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Some people will pretty much fight to the death to defend their favorite grilling method. Let me start by saying that I’m Switzerland in the debate over gas and charcoal grills. I own both, and I like both for various reasons.
But we’re not here to settle the great grilling debate. We’re here to look at a few different qualities of gas and charcoal grills in case you’re in the market for one. While you’re reading through, think about the things that are important to you because they’ll help you pick the grill that’s right for you.
At the end of the day, if something you buy doesn’t meet your needs and expectations, you’re not going to use it. If you don’t use it, you wasted your money. We don’t want you to waste your money.
Pros and Cons of Gas Grills
One of the biggest benefits of gas grills is that you don’t have to wait on charcoal to ignite. Many people like gas for it’s convenience, but here are some other benefits of this type of grill:
- Gas fuel tends to be cheaper than charcoal.
- You don’t have to deal with messy charcoal.
- You can hook them up to the gas line in your home for endless cooking fuel.
- These grills come with more accessories, like side burners or smoke boxes, than charcoal ones.
One of the main drawbacks of gas grills is that they tend to be more expensive than charcoal. They also have a few other things going against them:
- Limited mobility if it’s hooked to the gas line of your home.
- They can be difficult to move around with the heavy tanks.
- Uncontrolled flare-ups create a fire hazard.
- Gas doesn’t burn as hot as charcoal.
Pros and Cons of Charcoal Grills
One of the biggest benefits of charcoal grills is that they’re significantly less expensive than gas ones. Most of the time, you can pick up a small charcoal grill for about $20 at the hardware store. Aside from cost, here are a few more things charcoal grills have going for them:
- People think charcoal gives food a better flavor. (This is debatable though. In fact, a Good Housekeeping survey noted people couldn’t tell the difference in taste when chicken and burgers were grilled over gas and charcoal.)
- When heated, the coals provide the heat for cooking and generally don’t flare up like open flame gas grills. (I’m not saying by any means they’re safer though.)
- These are more portable than most gas grills.
- Charcoal burns hotter than gas.
Despite all these wonderful things, the one major set back for most people is waiting for the coals to heat up. Even if you have one of these fancy chimney starters, it can still take 15–20 minutes for the coals to reach the proper temperature. Here are a few more negative aspects:
- Charcoal is messy and requires much more clean up afterword.
- Ashes can get in your food.
- You’ll have to add more charcoal for longer cooking sessions.
- These grills don’t come with many additional features.
I own both a gas and charcoal grill; however, more often than not, I end up using my gas grill out of ease and convenience. I’ll break out the charcoal grill if I happen to have some extra time on my hands.
While I certainly can’t settle the debate about whether a gas grill is superior to a charcoal grill, you do have a few things to think about before you go out and buy a one.