What's Your Favorite Grill To Cook On - Gas or Charcoal
One of my childhood memories is watching my Dad struggle on the weekends to start a charcoal fire with lighter fluid (gasoline when there was no lighter fluid around). Looking back, I don't think we ever used the grill except on weekends because of his work schedule.
He would wait around for the fire to get hot before grilling up some chicken pieces or hamburgers but my dad is one of those guys who can't sit still. So he would get involved in some other project that had to be done and forget about the fire. When he returned and found the coals burned out, he would say something under his breath and start all over again.
Now that I'm a dad grilling for my own family, I can choose either gas or charcoal. At the moment, I use a gas grill but I'm very close to picking up an inexpensive charcoal grill that I can use on the weekends.
I love how easy it is to turn on the gas valve, hit the ignite button and instantaneously have a fire.
But something is missing! Maybe it's getting your hands dirty arranging the charcoal, the time standing around watching the coals get hot, or even the smell of the charcoal burning. Whatever it is, there is something nostalgic about grilling with charcoal that I want to experience again.
Yeah sure there is more cleanup; you must eliminate the used-up coals. And then there is always the possibility that the coals will burn out in the middle of cooking.
That wouldn't happen with a gas grill, although there was a time I couldn't figure out why my steaks were taking so long to cook until I realized the gas tank ran out.
But there are also a lot of benefits to grilling with charcoal, which leads me to this article. I wanted to examine the pros and cons of grilling and charcoal and determine how they affect my cooking style. I won't even approach electric grilling, but you may want to check it out for yourself sometime.
I asked a couple of my professional chef friends who had opposite positions about gas vs. charcoal. Although their preferences differed, they both came up with great reasons for choosing their style.
One chef listened quietly while I ranted about the virtues of gas grilling, waited until I was finished and then said, "Yes, charcoal grills are more work and what type of grill you use will depend on your lifestyle and the amount of time you have available, but in the end, you can't compare gas grilling to charcoal grilling. Forget about it; charcoal wins hands down."
When I asked why he was so enthusiastic about charcoal he said, "Because with charcoal, you add more flavor and you can make a hotter fire and heat is your friend."
The other chef I spoke with favored a gas grill for convenience and felt you could achieve the same great-tasting food through various cooking methods, food prep, and wood for a smoky flavor.
Who's right? In my opinion, there is no right answer and it really just depends on personal preferences. It really depends on your lifestyle and how often you plan to use the grill. Look at my list of benefits for both gas and charcoal to see which fits best into your lifestyle.
Benefits of Gas and Charcoal Grills
Push Button Convenience
No messy charcoal to deal with
Easy to start
Control temperature with a dial
Control temperatures for longer periods of time
Can still use wood for a smoky flavor
The wind is not a factor
Flavor from charcoal
More intense smells
More hands-on experience
I'm a gadget guy and didn't think there was a kitchen gadget I didn't like but what about these Stainless Steel Herb Mills? What am I doing wrong with mine? My wife gave me one for my birthday and we were both excited about using it on all the fresh herbs we grew in our garden this summer.
As you can see from the photo, an herb mill has rotary blades that are supposed to mince fresh herbs like basil and cilantro instead of chopping them up with a knife. I first tried using it to make the tarragon and cilantro herb butter I wrote about last time.
Expecting to fill the stainless reserve area with cilantro, turn the crank a couple of times and end up with perfectly minced, fragrant product, I was surprised at the nasty ball of shredded green stuff caught in the blades. I threw the cilantro out and started over with my knife and cutting board.
Has this happened to anyone else? Is my technique wrong? Please let me know!
I tried it on a few other fresh herbs and the same results occurred. Looking back, I'm wondering why I even need an herb mill.
Yes, it looks very cool and the idea of perfectly minced herbs instantly is inviting but how long does it really take to chop up a bunch of basil? And you still have to clean it when you are finished.
In My Opinion, this is one kitchen gadget I'm sad to say isn't going to take up space in my Kitchen Drawer.
Differing opinions are appreciated.
onlinesources: Grills & Outdoor Cooking
There are lots of sources for purchasing top-of-the-line Grills, Barbecues & Outdoor Cooking Equipment. I suggest you check out your local department stores and kitchen supply shops but if you're looking for a wide selection of products and prices, you may want to check out Amazon.com where I buy many of my favorite pieces of grilling tools.
I'm definitely spot-on for gas grills! Charcoal grill masters might argue for having a smokier taste, but it's undeniable that using gas grills also achieve that taste, especially now more tools are being produced like the Flavor bars. Also, the great convenience you can get from cooking with gas grills are just awesome and definitely fits in our lifestyle today. Time is of the essence and if we can maximize both value for time and great taste is just simply awesome!
This is so true, and what I like more about gas grill is that you have better option for grilling and produce lesser toxic emissions especially if you're using a natural gas grill. This way, we can also grill and still be good for our environment as compared when we use charcoals as fuel.
i likes charcoal grills more because the food it cooks is more scrumptious then gas grills,it gives natural flavor and aroma which makes food worth eating.
This is so true, couldn't agree more with you! But the thing is gas is just so much easier for the every day person using it. Charcoal gives such a good depth in flavor, but also can lead to horrible results if not done right.
Your blog is very interactive and knowledgeable. I like it so much. I think I need to subscribe it and make the most use of it by reading it regularly and keeping myself updated.
I love both but I am using gas grill. I like outdoor BBQ party, gas grills size small than a charcoal grill. and it easy to use. thanks for your suggestion.
Both got their pros and cons. But I love gas grills because they are easy to use.
Both are good for me. Always try to both and work good.