Gas Grills vs Charcoal Grills: What’s the Difference?
Did you know that 75% of Americans own an outdoor grill or smoker? Let’s be real, summer gatherings with loved ones just aren’t the same without a grill. As you browse through your options, you’ll notice that one of the biggest choices you’ll need to make is between gas grills vs charcoal grills.
Grillers around the world have been debating about which of these two grills is better for years. Ultimately, it boils down to your lifestyle and preference. This guide will go through all the similarities and differences so you can make an informed choice.
Let’s get started!
Ask any grilling enthusiast and they’ll be sure to let you know that the only way to grill is with charcoal. Something about that smoky flavor is hard to beat. Outside of that rich taste, there are other factors to look at when making your decision between a charcoal grill vs gas grill.
Let’s discuss that smoky flavor a little bit more because that’s a big pro. If you’re looking for that very specific taste that reminds you of camping by the lake or family barbecues, go with a charcoal grill. The high heat of a charcoal grill causes the food you’re grilling to drip right on the hot coals and this creates steam that is full of that unique flavor.
Another benefit of charcoal grills is that they reach a higher temperature than gas grills. To achieve a nice sear on your food, a grill needs to reach at least 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Charcoal grills can reach up to 700 degrees with no problem.
There are gas grills that can reach higher temperatures but they’re more expensive. Speaking of expensive, charcoal grills are ideal if you don’t have a big budget. You can find a basic grill for about $25 and the more expensive charcoal grills are usually between $130-$300.
Clearly, there’s a lot to love about charcoal grills but nothing is perfect so let’s look at some of the cons.
That signature charcoal flavor comes with a cost. Buying charcoal can get expensive, with a 20-pound bag only giving you three grilling sessions. There are also different charcoal fuel options, more clean-burning hardwood or lump charcoal will set you back around $35-$40 for a 20-pound bag.
Compare this to gas grills, where a 20-pound propane cylinder can give you 25 days of grilling.
If you’re not very patient, charcoal grills may not be for you. They take a bit of time to reach proper cooking temperature, generally around 20 minutes. That means you might have some hungry folks waiting around to get their food.
Another drawback is that it can be cumbersome to clean a charcoal grill. It needs to be emptied out and thoroughly cleaned. If it isn’t, you’ll risk carbon or ash buildup in your grill.
Gas grills have a devoted following as well. Their convenience and start-up time is hard to beat. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest pros when it comes to gas grills.
If the set up for charcoal grills is too cumbersome for you, then you might be interested in gas grills. All you need to do is press the ignition button, turn the dial and you’re ready to grill. While a charcoal grill may reach higher temperatures, a gas grill gives you more control.
You can sear things on low heat or crank it up to searing hot without worrying about moving hot coals around. This type of versatility is hard to beat. You can cook delicate foods like fruits and vegetables without overpowering them with the smoky taste from charcoal grills.
There’s also the option to add a smoke box so you can still get the smoky flavor but without all the trouble of setting up a charcoal grill.
Another benefit to gas grills? They’re better for the environment. Gas-grilled meats contain fewer carcinogens compared to charcoal-grilled meats. Gas grills also leave less of a carbon footprint compared to charcoal grills.
We’ve made it to the drawbacks of gas grills. For starters, it can be more frustrating to set up a gas grill than a charcoal grill. That’s because there’s the complicated aspect of hooking it up to a propane tank.
There’s also the safety concern with gas grills. You need to be particularly careful when cooking with gas because the propane tank can have leaks. You’ll need to ensure that the grill is at least 10 feet from your home and free of grease.
The portability aspect of most gas grills isn’t ideal. If you’re looking to take your grill to the park or beach, it’s better to go with a charcoal grill since it’s more portable.
Finally, gas grills are going to cost you more money. The good news is that there are always gas grills on clearance.
Gas Grills vs Charcoal Grills
Grilling is an American past time for a reason. It’s a great way to spend time with the people you care about while serving up some delicious food. As you search for your dream grill, you’ll notice it all comes down to gas grills vs charcoal grills.
There isn’t a better grill, just one that’s more suited for you and your lifestyle. If you’re looking for an affordable grill that can give your food a classic smoky flavor, go with a charcoal grill. If you want a more convenient and versatile option, go with a gas grill.
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