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The Big Debate, Gas vs Charcoal Grilling by The Smoker King

We have all either heard or have been a part of a debate about which grilling method is better, using gas, or using charcoal. There are mixed options on this issue, and this article explores some of the benefits of both types of grills.

Everyone I have met either strongly believes in using gas grills, or solely using charcoal grills. There are a few who use both. Which one is right for you?

Gas Grills

Gas grills come in many flavors, big, small, stainless, ones with side burners for pots, and many more. They are very easy to light, usually by the push of a button, and controlling heat on them is not a problem at all. With the simple turn of a dial, and you can cook food anywhere from 200 to 500 degrees. They use propane to fuel them, and a typical, full propane tank will supply enough fuel to cook many meals. The prices of gas grills typically range from $150.00 to $500.00, and even well up into the $1,000.00 dollar range.

When purchasing a gas grill, make sure that it has at least two burners so you can cook with indirect heat on one side of the grill if you choose to do so. Many seafood items, such as fish, require a low and slow method of cooking for certain recipes, and being able to light one side of the grill and cook on the other side will make it much easier on you to achieve the desired cooking temperature you are looking for.

Tips for Purchasing a Gas Grill

1. Make sure it has 2 burners
2. Sturdy Construction- When you lift the lid, the pit seems sturdy and not shaky
3. Know your price range, and know what you want to accomplish with the grill. Will you be cooking for lots of people, or will you be cooking for a few?
4. Top brands do produce very good pits, but shop around. Many cheaper brands produce very good quality grills too.
5. What kind of warranty does the pit have? Does the company pay for shipping if something breaks on the pit and you have to send it off to get it repaired, or even receive a new part?

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills are fueled by lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes. They grills are usually in the shape of a round kettle, but many other shapes of pits, such as squares and rectangles exist. Many people will only use charcoal grills because they believe a better taste is produced by using charcoal instead of gas. I will talk more about this later.

Charcoal grills can be priced anywhere from the small, $20 dollar Hibachi, to a typical $50.00 Weber, to an expensive, $450.00 kettle, which is usually pretty large. Normally, the $50.00 Weber grill is the best way to go because it has the surface area to cook lots of food, and Weber's usually last a very long time. I have used one for 4 years now, cooking 4-5 times a month on it, and it has not let me down yet.

When using a charcoal grill, the best and easiest way to light the grill is to use a charcoal starter. This will cut your pit heating time down by 15 minutes or so because the coals will be already be lit when you put them into the pit.

Adjusting the heat on a charcoal grill can be a bit of a challenge until you get used to your pit. After a while, you will understand the exact combination of closing dampers and adjusting the lid to produce the heat you want from your grill.

Tips for Purchasing a Charcoal Grill

1. What are your intentions for the grill? Are you cooking for many people, or a few?
2. Is the pit easy to move around?
3. How easy is it to clean?
4. What is your price range? Do some research on the internet to find out what grills are priced at now.

Comparison Table
More Expensive ($150-$1000+ Less Expensive$20-$450
Heats up in 10 Minutes Heats up in 20-30 Minutes
Easy to Adjust Heat Takes Practice to Adjust Heat Setting
Easy to Use Year Round Harder to Use in Winter
Can Not Add Wood Chips Easily Add Wood Chips for Smoke Flavor
Food Tastes Good, Lacks Smoky Flavor Better Taste From Smoke Produced by Coals and Wood


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