Flame Wars: The Grill Debate
With grilling season upon us, we thought it would be a good time to sort out the gas vs. charcoal debate once and for all. In short, it’s a matter of convenience and taste, which makes both contenders equally as valuable in the ‘grate debate’ of grilling.
Of course, there are diehard purists who revel in the ritualistic lighting of the charcoal, but then there are people who swear by having a quick, hot, and healthy method of grilling using propane or natural gas. Here are the pros and cons for each:
First and foremost, charcoal grills impart that deep smoky flavor that you just can’t get when cooking with gas. This is particularly true for those cuts that require the ‘low and slow’ method, like ribs or briskets. However, some gas grills do allow you to smoke meats using various natural wood chips from different trees, each of which imparts a unique flavor. When grilling foods that require short cook-times, most people can’t tell the difference in taste between charcoal or gas.
There’s something to be said for hitting a button to light up a grill vs. having to manually ignite coals. That said, cooks who enjoy the ritual of firing up the charcoals and fine tuning the temperature don’t concern themselves with things like convenience. Gas grills take about 10 minutes to reach full temp, while charcoal generally takes 20-30 minutes after it’s lit.
This goes back to a matter of personal preference, along with what’s on the menu. Charcoal grills often get much hotter than gas, which means that they work well when you want to get that nice seared crust on your meat and still have some pink on the inside. Gas grills can do this too, but they usually require special features which can get pricey. In general, if you’re cooking something quick, gas works fine, but charcoal is superior for slow cooked foods (and when you aim to impress).
While both methods have their downsides, charcoal grills are susceptible to flare-ups and can’t be turned off in an instant, which makes them more suitable for outdoor open-area use. Gas grills come in a variety of sizes and can be shut off immediately, thus, can be used on patios and decks and balconies usually without much concern.
Charcoal takes the cake in this category, with grills costing as little as $25, while popular gas grills start around $125. Then again, people spend $6 on a cup of coffee because it’s convenient, so there’s an argument for both.
Decide For Yourself:
It all comes down to which method provides you with the most utility and which brings you the most joy. If you want to explore your options, head down to Town Hardware & General Store on June 24th from 11:00am – 3:00pm as grill specialists from Wilmington Grills will be cooking up a variety of foods for us behind the store. We will also be serving hot dogs, chips and root beer floats (free) to our customers – while supplies last.
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