Charcoal or Gas?

Charcoal and gas grills are not too difficult to stumble upon, but which grill is right for me? Decisions, Decisions… When purchasing a grill, it is good to think about what you are frequently grilling: whether it is hotdogs and brats or a nice big juicy steak and where you are grilling: whether it is in your backyard, on your patio, at the beach, or even tailgating at a sports game, knowing this information will help you narrow down your search for the perfect grill that is “right” for you.

The Classic - Charcoal Grill

The good ole’ charcoal grill is definitely a classic, it always seems to be the favorite at a local sports game or grilling with friends at the beach, can’t you just smell those coals on the grill? From the table grill to the “ceramic egg”, the charcoal grill comes in all different shapes and sizes. The most popular type is still the “ball grill”, this allows for indirect grilling with a long cooking time at low temperatures; plenty of time for a volleyball game or a few rounds of bean bag toss.

A more posh alternative is the ceramic grill. The walls of this design store the heat so well that the grill can operate for up to 30 hours; this is definitely a record high! A big dis-advantage is the weight of the grill, weighing up to several hundred kilos, not to mention, the price of a ceramic grill is generally in the four-digit range, yikes!

What you need to know:

There is a bit of a controversy with the phrase, “Taste is created only by the charcoal”. The thing is the smoke that is created from the charcoal or wood is actually what affects the flavor of the food, not the charcoal itself. This is the one thing that gas grills are missing, that smoked flavor to the meat. Who doesn’t like the smoked taste and smell?

One thing that is more important than the smoke from the charcoal is the seasoning of the meat. Without a good cover for your grill and without a good temperature from the coals, indirect grilling will not be successful.

Summary:

Positives:

  • Universally applicable, since there are many versions. Best to, put a lid on it!
  • The real barbecue feeling with smoke and fire is just with charcoal. To get that real bbq feel, the charcoal grill is your best bet.
  • Direct and indirect grilling is possible - you can even smoke with a few tricks.

Negatives:

  • Having enough space is crucial
  • High smoke emissions will be illuminated. We all have those nosey neighbors that need to know everything or the neighbors that complain about every little thing, the smoke may attract any unwanted guests.
  • Temperature regulation is not so easy.

The Easy - Gas Grill

The gas grill is the low-maintenance kind. It heats up quickly and is more practical. The gas grill is becoming more and more popular due to its function-ability and practicality. If the grill is too hot, then just turn it down- Done! Another added benefit to the gas grill is the low smoke emissions, don’t stress about those un-wanted, nosey neighbors stopping by.

While the charcoal grill is known for its round shape and separate grill cover, the rectangular shape of the gas grill is actually preferred with the attached grill cover. Most grills are often times made of stainless steel and sheet metal.

Summary:

Positives:

  • Fast heating. Start to grill immediately!
  • The smoke is not nearly as thick as with the charcoal
  • Indirect and direct grilling is possible
  • Simple temperature regulation is possible

Negatives:

  • For a gas grill, make sure there is space for the grill and make sure you always have spare propane tanks around.
  • More pricy than a kettle grill
  • The grill is a bit clunky when transporting due to the propane tanks.

Our Tip

Not only is the grill a crucial part of a successful bbq, but also the grilling racks. Our recommendation is to use cast iron racks, this way the heat is stored and released better. And of course, easier to clean which is always a plus.

Dän's Recommandation:

It is a bit difficult to recommend what grill is best for you from afar, but our grill master, Dän Klein, only owns one gas grill for “warming up the plates at the championship”. This is not what so ever a “dis” towards gas grills but rather Dän Klein’s own personal opinion. He prefers the “good ole’ honest way” of grilling, with charcoal and wood. He suggests, “You can never have too many grills, the more the merrier. Maybe use the gas grill as a second or third option?”

Our next topic:

Which accessories are necessary?

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