I do know of a few 'hounds who shovel their way to the grill during the winter in northern climates!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Val

          Charcoal or I use hard wood from my property. Sorry, the snow where I grill was over my head from shoveling off the roof. In Maine, Dairy Queen and grilling are seasonal, except for some gas grill reprobates.
          Oh, yeh, got 2 Weber kettles and a Brinkman smoker.

        2. You should look at a Weber one-touch charcoal grill, I have had one for years, I replace the grill every year for $15-20 and it keeps on cooking. I normally just bank the charcoal to one side, use that for direct grilling and then finish on the other indirect side.

          3 Replies
          1. re: duck833

            if you're talking about the Performer they make a cast iron grill grate set that has hinged flaps on either side of the grate that allows some tending of the coals while leaving the grate in place. i've had the same set-up for about 10 years now.

            1. re: ScubaSteve

              Big Green egg is the best cooker for all foods

              1. re: Freeholdtwsp88

                This guy is stepping up from a Smokey Joe or hibachi -- I think a basic Weber One-Touch is plenty. Not sure Weber makes cast iron grates for the kettles any more.

                The BGE is heavier (140# for a large model, not including the stand) and more expensive ($750, not including the stand) than most folks will ever want to deal with.