Charcoal vs. Gas Grills

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The eternal question between using charcoal versus gas for grilling has been raging on for several years.  This has become more complex since grills have been designed to capitalize on the benefits of either charcoal or gas grills. 

The heart of the question is whether charcoal grills produce much better tasting food than gas grills.  Now, there is no easy answer to that since consumers may not be aware or even meticulous about taste.  There are also some foods which don’t necessarily taste differently when they are cooked in a charcoal grill as opposed to being cooked in a gas-powered grill.

charocoal vs gas grills

People who have delved into the matter, point to food that takes more cooking time than others as the deal-breaker.  An example of this is steak.  When it comes to hotdogs or hamburgers, they can cook in about 10 minutes, with constant flipping.  Not so with steak — especially thick ones.  The longer cooking time needed to cook steak means that smoke from the charcoal gets into the steak, adding to its flavor. 

When it comes to gas grills, they may be designed to catch the juice of the food, vaporize it and return it to the food.  However, what is returned to the food is more like burning grease rather than the food’s original juice.  (If you want a complicated life, ask a chemist or food technologist about what transpires during this process. )

Nevertheless, some people would rather look at the convenience and features attached to a grill rather than get all worked up about the outcome, particularly the taste, of the food cooked.  In terms of convenience, gas grills are considered more convenient than charcoal. 

Gas grills can easily be used by working people who don’t have the luxury of time to wait for charcoal to burn before they can eat.  Furthermore, gas isn’t messy, unlike charcoal.  You also don’t have to keep adding charcoal when cooking for a party.  When the party is over, and you feel exhausted, you don’t have to empty an ash tray.

Then there’s also the matter of heat control.  Gas grills afford you that, while charcoal doesn’t.  Gas grills are also usually large so they need a lot of space.  No problem with placing them outdoors.  Besides, most, if not all have wheels so they can be moved anywhere.  Gas grills, likewise, produce flare-ups so they are better placed in areas where such flare-ups are unlikely to cause large fires, most likely areas without curtains or other materials that can easily catch fire.  On the other hand, a lot of charcoal grills are less heavy and don’t have any open flame.

In the end, all these features amount to nothing if you consider the cost.  Gas grills are expensive while charcoal grills are relatively not.  That is, if you consider the grills alone.  But if you take into account the source of heat, charcoal versus gas, buying charcoal to cook the same amount of food with gas-powered grills comes out more expensive.  The only way to keep down costs would be to limit the times you use your grill.

Given the pros and cons of using gas or charcoal, it is really up to the person, his or her lifestyle, circumstances and bank account, to decide.  A single person who may opt to have friends over for the weekend may choose a charcoal grill, which is in itself less costly. 

Perhaps for a change, instead of requiring friends to bring in a bottle of champagne, he or she can ask for a bag of charcoal each.  Meanwhile, a family can opt for a gas grill so they can have a picnic, even if it’s just in their own backyard.