When it comes to choosing between charcoal grills and gas grills, even barbecue enthusiasts are often split down the middle. Every person you ask might have a different opinion based on what they prefer, what they cook most often and what they were used to using growing up. For many, it is simply a matter of convenience or smoky flavor. There are certainly some clear advantages and disadvantages to both charcoal grills and gas grills, and this guide will help to identify both.
Pros of Charcoal Grills: The biggest advantage of a charcoal grill is that smoky flavor that permeates anything you cook on it. Traditional barbecue masters claim that there is no other way to cook perfectly flavored ribs, steaks or even burgers. Charcoal grills are also generally the cheapest grills to purchase. Rather than spending a large amount of money on a fancy electric grill, a charcoal grill is considered to be effective no matter the size, and many quality charcoal grills can be found for less than $50 in stores. Finally, charcoal grills get hotter than gas grills, which some people consider necessary to seal in the flavor for high quality steaks.
Cons of Charcoal Grills: Unfortunately, there are some cons to charcoal grills as well. Although that smoky flavor is delicious when applied to steaks and burgers, it can be unpleasant when grilling more delicate items like vegetables or fruits. The price of charcoal is also quite expensive, despite the grill itself being cheap. For a large gathering, it is easy to spend well over $10 just on charcoal. Although the heat is beneficial in some cases, it is also very difficult to control. Users need to constantly watch the grill and check on the heat to ensure proper cooking. When the food is cooked and you want to relax, there is still lots to be done with charcoal grills. The ashes need to be cleaned up and the grill cleaned thoroughly after each use.
Pros of Gas Grills: The biggest advantage to having a gas grill is the convenience. As soon as you are ready to start grilling foods, just turn the knob and start the grill. There is no need to gather equipment, but fire starter liquid, start a fire slowly or anything else. Just turn it on and wait for it to heat up, which often takes just a minute or two. Although you need to buy gas for the grill, a single tank can usually last for 20 hours of grilling, and therefore is quite an inexpensive fuel. Most people are fine to replace the tank just once or twice a year, especially if they only grill every weekend or just during the warmer summer months. There is no need to check the heat every few minutes, as it will be consistent and heat food in the same amount of time each occasion that you grill, resulting in fewer mistakes like undercooked steaks or burned vegetables. Cleanup is also very simple, involving a quick wipe of the grill.
Cons of Gas Grills: As convenient as a gas grill is, there are still a few drawbacks. The largest is that there is no rich, smoky flavor present. For people who regularly grill meats, this might be reason enough to skip over gas grills when it comes time to barbecue. In addition, gas grills are significantly more expensive than their charcoal counterparts. Although it is certainly possible to find cheap model, they can run up to thousands of dollars for high end grills.
Overall, the choice between charcoal grills and gas grills depends on the budget you have to spend, the type of foods you cook and whether you prefer the authentic smoky taste over the convenience of quick heating.