Team Gas vs. Team Charcoal: Grill Wars
“Charcoal or gas. Both give excellent results, so choose the one that best suits your style of cooking.” –Bobby Flay
It’s nearly spring and it’s time to pick a side: are you Team Gas or Team Charcoal? This momentous decision is going to affect the taste of nearly every piece of meat you eat for the next six months, so you want to make as informed a decision as possible. What are the pros and cons of gas and charcoal?
- It’s helpful to think of a gas grill as if it were an upside-down broiler that happens to be outside. The quality and speed with which meat and vegetables cook on a grill are comparable to the quality and speed of food cooked in your oven’s broiler.
- Gas’s biggest strength is its convenience. Setup is quick and easy. If you want to cook something on a gas grill, all you need to do is turn a knob, flip a switch and get cooking.
- Another big advantage is control. A gas burner will maintain a similar level of heat throughout the entire cooking process.
- If gas has a weakness, it’s that food cooked on a gas grill tastes basically the same as if it were cooked in your kitchen. It might be fun to cook food on a gas grill outdoors, but the only difference between broiler-cooked food and gas-grilled food is grill marks.
- A gas grill is also going to be more expensive than a charcoal grill, as it is a more involved machine.
- The biggest advantage Team Charcoalhas over Team Gas is flavor. Food cooked on a charcoal grill attains a delicious smoky flavor that you just can’t get from any other cooking method.
- Charcoal grills are usually less expensive than gas.
- The greatest disadvantage of charcoal grills is the work. Setting up a fire on a charcoal grill is a process, and often a messy one. Then, while you are cooking, you need to ensure that your fire stays hot. When your food is done cooking, you have to go through a lengthier clean-up process than you would for gas. First you have to wait for your coals to cool off. Only then can you throw them out before cleaning the body of your grill.
Hopefully, this information is sufficient for you to pick a side. Do you like control, even if it means your food might be less flavorful? Or are you the type of person who’s willing to do more work if it means you get a little more deliciousness? Keep all of this in mind when you go grill shopping this year.