People use grills for three cooking methods: grilling with high direct heat, roasting with indirect heat, and indirectly roasting with smoke. Being able to cook in 3 different ways is enough reason to buy a grill. But what type of grill will you get: one that uses gas or charcoal as fuel?
Grilling with gas or charcoal will leave a different taste on different foods, such as steaks. When grilling with gas, the natural meat flavors can be stronger than when using charcoal. Charcoal itself flavors the food in an unique way. Depending on the type of grill, the resulting food will look different, quickly telling your guests which one you own. Gas grills leave a shiny pinkish color on the surface while charcoal grilled meat will appear duller, maybe charred or more fried.
Let’s see the advantages and drawbacks of owning and cooking with each type of grill.
When grilling, time is an important factor to consider. Gas and charcoal grills have different cooking time and it mostly is influenced by how long it takes for them to heat up. The ones using gas will heat fairly fast, but charcoal grills will take at least 25 minutes to reach the desired temperature. The cooking time of the meat itself also varies. You shouldn’t forget that based on the fuel type, the grill will have different features, such as temperature or better flame control.
One thing these grills have in common is the danger they pose, as they can start a fire if you don’t take the necessary precautions. This is the main reason for which it’s not recommended to use either of them near a building. However, the charcoal grill does not provide any means to extinguish a fire quickly and thus cold water is the only available option. This being said, keep in mind the grill will suffer great damage. The fire started by a gas grill can be stopped by switching a button, and then covering the grill. If the idea of using gas for cooking scares you, choosing a charcoal grill may be the best option for you.
When burning, both charcoal and gas produce smoke, but their smoke is different. If you were to use the charcoal grill indoors, the fire alarm would go off in no time. Gas produces much less smoke thus the fire alarm will stay silent. The presence of a thick smoke is one reason for which charcoal grills are used only outdoors, while gas grills are sometimes allowed indoors. As a curiosity, most restaurants use a gas grill for their steaks and other meals. There are several reasons for this, such as hygiene, the time used to heat up, and the presence of other gas fueled kitchen appliances.
Cleaning and maintaining
It’s important to cook on a clean grill. Most charcoal grills are colored black and made of a material that withstands high temperatures. This type of metal needs little cleaning and maintenance, even when the grill is left outdoors for a long time. Gas grills are usually made of stainless steel that show any water drop and fingerprint. If you want to leave your gas grill outside for the summer, cover it up for better protection.
The gas grill is faster to clean compared to a charcoal fueled one, a feature not easy to ignore. Charcoal grills need the ash and soot removed, and if it’s windy, the cleaning process may turn messy. If the gas grill doesn’t cook food properly, you will need a specialist to have a look at it. Charcoal grills on the other hand, can easily be replaced or repaired by a handy-man.
Both charcoal and gas grills come in many different sizes. Their size influences the type and amount of food you can cook, but the price as well. Small grills are a good choice for personal use on a regular basis, or to take to a picnic. Medium grills are fit for personal use on special occasions, while large and really large grills get used in cooking and grilling competitions or by restaurants. If you have never cooked on a grill before, choose a small one.
The price for either type of grill is an aspect worth considering. There are 2 main features influencing their cost: size and accessories. You will see that the charcoal grill is cheaper than the gas grill, but how about the price of the charcoal itself? Most gas grills will mention an average of how much gas is used per cooking session, and you can calculate what the monthly cost will be versus the cost of the charcoal.