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Home Brew Forums > Food and Beverage > Cooking & Pairing > Gas or charcoal?
View Poll Results: Gas or charcoal?
Gas (Propane, LP, etc.) 31 35.63%
Charcoal (Lump, briquette, etc.) 56 64.37%
Voters: 87. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-03-2008, 01:29 AM   #21
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I voted gas, because the poll sais 'if you could only use one for ALL your grilling".

I like the taste of charcoal better, but I can do EVERYTHING with gas that I can with charcoal, it's just a matter of the smoking set-up, and what wood's you add to smoke with.

Besides, I'd have to change my avatar if I said charcoal.

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Old 03-03-2008, 01:58 AM   #22
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Propane rocks. I'm sure charcoal has it's benefits (mostly with flavor), but if you don't use it often it's hard to get the heat right, plus there is more of a wait involved getting the briquettes ready to cook.

If you have the time to grill often, charcoal is probably the way to go.

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Old 03-03-2008, 02:16 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse17
I voted gas, because the poll sais 'if you could only use one for ALL your grilling".
Same here. I have a charcoal setup.

But like I said earlier, I grill 5-6 nights a week. It's our number one cooking appliance.

And with it hooked to house natural gas...it's never-ending.
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Old 03-03-2008, 03:01 AM   #24
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Only way I grill is with charcoal.. I don't see the point in using Propane, might as well cook it inside. IMO.

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Old 03-03-2008, 03:09 AM   #25
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Charcoal seems like a waste when cooking good steaks. You have to use so much to get a good HOT fire to grill on, and the steaks are done in 10 min. (or less if you eat them like I do).

Where as you can through some wet hickory on the gas burner, and turn it off as soon as your done.

Also, I should add that I've never liked gas much until I had to use it. Where I live, it's been so dry, I'm scared to death to use charcoal.

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Old 03-03-2008, 03:50 AM   #26
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Charcoal All the way. If I use gas I cook inside.

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Old 03-05-2008, 01:29 AM   #27
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OK, I have been holding back my opinions because I did not want to influence the voting, but it looks like things are pretty well settled out now.

First off, I generally cook steaks inside on the range so even though I do grill steaks outside once in a while, it is not a primary consideration for my outdoor setup. (With steak, I like to build a good pan fond and use it as the basis of a sauce, but that's just me.) Most of my outdoor cooking generally falls into three categories: authentic BBQ (low and slow), picnic cooking (feeding lots of people), and seafood.

Gas has the obvious advantage of having a very short setup time. Just turn it on and let the grill preheat for a few minutes. Everything is very intuitive with gas (it's a lot like cooking in the kitchen.) However, when it comes to authentic BBQ (indirect heat and/or smoking for several hours) the setup time really isn't much of a factor, so I don't think gas really has an advantage there. If I'm cooking all afternoon or evening, I don't mind the 5-10 minutes it takes to fire up a chimney full of lump charcoal. And if you need to add wood chips, the setup time for gas is going to be just as long. I know you can technically do a decent BBQ on a gas fire, but to me charcoal just always has the edge for BBQ--I think the dry heat is a big factor, but plenty of people will debate that point.

For picnics & parties, sometimes BBQ can be too much of an undertaking so I'll want to grill up the usual burgers, dogs, chicken pieces, etc. and get it all done in a relatively short period of time. This is one time when I wouldn't have a problem with using a gas grill, even though I prefer the flavors you get from a charcoal fire.

For tuna, I haven't found a method I like better than setting an iron grate on top of a blazing chimney about 1/2 full of lump charcoal, and searing each side for 60 seconds. Salmon is one of those foods that LOVES smoke. Tuna and salmon are two of my favorite foods, and they are a big part of the reason that if I had to choose just one type of fuel for my outdoor cooking, it would definitely be charcoal. I can cook with gas in the kitchen, so I don't need it outside. But then again, I wouldn't mind having both types of grills just to cover all my bases.

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Old 03-05-2008, 01:49 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse17
Charcoal seems like a waste when cooking good steaks.

OH! I beg to differ my friend, A good steak is one a few things I do fire up the coals for.

We have a holiday house at the coast, and I have gas and a Weber Kettle at both locations. I do use both coals and gas for all type of cooking, but when the Weber gets fired up, it nearly always because we are having steaks.
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Old 03-05-2008, 02:01 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McKBrew
Propane rocks. I'm sure charcoal has it's benefits (mostly with flavor), but if you don't use it often it's hard to get the heat right, plus there is more of a wait involved getting the briquettes ready to cook.

If you have the time to grill often, charcoal is probably the way to go.
I have highlighted one potential problem. There are some briquettes that are OK, but most of them suck, and even the good ones are quite a different bird than lump charcoal. Kingsford briquettes are what many people think of when they hear the word "charcoal". I think Kingsford briquettes are pretty much the bottom of the barrel. They are made from garbage and they produce tons of ash. But they are very consistent in their crappiness, so in a way they are quite user friendly. Some kettle-shaped grills (the classic Weber, for example) actually almost make briquettes tolerable because these grills were essentially designed and tweaked around briquettes.

If you've never tried lump charcoal, give it a shot. Most supermarkets and home stores now carry it ("Cowboy" brand is popular around here, but there are many other brands.) It lights faster and burns MUCH cleaner than most briquettes. Some people like to do a mix of briquettes and lump. There are other good charcoal products like extruded coconut that burn cleanly and work quite well.

Another charcoal faux pas is the use of lighter fluid or those dreadful "match light" briquettes. A chimney starter is the way to go, unless you have one of those fancy grills that uses propane or LP gas to start the charcoal.
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Old 03-05-2008, 02:13 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SixFoFalcon
If you've never tried lump charcoal, give it a shot. Most supermarkets and home stores now carry it ("Cowboy" brand is popular around here, but there are many other brands.) It lights faster and burns MUCH cleaner than most briquettes. Some people like to do a mix of briquettes and lump. There are other good charcoal products like extruded coconut that burn cleanly and work quite well.

Another charcoal faux pas is the use of lighter fluid or those dreadful "match light" briquettes. A chimney starter is the way to go, unless you have one of those fancy grills that uses propane or LP gas to start the charcoal.
Yep, lump is the way to go, but Cowboy is the "Kingsford" of lump. It produces a ton of ash compared to real lump (it's made of flooring scraps).

Very good point on the charcoal lighter faux pas. I use a Bernzomatic Mapp torch to light my lump. 30 seconds of 3,000+ degree flame and I'm good to go with no petroleum smell.
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