Nothing can surpass the boundless joy of family gatherings in a hot summer day, firing up the grill and making a delicious meal to enjoy together. We all know that grilling is a great way to cook. Everyone follows their own preferences when barbecuing, to achieve the best result. Then again there lies The Great Grill Debate- Charcoal vs. Gas Grill- which is better . This battle of flames may dim your zealous joy and enthusiasm to a great extent.
To release you from the grasp of indecision is our major purpose. For that, we will break down some essentials you need to know before selecting one. We will address some potential health issues along with the several pros and cons for each type of grill. It will serve you to decide which one you can use with full confidence. Stick to the end!
Charcoal creates a feel of traditional flavor in your food. On the contrary, a gas grill imparts a bacon-like taste. So, selecting a grilling option entirely depends on your tastebuds. Nevertheless if you are a cooking aficionado, you should leave no stone unturned to know the distinctive differences between the two selections.
Charcoal Vs. Gas Grill Health Issues
Health is wealth as the saying goes. And that’s why, we should remember that we eat not to satisfy our hunger only but to remain healthy. The method we use to cook food meaning the process and ingredients we use should also be worthwhile for our health.
Charcoal produces Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Heterocyclic Amines when you cook food over the high temperature of an open flame. Scientists have found that both of which are carcinogens. The fat on the meat drips because of the heat. Then, as the fat burns, it creates Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) -infused smoke. As a result, it coats whatever you are cooking. Plus, charcoal produces more smoke. People think that these carcinogens are responsible for causing cancer though the scientists are not entirely sure. But why will you take the risk?
Besides, charcoal produces carbon monoxide that we all know is poisonous. If you inhale it directly while barbecuing, something fatal can occur. Furthermore, the flame of charcoal is unpredictable, which may cause any burn injury.
However, you may minimize the risk by marinating your meats for 30 minutes or longer. It will reduce the harmful chemicals absorbed into the food up to 90% while cooking. Plus, trim the fat that will create less smoke as well as less PAHs. Frequently flip the meat that will result in fewer HCAs.
Now, the million-dollar-question arises- Is Gas Grill healthier than Charcoal? The answer is, yes! Gas Grills are healthier than Charcoal-fueled grills because the meat will not absorb such detrimental chemicals when cooked. But there is an equivalent risk of producing HCAs if you cook at a higher temperature. No worries though, thanks to its temperature control system, which offers you the opportunity to eliminate the threat. Nevertheless, you will find less physical and health risks while using a gas grill.
Pros and Cons of Charcoal Vs. Gas Grill
Both options have advantages and disadvantages. Here, we will present them with their benefits and drawbacks.
Pros of Charcoal Grills:
Some die-hard barbecue fans firmly believe that the only way to grill is with charcoal. Charcoal brings a rich, distinctive, and smoky flavor to your table, which makes it unbeatable. Moreover, it is so unique that even a gas grill with an attached smoker box cannot make it. Here are some benefits of charcoal grills:
Higher temperature range:
Charcoal grills burn with a higher temperature than gas grills. You will need to reach a temperature of at least 600 degrees Fahrenheit to have a nice sear on your meat. It is not a matter of concern because a loaded kettle grill with red-hot charcoal can reach up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit. You can find gas grills with higher temperatures, but they cost more.
Creates rich and smoky flavor:
Do you want a tasty and smoky flavor in your food? A charcoal grill can fulfill your craving. Smoke forms when the drippings from your steak, chicken, or veggies fall on the hot coals. Then the smoke wraps around your food. As a result, you will achieve a unique flavor of charcoal grilling.
Charcoal grills offer easy assembly. It takes half an hour at best for the setup.
Thanks to its hassle-free maintenance it will not throw you in shambles for its keeping up. You can replace the grill grates annually or every other year. It depends on its wear and tear. Most importantly, charcoal grills do not require a bunch of other parts to maintain.
Charcoal grills are very portable in comparison to gas grills. You can easily carry them wherever you want. Consequently, you can enjoy barbecuing with your near and dear ones at the back of your yard or in the woods while camping.
Does not flare-up:
Charcoal produces heat for cooking. It does not flare up like open flame gas grills. As a result, you can avoid any unpleasant incidents relating to flames.
Cons of Charcoal Grills
Despite having all these astounding things, charcoal grills also suffer from some drawbacks. The key setbacks are as follow:
Pros of Gas Grills
The most notable feature of a Gas Grill is that you can easily set the fire. You can instantly light a gas grill, and it takes ten minutes at best to reach the proper temperature.
Clean up is easier with gas grills than charcoal. You will need to clean the grate before or after grilling by turning the grill on high. Then you have to brush the grates.
Convenient to Use:
You can get this going by simply clicking a button. Gas Grills features knobs for easy controlling. Besides, some models include multiple racks that provide more cooking surface.
When it comes to temperature control, nothing can beat a Gas Grill. Gas Grills come with controlling knobs so that you can control the intensity of the flame.
Gas-grilled meats contain lesser carcinogens in comparison to charcoal. They do not produce carbon monoxide. Furthermore, its carbon footprint is three times lesser than that of charcoal.
Some models come with side burners or smoke boxes, which offer versatile usage. Smokebox brings the charcoal flavor in your meats while side burners allows you use the grill like a stove.
Cons of Gas Grills:
One significant drawback of a gas grill is that it does not burn as hot as charcoal.
Gas Grills are more complicated to assemble. It takes more time than charcoal grills. A midrange model needs at least two hours to set up.
Safety comes first. You must follow safety precautions while cooking. When you are cooking with a gas grill, you need to be extra careful. You should accurately attach the propane tank without leaks. Besides, make sure it is free from grease. Furthermore, uncontrolled flare-ups may cause a fire hazard.
Gas Grills are not easily portable. They are painfully heavy and dangerous with the heavy tanks, if you plan to move around the park or beach. However, you can find a travel-sized gas grills on the market.
Charcoal Vs. Propane Cost:
Once the Great Grill Debate begins, hard-core grillers love to debate on some considerations like flavor, authenticity, cooking time, and temperature control. However, some backyard barbecue lovers focus first and foremost on cost.
From a financial perspective, there is a distinct cost difference between charcoal and propane. Here, we will present you with an overview of fuel costs depending on charcoal and propane.
Cost of Charcoal per Cookout:
Let’s assume that you will need approximately 40 charcoal briquettes per barbecue, which will cost nearly $2.50 per cookout. However, by using a standard six-quart chimney starter, you can save about 50 cents each time.
Cost of propane per barbecue:
On average, you can make three barbecues with a gallon of propane. Therefore, a five-gallon tank will provide you 15 cookouts. Generally, a 5-gallon propane tank costs $15.00, but the price may vary area-wise. So, it will take only a dollar per barbecue with a gas grill.
Now, it is crystal clear to you that charcoal is a bit more expensive than propane.
The Bottom Line:
Both charcoal and gas grills have created their deep-rooted impression in the grill lovers’ minds with their distinctive qualities. They have their advantages and disadvantages. But it can be only you who decides which one will be perfect for your family and lifestyle. Therefore, selecting the grill depends on the convenience you are after, what you are cooking, your budget, and even the area you live in.