The Advantages and Disadvantages of Gas and Charcoal Grills
There are many consumers who are not sure whether to get a gas or charcoal grill. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of these grills to help consumers decide what to buy.
Gas or charcoal grill – which one should you get? This is a question that many consumers have been asking for years. While some might think that the difference between these two types of grills is minimal, the truth is that there are certain features that you will not find in a gas grill and vice versa. In a nutshell, gas grills are ideal for beginners because of its ease of use and clean up. On the other hand, charcoal grills are perfect for food enthusiasts who would like to give more flavor to grilled food as its temperatures make it great not only for grilling but also smoking. This is something that you might not be able to achieve with a gas grill.
The main advantage of gas grills is its convenience – you simply turn a knob, adjust the heat source and you are ready to grill. This type of grill uses liquid propane fuel which is stored in refillable tanks. Charcoal grills are not as convenient as gas grills. However, its advantage is that it gives food a smoky flavor. This is something that other types of grills are not able to do. Its hot temperatures can also sear the meat quickly giving it a crusty and caramelized exterior. If you will be shopping for a grill but unsure which one to get, here are the pros and cons of both gas and charcoal grills.
It has been mentioned that the advantage of charcoal grills over gas grills is its ability to impart smoky flavor to meats. This is primarily because of the smoke and radiant heat hot coals produce. There are grills that use flavor bars but even these can’t replace the amazing flavors of charcoal. In fact, many chefs agree that you will not get the same wood-smoked flavor from a gas grill even when using a proper smoke box.
A charcoal grill can reach temperatures of up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. While this factor may not seem attractive to some consumers, there are food enthusiasts who may find this essential. This is because of the fact that it takes extremely high temperatures to sear steak.
Charcoal grills cost less than its gas counterparts – that is unless you are buying one made of titanium. It is also more cost efficient particularly if you need to cook recipes for hours. As every consumer probably knows, charcoal cost less than liquid propane.
It is more portable than gas grills making it ideal to take with you to the park or beach, but this would depend on the size that you will be getting.
If you are interested in using a charcoal grill, keep in mind that it takes time to set it up. It will need around 20 minutes to heat up but that is only the start as preparing the coals might even take longer. It also requires more attention particularly when you are waiting for the coals to get hot. A good strategy for this is leaving empty spaces on the lower grill grate. These spaces will allow you to control it better and let you sear food on the hot spots first before transferring it to cooler parts of the grill.
Cleaning charcoal grills can be more challenging. Aside from that, it also needs to be cleaned more often for it to function properly. This is why its cleanup is one of the main factors that you should consider before deciding to buy this type of grill.
While its temperature is an advantage, it can also be one of its downsides. Its extreme heat is usually handled and controlled best by expert grillers. Because you don’t have knobs to adjust the heat, it will be difficult to go from low to high heat without adding more charcoal. You can also make hot and cool spots on the grill as mentioned earlier but even this takes time and practice.
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Its versatility is perhaps the biggest advantage of a gas grill. It can be used any time of the year unlike charcoal grills which are best used during summer and are usually stored during winter. There are many consumers who prefer this type of grill because it can also roast, bake and even boil water as necessary. This is definitely an advantage as you can do a variety of recipes without having to use your stove.
Gas grills are easy to use. You can ignite it simply with a twist of the valve and the press of a button. It is also just as easy to extinguish fire. This requires less effort than in a charcoal grill where it would take minutes for the charcoal to cool down.
Because the temperature controls allows you to quickly turn the heat off when you’re done grilling, you will be able to easily brush off the left charred residue. It does not use charcoal which means there is no need to dispose ashes or coals. You will also not have to bother about stacking, lighting or smelling starter fuel as it does not require any of these. In fact, a cleanup can be as simple as rubbing the grate with a metal brush.
Gas grills does not impart that much flavor to grilled food which is why taste is perhaps its primary disadvantage. This is true even if you use flavor bars on your gas grill. A gas grill model also cost more than other types of grill including charcoal. Its price usually starts at $150 but if you want to use more features, you will have to spend around $500 for it.
While cleaning it is much easier, maintenance can be more expensive because of the parts it requires such as valves and venture tubes. Replacing it can cost hundreds of dollars and it also needs special care particularly if you have not been using the grill for a few seasons.
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Tips in Buying Grills
It is best to purchase grills from popular and trusted brands. There are a lot of cheap gas grills in the market but most often, it tends to break easily. Consider your grill an investment. While it might seem as if you are saving more money by purchasing the cheaper one, the truth is that it will cost you more money when you have to replace it.
There are many consumers who buy small grills because of its portability. However, compact models are usually not great at regular grilling. In fact, there might be some models that are too small to even grill two pieces of steak at the same time. It is definitely more convenient to bring on trips but you should consider the quality of food that you will be cooking on it.
You would want to invest in different grilling tools along with your grill. There are a variety of tools in the market but the most important ones are a spring-loaded set of tongs and a sturdy grill brush. It is handy to have a spring-loaded tong because it grips better and it works like an extension of your hands. The brush is ideal to have as you will have to brush your grate before using it to make the cooking experience even better.