HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Gas Grill for High Temperature?

They say that a gas grill won't get the really high temperatures you get with charcoal, but THEY do a lot of talking -- I have always used charcoal but I am thinking about getting a gas grill that I can put on my deck. So, can you get a really good sear on say a pork loin or a butterflied leg of lamb, with a gas grill? How about a thick steak?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I don't know who "they" are but I can easily peg the 650 degree temperature guage on my gas grill so that's pretty damn hot. Searing is no problem.

    1. Agree with Den....I have both...Sometimes gas is alittle more convenient

      1. It depends. I recently borrowed three gas grills so I had more grill space for a large event. One of them was so pitiful that I could keep my hand 1 inch from the grate -- indefinitely. I didn't use that one. The second got hot enough to cook...barely. The third was just as hot as my charcoal grill.

        Will they let you test them out in the store?

        1. Our gas grill can easily reach 650 or 675 with no problems.

          You want higher temp on a gas grill? Throw some grease on the fire. You'll get those flames lapping at your pork loins for all the searing you'll ever want.

          6 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            the high heat you're seeing on the questionable thermometer disappears when you open the lid. But the real advantage is the BTUs per sq/in.

            But I've found that Webers, even the cheapest of them, throw out plenty of heat. I'm sure others do as well. This isn't the 70's, and I would have to think that a grill in the 300-400 dollar price range blast a good amount of heat.

            1. re: tommy

              Yes, I know that opening the grill lid will lower the temp ... that's why you need to get a grease fire going to get a nice char!

              1. re: ipsedixit

                I love your dedication to the grease fire. Is there a story behind it?

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    I thought, perhaps, that you'd witnessed some kind of grease-fire-related culinary tragedy.

                    So you really throw grease onto a fire?

          2. Probably a cheap gas grill won't get you the heat that you want. But a decent quality one will (check the BTUs they can deliver). Dollar for dollar, you'll get more heat from a charcoal grill. Plus you get a bit of smoke flavour. Yum.

            1. We have a Weber Genesis, which is a more expensive choice, but it has been worth it. We originally bought it precisely because I wanted a good sear, was sick of steaks we could barely get char marks on with the previous gas grill. It delivered, and we've never looked back. A couple of years ago I started grilling pizza (a revelation!) and found the Weber to be an excellent pizza oven. It registers almost 750 degrees on its own thermometer; while I don't know if that thermometer is perfectly accurate, I can tell you that the thing gets darned hot--cooks my pizzas to blistered perfection in under 5 minutes.

              While I know--and can buy--all the arguments for charcoal over gas, charcoal heat is hard to control (for us, anyway. Last time DH and I tried cooking something on a charcoal grill, we almost came to blows--an exaggeration, but divorce surely entered our minds before we called a truce and went out to eat ). For us, the gas grill is much more practical and the food that comes off it is almost always very tasty--and well-seared! (And the marriage is still intact.)

              13 Replies
              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                Just like any task, cooking on a charcoal grill is only difficult if you are a novice. I do not find the heat hard to control. But I like the story -- I've seen similar incidents, mostly when camping, that have been quite amusing.

                1. re: jeremyn

                  "hard" like designing rocket ships? not, it's not hard like that. but it takes more effort. with respect to the effort, it's more difficult, novice or not.

                  1. re: tommy

                    Once you have some experience, the extra effort is negligible. If I'm grilling steaks, chicken, pork chops, burgers, pizza, vegetables, etc, I never need to add more wood / charcoal. Setting up the initial fire takes 30 seconds, at most.

                    1. re: jeremyn

                      30 seconds? I half load a chimney and it takes a bit more than 30 seconds to get it going. You're amazing! And defy physics!!

                      The extra effort is tangible, and quantifiable. Anyone who suggests otherwise is living in a world where charcoal heats up more quickly than propane. And that world isn't here on planet Earth.

                      But I respect your opinion and will die to ensure that you have the right to type it.

                      1. re: tommy

                        I use a Weber gas grill but the one thing about charcoal is that you can custom design your hot and cool zones for indirect cooking better than I can on my 3 burner Weber Silver.

                        These new gas grills with the IR burners look interesting.

                        1. re: scubadoo97

                          I can set up three zones on my grill with the twist of 3 knobs. Four zones if I count the rack over the grates.

                          1. re: tommy

                            I have 3 zones and knobs like you but I guess my problem is with chicken. I have to do it completely over indirect heat as even the lowest setting will cause flare ups and burned skin if you don't watch it like a hawk

                            1. re: scubadoo97

                              that's when i leave one zone off.

                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                the two items jfood would suggest:

                                1 - Ignite all three zones and immediately turn off the middle zone
                                2 - Trim as much fat as possible from the chicken

                                Then you place the chicken over the non-heated zone.

