Gas or charcoal?

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Gas or charcoal?

  • Gas (Propane, LP, etc.)

  • Charcoal (Lump, briquette, etc.)


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SixFoFalcon

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If you could ONLY choose one for all your outdoor cooking needs, which would it be?
 

RICLARK

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Ed Worts Pics pretty much sums up my opinion, but also Ill say Charcoal has a way better flavor.
 

McCall St. Brewer

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I put propane, but only under protest. Charcoal tastes much better, and, IMHO, is easier to cook with. Gas is just so much more cheaper, convenient and cleaner that it unfortunately is just no contest. I occasionally will fire up my little Smokey Joe with charcoal, though.
 

Desert_Sky

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ive been rockin a charcoal grill for 4 summers now.

Been thinking about trying to make one by cutting a sanke keg in half.
 

BrianP

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Gas in nice if you're in a hurry, but if I had to pick one, it would be lump charcoal.
 

BierMuncher

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I grill 5 nights a week.

Not only is it gas...it's a natural gas line from the house.

No refills.

No clean up.

No second thoughts about running out half way through a $30 batch of Ribeyes.

Now and again, I'll throw in a foil pouch filled with soaked mesquite to get a nice smoke bite to my salmon or pork tenderloins.

I do intend to invest in a big green egg soon for those all day smoked meat recipes...ala EdWort.
 

EdWort

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BierMuncher said:
No second thoughts about running out half way through a $30 batch of Ribeyes.
If you ever have one of my steaks off the egg, you'll chuck your gasser the next day. Some day... If you get an egg, I'll come over and cook the steaks and you'll be scarred for life. :D
 

BierMuncher

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EdWort said:
If you ever have one of my steaks off the egg, you'll chuck your gasser the next day. Some day... If you get an egg, I'll come over and cook the steaks and you'll be scarred for life. :D
I'm already scarred....

Who...what...is that coming out of those flames...

Is...that...could it be.... SATAN?

T-Bones_1.jpg
 

Melana

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I vote for charcoal and wish I had the cash to pick up an egg. We grill 100% of the time on charcoal and just received a Weber Smokey Mountain as a gift...
Nothing beats the flavor of charcoal, nothing.
 

Jesse17

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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.;)
 

McKBrew

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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.
 

BierMuncher

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Jesse17 said:
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. :D
 

Ryanh1801

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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.
 

Jesse17

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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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SixFoFalcon

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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. :D
 

PeteOz77

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Jesse17 said:
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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SixFoFalcon

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McKBrew said:
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.
 

EdWort

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SixFoFalcon said:
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.
 

niquejim

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Everything That goes on my gas grill gets a rub, marinade or mop, the flavor from the charcoal is negated.
If enough flavor is added in prep the cooking surface doesn't matter.
 
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SixFoFalcon

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EdWort said:
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).
It is made from scrap wood, but it burns clean in comparison to briquettes. I think they have gotten better in recent years about the quality of the wood they use. My main aversion to Cowboy is more to do with how fast it burns, not the ash production. I have to completely close the damper on my CG Super-Pro and even then it gets awfully hot for a proper BBQ.

Around here, Cowboy is just about the only thing you can find in most stores. Most of the "store brands" (like the Whole Foods brand) are just Cowboy in a different package. I try to get Humphrey (real lump, not lumber scraps) whenever I can, as I believe it's the best thing available in this corner of the world. But I've only found one place (a mom n pop hardware store) around here that carries Humphrey, and even when they say they are getting more for me, sometimes that takes a while and I have to do a few sessions of Cowboy to get by.

Other parts of the country have more options for charcoal. I'm told that "The Original Charcoal" makes some very good stuff, but it's only available in the south and a few other select areas. :( Many of the guys on the BBQ Bible forums stockpile masses of Rancher charcoal.
 

EvilTOJ

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The only way I'll use charcoal exclusively is when the zombpocalypse happens and I have to use the bones of the charred remains to cook up some grub.


Oh how I miss grilling. You think I'll get in trouble in my apartment complex if I use my turkey fryer to cook up a nice juicy steak?
 

zoebisch01

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Are we still arguing this or is this a new thread? :confused:

There is no right answer. I say make a wood fire. :p. I do all three depending on what I need and/or my time constraints.
 

Rick_R

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I have been holding back my opinions because I did not want to influence the voting
Okay, SixFoFalcon, don't take this the wrong way, but I just have to ask: did you really think folks here were going to change their opinion based on what you posted?

:)

Rick
 
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SixFoFalcon

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Rick_R said:
Okay, SixFoFalcon, don't take this the wrong way, but I just have to ask: did you really think folks here were going to change their opinion based on what you posted?

:)

Rick
Well, I wanted to see how the votes would stack up if people were just going with their gut, with little or no explanation/opinion. Outdoor gas grills are much more common in American households according to all the stats I've seen, but I had a feeling charcoal would be more popular among the HBT community. Of course the ingenuity factor from people like BierMuncher kinda balances that out. ;)

Let's just say I was involved in a similar thread elsewhere, and the discussion was not as enlightening. (Basically a few crybabies said that the topic was too subjective for anyone to say one was better than the other, so anyone with a strong opinion was branded as a zealot. When I said that the main reason why gas grills are so popular is because of the laziness and indifference of the average Joe, I got flamed (no pun intended.) Of course, they have the same type of fights over which ****ty BMC product is "the best beer" too. :()
 
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My vote (for gas) was forced by the specific phrasing of the question:

"If you could ONLY choose one for all your outdoor cooking needs, which would it be?"

I have both types of grills, and given adequate time, I prefer charcoal. However, gas lets me grill on a moments notice, including weeknights, and I often grill 4-5 times a week. Were I limited to charcoal, grilling would strictly be a weekend activity...unacceptable.
 

EdWort

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BlindLemonLars said:
I have both types of grills, and given adequate time, I prefer charcoal. However, gas lets me grill on a moments notice, including weeknights, and I often grill 4-5 times a week. Were I limited to charcoal, grilling would strictly be a weekend activity...unacceptable.
I grill 4-5 times a week when I'm in town too....All on lump charcoal. 10 minutes from lighting my egg, it's ready.
 
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EdWort said:
I grill 4-5 times a week when I'm in town too....All on lump charcoal. 10 minutes from lighting my egg, it's ready.
Do you really want to make the argument that charcoal is as fast and convenient as gas?

You can't win that one. :D
 
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