Thursday, April 2, 2009

Gas or charcoal grills

That is the question this time of year isn't it? A gas or charcoal grill? Well if your already a pro griller probably not, but for the ones just getting started it can be, there are a lot of reasons to consider. So if you're just beginning to look into a barbecue or grill then read on.
Just about every pro seems to hands down prefer charcoal vs gas, why: that's what we'll discuss here. The number one reason is taste, most claim you can taste the gas in the meat from the propane, whereas the charcoal leaves a nice smoky flavor and of course you can always add wood chips for extra flavor. Grilling chicken, grilling fish, even grilling hot dogs seems to taste better.
Second of course is plain old Nostalgia. Nothing brings ya back to childhood like smelling the charcoal briquettes firing up.
Third is they claim to be able to adjust the heat easier than a gas grill, personally they must be awesome pros to do that.
Of course a charcoal grill can be a lot less expensive than a gas barbecue. But as I said the pros seem to prefer them. So what's the downside? Why don't the beginners speak out about using charcoal grills? Well there can a lot of snags on your way to that first successful barbecue:
1. Don't plan on going right out and firing up the grill with 10 minutes before dinner. Getting charcoal ready can take up to 45minutes, maybe longer if you're a beginner. They never seem to heat up fast enough when everyone is waiting.
2. With the use of lighter fluid it can be dangerous, especially if you have already lit the briquettes once. Relighting can be a pain because either the fluid either burns right up in a huge flare up(known to take many eyebrows), or the fluid evaporates in the heat before it can soak in properly.
3. Charcoal grills are either too cold if not started right or not enough coals (try at least enough to cover the area of food with a layer of coals plus a little more). Or they can burn hotter than a gas grill and need a lot more attention. No set and forget it.
4. Of course once your done... I've never been able to turn off the coals, you have to wait for them to cool, usually a few hours or overnight. And there's no reusing them, you use half a bag of charcoal for 2 burgers, you've used half a bag of charcoal. Then there's where to store the briquettes and lighter fluid safely.
Overall using a charcoal grill can require a lot more practice, time, and attention then using a gas grill. But overtime, the more experience you get the more you'll probably think like the pros. So if you want to have a barbecue in the next couple hours go with gas, if you have time to make a few mistakes, and eat a few cold dinners, start with a charcoal grill.
Later I will talk about ways to ensure a better first time with a charcoal grill, and why the pros are also probably cringing at my several mentions of using lighter fluid.
p.s. Is it barbeCue if it' single and barbeQues if it's plural?

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