Should I go over with the traditional charcoal grill or opt for a modern gas grill? If you’re torn about which grill to choose for your next barbeque session, you’ve come to the right place.
Gas Vs Charcoal BBQ
Trying to decide between a gas and a charcoal BBQ is not easy. After all, each grill has its pros and cons. In most cases, a gas grill is more convenient to use, but the food cooked on a charcoal grill is more flavorful. Depending on your situation, choosing between gas and charcoal bbq is something you think about properly.
However, it does not mean that gas barbeque is better than charcoal. There are so many great things about these two grills, and we’ve got to learn them below.
Charcoal grills come in several shapes and form-factors such as the classic kettle-style grill, ceramic kamado grills, and barrel grill, just to name a few. What these have in common is that they either use lump charcoal or briquettes as the main source of fuel.
As the charcoal burns, it not only provides the heat that cooks the food but also produces a pleasant smoky aroma.
This gives the food a unique flavor which is often associated with charcoal chicken or meat cooked on a spit rotisserie.
The main drawback with charcoal grills is that it is a bit more hands-on. From lighting the grill to maintaining the fire. For example, to adjust the temperature, we will need to adjust the air vents to either restrict or increase airflow.
This tends to put off a lot of people especially if they do not have the patience to babysit their grill all day and regulate the temperature. With that said, it is the top choice among barbeque enthusiasts because they consider this grill the most authentic method of barbecuing. It’s because char grilling provides a smoky flavor to the food.
Gas BBQs have been the status quo here in Australia for many years now. Here, there are primarily two types of gas grills – natural gas and LPG BBQs.
The latter relies on LPG gas tanks which you can buy or refill at your local service station. On the other hand, natural gas BBQs require to be connected to your home’s gas line.
At the core of it, gas BBQs usually have gas-powered burners right below the grilling surface. This provides the heat to cook your food.
These days, there are plenty of options when it comes to gas BBQs. Like charcoal BBQs, gas BBQs come in various forms such as portable units, built-in grills, and a free-standing unit that looks like a large cart. Some gas BBQs have really flashy designs along with exorbitant prices.
One limiting factor with gas BBQs comes down to the design of it. Unlike charcoal BBQs, we have very little control over how the heat is distributed across the grilling surface. This may not matter for day-to-day grilling, but it makes it almost impossible to use a gas BBQ as a smoker where we want to avoid heating our food directly.
Is It Better To Have Gas or Charcoal BBQ?
Now that you have a better idea of what the both
When it comes to barbeque cooking, the debate of which is better, gas or charcoal grill, never ends. No worries, because we’ve covered each grill’s features and pros and cons, so it’s up to you which better suits your needs and preferences. Let’s break it down for you.
Now that you have a better description of these two grills, let’s differentiate them on different criteria:
|Temperature Range||Around 107°C to 315°C (225°F to 600°F)||As high as 650°C (1400°C)|
|Temperature Control||Easy to control and maintain||Requires consistent monitoring|
|Smoking||Difficult to trap smoke||Designed for smoking|
|Fire Up/Cool Time||Around 5 to 10 minutes||Approximately 30 minutes|
|Clean-Up||Occasionally discarding grease trap and cleaning bars||Regular disposing of ash and cleaning bars|
|Flavor||Suitable for quick-cooking foods||Perfect for low and slow cooks|
|Price||Around $500 and up||Starts at $99 and up|
Charcoal grills have wider temperature ranges that can reach up to 650°C (1400°F), whereas most propane gas grills can only reach 315°C (600°F) maximum. Though there are gas grills that can reach a very high temperature, they are quite pricey.
Controlling the temperature on a charcoal grill is challenging since you have to monitor it from time to time consistently. However, you can remedy this by looking for charcoal that burns for longer hours and provides a steady temperature, like charcoal briquettes.
You’ll never experience this problem with the gas grill. Just set your burners to your preferred level, and if the temperature is steady, you can do other kitchen chores while waiting for it to cook.
Most charcoal grills can seal pretty tightly. To smoke on a charcoal grill, close the bottom and top vents, put on the lid, and you’ve created that can restrict the movement of air. However, it does not have a seal on a gas grill because it’s designed for safety measures.
Gas grills have to spit out the gas because trapping the oxygen while the gas keeps on pumping is highly combustible. Therefore, getting a smoke flavor into your food is difficult with gas grills.
Fire Up and Cool Time
Turning a gas grill is as simple as turning on your regular stovetop. Turn a knob or two, and let it light up, and that’s it. After cooking, turn the knob on the off option, and the flame will disappear.
Meanwhile, a charcoal grill takes at least half an hour to light up the coals until it’s about ready to cook. Not only that, but once you light up the coal, you’re on a countdown timer where you need to grill the food right away because you’ll never know how long will it lasts.
When you need to turn it off, you have to wait to burn out the charcoal naturally, which feels like you’re wasting the charcoal fuel if you’re done too early.
When it comes to cleaning, gas grills get the upper hand. Its clean-up is as simple as emptying the grease collection tray when it gets full. Moreover, it does not leave any ash, unlike charcoal grills. Gas grills come with deflectors that are designed to avoid flare-ups.
They share the same common ground when scrubbing down the bars since crud can build up over time.
Cooking in a charcoal grill will give a smoky flavor to your food, while a gas grill can provide a cleaner flavor, whether it’s propane or natural gas. However, if you want to achieve the smoky flavor of a charcoal grill using a gas grill, you can invest in a smoke box to get that smoky taste.
If you want an affordable grill, a charcoal grill might be your best option. Depending on the style, you can buy a charcoal grill for as low as $30. Gas grills usually cost around $500. However, when it comes to fuel costs, you can save much more on gas grills since you can control the heat and turn it off if you’re done.
Meanwhile, you can’t control the heat for a charcoal grill even if you’re done. You have to wait for the coal to burn out quickly, which is not efficient and energy-saving.
Pros and Cons
To help you better decide which type of barbeque grill to choose, here are the pros and cons of gas and charcoal grills:
- Easy to light up
- The heat is direct and consistent
- Easier to clean
- Temperature can be easily adjusted
- It comes with extra features, such as griddles and side burners
- Usually expensive
- Not portable
- It doesn’t have a smoky flavor
- It has a higher temperature range than gas
- Cheaper than gas BBQs
- It gives a smoky, chargrilled flavor to any food
- It takes time to light up
- Much harder to clean
- Less control of temperature
Want the best of both worlds?
If you’re looking for a barbeque that can provide you with the convenience of gas grills and also the flavour of charcoal grills all in one, you might want to consider a Z Grill.
With our BBQs, pellets are fed into a firepot where it is burnt which provides both the heat and the signature wood-fired flavour.
A smart controller takes care of regulating the temperature and takes away all the guesswork in maintaining a wood fire so you can focus on cooking. It’s awesome for both grilling some quick snags and smoking low and slow.
If you want to learn more about our BBQs, don’t hesitate to give us a call or chat with us.