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GAS vs CHARCOAL

What's the point of using a gas grill? The only thing it does is leave grill marks; otherwise, it's no different than using the broiler in your stove. OTOH, charcoal (with or without wood chips) imparts a distinct flavor to food.

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  1. Charcoal is far superior to gas, IMO but there are other considerations. In many areas charcoal is not allowed because of fire codes. Where I live, the only thing allowed is electric..no charcoal or gas. I use a few wood chips to get a flame and some char..and have great success cooking steaks with a char and still rare. I also customized my grill so the actual grill is closer to the heating element.

    Both electric and standard propane hit about 700f at grill level. We tested using a hand held laser thermometer gun. Charcoal can get considerably hotter...hotter is better. With wood chips, I got my electric over 900f at the cooking surface.

    Some people like the convenience of propane and electric, but if I could, I'd choose charcoal every time. I don't mind the wait and actually findsitting by the fire relaxing. Watching the electric element heat up doesn't offer the same experience..;)

    1. I use my gas grill for more than just grilling. I often use it like an oven in the summer to avoid heating the house up. When it's still hitting 110 at the end of September, the last thing my house needs is more heat. It's also less expensive than using charcoal (or my electric oven for that matter). A tank of propane lasts us a very long time. The grill still imparts a flavor that you can't get from using the broiler in the oven. It also gets much hotter than my oven. I also use wood chips when I want a smokier flavor.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Jen76

        Why are you even outside grilling if the temp is 110? That's got to be worse than staying in an air conditioned house. Is the flavor you're talking about due to the propane? I use 'quick light' charcoal and know that if I don't wait until the flames die out, the food will have a slight lighter fluid taste.

        1. re: mucho gordo

          As I said above, it keeps the heat out of the house. If I stayed in the house to avoid temps over 100, I'd be inside for 4-5 months out of the year here in Phoenix. I think the flavor probably comes from charring the fat on the meat. There just seems to be difference between meat cooked in hot air, and meat that's been kissed by flames.

        2. re: Jen76

          agreed, but sometimes I need the charcoal grill, like when I'm roasting chiles in the fall or cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. I have both and would really, really hate to have to give either one up.

        3. I can get my gas grill much much hotter than I can with my oven.

          1. I love my Weber grill. I can't imagine giving it up, even for the convenience of gas. My neighbor can grill an entire meal with his gas grill in the time it takes me to get set up my charcoal grill, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Nothing beats a ribeye steak with that charcoal coating... mmmm!

            1. I have to 100% agree that a gas grill is nothing more than moving a gas stove/oven outdoors. Pointless. If you really want to GRILL, charcoal is the only way to go.