Grill Fuel Type Comparison: What grill fuel type is for you?

There are different types of grill fuel used for cooking outdoors. We will discuss the most popular, their differences and which fuel to use depending on your need.

Propane Gas

This is the most widely used type of fuel due to its convenience. Just turn on the gas and light it up. You can control the heat easily using the knobs. Gas grills can reach a temperature between 200 and 250 degrees. Most gas grills have plates to spread out the heat for a more even grilling. This fuel type is best for slow cooking food like chicken. It produces more humidity than other fuel types so it’s ideal for grilling fish too. Some grilling advocates don’t consider grilling with gas as grilling at all. They say it doesn’t give the food that barbecue flavor. To make up for this, you can add hardwood chunks for a nice smoky flavor.


Charcoal grills give you a more authentic grilling experience than Gas and is preferred by grilling fanatics. This fuel type has a minimum surface temperature of 500 degrees. To easily light the charcoal, use a newspaper or a lighter to make it burn. Grills that use charcoal are less expensive, produce more smoke and give the food a better flavor. It is best for searing steaks. Grilling in charcoal is the only way you can get steaks and lamb chops crisp on the outside and pinkish on the inside.

Temperature control on charcoal grills is done through the adjustment of the distance between the coals and the food.

The downside to charcoal is that it is so hot it can cause fires from sparks and escaping charcoal. Unlike gas grills where all you need to do is turn a knob to put out the fire, you need water or even a fire extinguisher when using charcoal grills. It can also cause burns from sparks. Careful handling is needed to eliminate these risks. Use long tongs and gloves when grilling with charcoal.


Nowadays, the electric barbeque grill is based on induction and can reach a temperature of 200 degrees. It is more efficient than the traditional electric grills. Pre-heating time has been shortened due to induction technology. It uses electricity so there is no burning – no combustion gases are involved. The advantage of using this type of grill is it is easy to control and easy to clean. Since nothing is being burned, you can use it on your apartment balcony – where charcoal grills are not allowed. The downside to using electric grills is there is no smoke flavor. You can add sawdust and wood chips to produce some smoke but it doesn’t taste the same since the wood burns at a low temperature. It is also not capable of searing steaks without overcooking the inside.

This fuel type is recommended only for people who live in spaces where gas and charcoal grills are not allowed.


Grilling with wood is how it all started and some people still use this fuel type. The reason is – it produces the best smelling smoke and this translates into deliciously flavored food. It can be used on fire pits using grates or a makeshift campfire grill. It can also be used on charcoal grills. The downside is that the heat is very hard to control. You need to have a 2-zone setup where you have a hot zone over the fire and a cool zone with no fire underneath. You want to have space to move the food away from the flames or else you’ll be eating charcoaled meat. Skill is required to successfully grill food perfectly using wood. Unless you’re a pit master, charcoal and gas are more advisable.

The different types of wood that can be used are hardwood logs, wood chunks, briquettes, wood chips and hardwood pellets.

Grill Fuel Type Comparison: What grill fuel type is for you?

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