Understanding the Key Reasons Why Gas Grills are Better than Charcoal
Charcoal grills, let's face it, occupy a special place in our hearts because of the nostalgia they bring to the table. If you truly want to go old-school, and you want to appeal to traditional backyard barbecues, then there's really no other option available to you than to go with charcoal grills. There's a reason why gas grills have become quite popular nowadays. There are certain drawbacks to charcoal grilling that people wish they could overcome, and this explains the popularity of gas grills. If you're still on the fence regarding which way to go, here is a quick comparison or head-to-head match-up of gas grills and charcoal grills.
Gas Grills vs. Charcoal Grills: The Tale of the Tape
So, what's the big difference between gas grills and charcoal grills? First of all, there are different budgets involved. The great thing about charcoal grills is that a lot of your costs are back loaded, meaning you don't have to pay a huge amount of money to get grilling because the actual cost will be paid out over time as you use up one bag of charcoal after another. You may be thinking aren't you using portable heating or energy sources with gas grills? Well, not necessarily. Gas grills can be linked straight to your home's gas line so the gas is directly piped into the gas grill, or it can use a propane tank. The great thing about gas grills is that they tend to be very, very efficient when it comes to using their fuel source.
Not so with charcoal. With charcoal, it depends on how much moisture the briquettes have. It also depends on the weather in your area as well as humidity. There are just so many different factors that impact the efficiency in which your charcoal grill heats up and turns those charcoal briquettes into ash. These differences, of course, add up to quite a bit of money especially if you compound your costs over a period of time like one year.
Gas grills and charcoal grills also differ in terms of expectations. When people buy charcoal grills, all sorts of mental pictures come to mind. They go to a beach. They go to a park. There's just something very warm and familiar when it comes to charcoal. In fact, the whole ritual of going to the store and picking up a bag of charcoal and cradling it in your arms brings back more memories.
Not so with picking up a propane tank. It seems mechanical, and it looks like just another task that you do to prepare for your barbecue. All this, of course, leads to differences in experiences. The thing about experiences is that most of the time we focus on what we choose to remember. We focus on the things that we emphasize. It's not really the actual memories that we have but our reading or our perception of our memories.
In this particular lineup, charcoal almost always wins out because there's a sense of adventure there. It's not a simple matter of just turning on a switch, and a tremendous amount of heat appears and cooks your food. There's a bit of a challenge to get the charcoal going. You have to figure out the package and usually, when people do this, they're talking to each other and otherwise having a good time around the grill. You don't have that with a gas grill. You tend to have less of that when you're dealing with a gas grill.
Finally, you have a different range of options. Gas grills have a lot of highly developed add-ons and accessories. Not so with charcoal grills. With charcoal grills, a lot of it is manual, which can be a good thing and a bad thing.
Gas Grills, an In-Depth Look
The big advantages of gas grills, if you're really going to isolate them, can be summarized as follows:
First of all, gas grills deliver guaranteed heat. It's not a question of whether the heat will appear as long as you light it up properly; you are guaranteed heat and lots of it. A lot of contemporary gas grills can deliver a tremendous amount of heat extremely quickly.
Which brings us to the second point which is quick heat. A lot of Americans, whether they are spending a barbecue on a weekend are in a hurry. They'd rather prepare the food quickly so they can get down to hanging out with their friends, or they'd preferably finish the barbecue, so they can go on to the next social engagement they have lined up for the day. Whatever the case may be they are in a hurry, and the quick heat of gas grills is definitely most welcome as far as most people are concerned. To say that it saves time would be an understatement indeed.
On top of all of this, gas works are very easy to clean. Since you're dealing with gas, the only issue that's left is really the debris of the food that you cook in the grill chamber. If you have the right grates, grills, heat tents and other accessories and grill parts, cleaning the whole unit and assembly is a no-brainer. It doesn't have to take forever.
Gas grills also come in a wide range of design so a lot of them are easier to store than others. As more and more gas grills enter the market, their smaller environmental footprint tends to be emphasized and enhanced. Compared to classical charcoal grill architecture, most gas grills are more environmentally friendly.
The Drawbacks of Gas Grills
The big drawback to gas grills is that they tend to have uneven heating. Sure, they pack a lot of heat, but it tends to concentrate in certain areas of the grill chamber and depending on how you choose to distribute it; this can be a problem. This can have a direct impact on the quality of the food you're preparing.
Moreover, one distinct appeal of charcoal is texture. The reason why charcoal has such a texturizing effect is because of the concentrated heat in the embers of the coals. You don't have this with a gas grill. The heat just comes from one source, and you better hope that it's evenly distributed.
Finally, charcoal has a slightly smoky scent. This added scent plus the caramelizing effect charcoal has on well-marinated food goes a long way in creating those happy Fourth-of-July memories. With gas grills, the scent, the texturizing is normally not there.
The Strengths and Weaknesses of Charcoal
Charcoal grills, as mentioned above, can texturize your food. Additionally, it's very easy to evoke a lot of great outdoor experiences using a charcoal grill. Furthermore, its caramelizing effect is most welcome by many experienced barbecue enthusiasts. This is due primarily to its even heating properties.
The Drawbacks of Charcoal
If you've ever had a charcoal barbecue, you could easily rattle these off. First of all, charcoal cookouts can be very smoky affairs. It then automatically follows that they are fairly messy to clean up. You have a lot of char, ash and spent charcoal to worry about.
In addition, starting a fire with charcoal is not a slam dunk. You have to know what you're doing. Given the fact that you're using these chunks of carbon, you can see why a lot of people consider charcoal barbecues and charcoal grilling in general as more environmentally messy than using gas.
Put all these factors together, it's easy to see why a lot of people consider using charcoal as really a chore. On top of this, when it comes to money, charcoal can be quite costly due to its inefficiency.
The Bottom Line
Does the Convenience of the Gas Grill Outweigh the Taste of Charcoal Grills?
The bottom line is when it comes to taste versus convenience and all other factors being equal, gas grills bring better value to the table. You can use gas grill briquettes to mimic or simulate the even heating and texturizing effect of charcoal. You can use smoking elements to add a scent as well as a smoky flavor to the meat you are barbecuing. There's always a workaround; however, the bottom line is when it comes to the environment, overall value for money and ease of cleanup, your best bet is to go with a gas setup.
Reviews of the Best Charcoal Gas Grill Combo
Everyone loves the convenience of a propane grill but also wouldn't mind the smoky flavor of a charcoal machine either. There are a few well-known brands of bbq machine manufacturers who offer a combination of both worlds for avid grilling enthusiasts. Some of the best gas-charcoal combo grills are available on giant online retail sites such as Amazon with fantastic reviews. We will be considering 4 of the best combo machines that are currently on sale.
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