It’s getting to be that time of the year again, warm summer nights, evenings spent on the patio and dinners charred to perfection on the grill. Cookouts and social events in the summertime rely on the power of the grill, because nothing says “summer” like a grilled cheeseburger and shish-kabobs fresh off the BBQ. But, with that said, there’s an everlasting debate about the best type of grill for cooking: charcoal grills or gas grills. There is nothing that officially says one is better than the other, and it usually comes down to personal taste. Here are some tips about each type to decide whether a charcoal or gas grill is better for your cooking needs.
Round 1: Searing
Searing is one of the most common forms of grilling, where the meat browns evenly on both sides, offering a tasty crunchy texture to the outside of the meat. The best searing results can be achieved on a charcoal grill. More direct infrared heat is produced with charcoal grills, allowing for a more even sear across the meat without grill lines. Some gas grills offer infrared grilling options, but they come with a heavy price tag. Winner: Charcoal.
Round 2: Temperature Control
What many people don’t realize is that grilling doesn’t need to be used with extremely high heat. Some gas grills can reach up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, or higher, and charcoal can reach up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the optimal grilling temperature for meat is between 225-325 degrees Fahrenheit. Gas grills are much more efficient with temperature control than charcoal grills because they often have gauges or thermometers that track the temperature. It is much harder to regulate a steady temperature on a charcoal grill. Winner: Gas.
Round 3: Flavor
Smoke is another major difference between gas and charcoal grills. Charcoal produces more smoke than gas, and smoke can alter the flavor of whatever is being cooked, so that also comes down to a personal preference. Unlike smoke, gas produces no flavor, so the organic flavor of the food is kept when cooking on a gas grill. For foods like slow cooked ribs, beef brisket or pulled pork, charcoal grills are usually more desirable so that the smoke flavor infuses into the meat, giving it a unique flavor. Winner: You.
If you are looking for the easiest, most reliable grilling experience, we recommend going with gas. If you are looking for something that will infuse the “BBQ” flavor into what’s cooking, we recommend charcoal. Whichever experience tops your list, Aspen Fireplace & Patio is here to help you with all of your grilling needs to make your summer BBQ a hit!