                                1. re: jfood

                                  Thanks jfood. Due to quantity I find that any one zone too small so I usually just keep the back burner on and put the chicken pieces over the unlit two thirds. I do start will all 3 zones on high to heat up the grill then turn off the front 2 and add the chicken. I'm able to work it out but it's just a little more work than it could be. I'll turn the middle and front on until I hear some crackle and then cut it off. Do this a few time. I don't want flabby skin but don't want blackened. I sometimes just wait until near the end and then put all the burners on low and keep um turning to get a nice a golden brown color. Do this when adding BBQ sauce too.

                                  Back to the OP's question, I'll say my gas grill, a Weber Silver B, gets hot enough for anything I need to do on it. Price was under $500 at that time. I chose a gas over a charcoal grill and I'm happy with my decision. Over ten years and it's still going strong. Only needing to replace the starter and flavorizer bars twice in that time.

                                  The new grills with the IR burners either as a back wall burner or some that use IR as the main burners with a diffusion plate over the burners for even heating look good but they start getting very expensive as well.

                          2. re: tommy

                            ok, of course... it takes more *time* to heat up. But only 30 seconds of extra "effort."

                            1. re: jeremyn

                              And I tend to find that if I light the fire before I start my prep work in the kitchen, that by the time I'm ready to grill, the fire is hot. Really, the only way propane is truly faster is if you wait until you're ready to put meat on the grill to actually start the fire.

                              1. re: Indirect Heat

                                Like Indirect Heat, I find that charcoal isn't as inconvenient as people seems sometimes to think, provided you can have the coals ready to hand for pouring into a chimney. Prep work typically takes at least a long as the coals take to heat. One other thing, though: clearing away ashes is no fun, but I got the Weber Kettle with a removable bucket attached underneath, and that really simplifies clearing the ashes.

                  2. I have the Weber Summit 670 and it has a separate sear burner. This grill has ten burners in all, 6 cooking, 1 sear, 1 side for cooking sauces, 1 smoker burner and 1 rotisserie infrared burner. Believe me, it can get hot under the hood. I don't think you have to look at something this elaborate but check out other Weber grills. They do make a quality product. Good luck.

                    1. Have a look at infrared grills if you are looking for searing prowess.

                      1. I have a gas and a charcoal grill, both Webers. I have had several other brands before, all cheaper, but found that they only last a couple of years before they're uncleanable, corroded, etc. Get Webers! (They have good warranties, too.)
                        As to how they both cook, searing is no problem on a decent gas grill, In fact, the bigger challenge sometimes is getting a gas grill to be cool enough. Not every gas grill can hold 275 or 350 degree over a longer period. Charcoal is easier that way (with the Weber) because you can regulate the air going into the chamber, which tells the coals how hot to cook.
                        One more thing: consider getting the Weber gas grill with porcelain coated cast iron grating. Around here, Home Depot was the only place licensed to sell that configuration. I bought mine from Ace Hardware (great people) but their top of the line grating was stainless steel. Bare cast iron is a pain, but coated cast iron works just as well and also resists corrosion. I ended up going to Home Depot to buy their replacement grates, because the stainless, while okay, was not the best.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: Bada Bing

                          Jfood has found that the porcelain coated grates sometimes chip. Has that happened to you?

                          1. re: jfood

                            No, not so far, after a couple of years. Might depend on what kind of flipper/spatula you use.

                            1. re: Bada Bing

                              you are very lucky then. jfood used metal spatulas.


                              1. re: jfood

                                J-I have a Weber Genesis 620 with the porcelain grates. I have never chipped them. HOWEVER, my oldest decided to help clean the grill last summer and she took the grates and cleaned them in the set tub using steel wool, she chipped the grates,

                                1. re: bagelman01

                                  The porcelain wears off under normal use over time, and certainly if aggressive cleaned with any sort of wire brush (even brass). Then rust will form, and they will need to be replaced.

                                  1. re: tommy

                                    ching-ching...exactly what jfood does and exactly what happened.

                                    if you do not use a wire brush to clean them, what do you use?


                                    1. re: jfood

                                      the only option, in my experience, is to not clean them, and keep metal utensils away from them, which is why I didn't buy them more than once.

                                    2. re: tommy

                                      When I bought my Weber Silver B it came with uncoated cast iron grates. I got tired of the cast iron because you can't really keep them seansoned easily. Instructions are to leave food on the grates and burn it off during heating but if you are also burning off the oil coating. They also tended to rust. I replaced them with, gasp, stainless steel grates. They don't hold heat as well but you can scrub the heck out of them with a wire brush and a light coating of oil before food goes on keeps things from sticking.