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Aug 18, 2009 07:01 PM

Using CHARCOAL on a PROPANE barbecue. Is this crazy?

I've heard some people do it. I'm wondering how safe it is and how big a mess it makes. I have a pretty nice bbq that I supplement with a smoker box to get the wood. I'd really rather not mess it up. Thing is though, I have this neighbour that must throw chicken on their charcoal 'cue every 2nd or 3rd night. The aromas just about make me crazy. I don't want to buy another grill. Can I get away with tossing some charcoal in there without heavy consequences?

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  1. Folks buy propane grills because they are convenient - easier to use than charcoal. So while biting my tongue I have to ask - why not throw your chicken on your propane grill?

    I am a big charcoal/Weber fan - I love to throw a bunch of chicken on the grill - eat some and freeze the rest for later.

    For about $50 you can buy an 18inch Weber Charcoal Grill and then you can make wonderful BBQ.

    If you put charcoal in your propane grill you will make a big mess and really F up your grill.

    1. Whenever you use something for a purpose for which it was not designed you run the risk of damaging the item or possibly causing injury to yourself. A baseball bat is not a hammer is an example --- I would not use charcoal in a gas grill...The grill is not designed to do that...Where would the ashes go??? Would the charcoal damage the surface it was resting on?? Etc. Etc. --- Long term I think you would damage your gas grill...Suggest you check out Weber Charcoal grills...they have several sizes...are inexpensive...and do a good job at grilling.

      1. I don't know the feasibility of using charcoal in your propane grill (having only ever used charcoal myself), but I'm inclined to think rich may be right. If you just want an occasional charcoal fix, but don't want to buy a full-sized grill that takes up as much space as the one you already have, now should be prime time to find a little mini-Weber (Smokey Joe) at seasonal clearance prices. I'm constantly surprised by what I can get done on that little bugger. Alternatively, you could just stop by my house whenever you have a craving and I'll fire mine up. Or maybe we can set up an exchange program - Smokey doesn't get out much and might enjoy a weekend in Cabbagetown. ;)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Wahooty

          Well I had to ask. You hear these kooky things and, well, I have to wonder, hmmm, is this the too good to be true easy solution to my problem?

          Wahooty: Having Scarborough roots (note blonde hair with the improer attachment) I'm sure we can set up a Smokey Exchange Program. I'll get in touch via e soon.

        2. Have you considered dropping some charcoal in your smoker box? I certainly wouldn't put charcoal on top of the flavorizor bars - all the ash would fall and probably clog the burners, but it seems like a few lumps of charcoal in the smoker box would add some flavor without really overheating the grill and the box would contain the ash...

          2 Replies
          1. re: jzerocsk

            Charcoal is used for heat not flavor. You'll get "some" flavor from coals, but most of that "charcoal taste" that people like actually comes from your meat drippings incinerating on the hot coals and sending up a bit of flavorful smoke. The coals themselves aren't going to do a thing for flavor in a smoker box. You need WOOD in the smoker box.

            1. re: JayL

              They need only sit in the smoker box so they don't ash below. There's no need for a lid.

          2. My mother, who came from Eastern Europe told me that when the government relocated farmers whose property had been nationalized to city housing developments there were reports of people who had cooking fires in their bathtubs. So you're not the first to think outside the [grill] box.