The comparison of charcoal grill vs gas grill is an age-old debate. Different chefs and home cooks have different priorities and they favor one over the other. Charcoal grills are all about traditional values because they have been around for so many years.
Gas grills are a later addition to the BBQ world. If you are looking for the flavor of your wood chips then the charcoal grill is the better option. But if you are a fan of that bacon-like tasting meat, gas grills will work for you.
Now, picking a side in such a scenario is a highly subjective matter. Different people have different tastes and preferences. But being an enthusiastic cook, you need to differentiate between both grills.
Today in this battle of flames we will find out which type of grill should you prefer over the other.
So, read on to find everything about the comparison of charcoal grill vs. gas grill!
|Features||Charcoal grill||Gas grill|
|Ease of use||Maintain the temperature regularly or end up burned or undercooked food.||More of a set and forget style. You only need to turn your food.|
|Taste||Best choice if you are looking to get that smoky flavor in your meat and veggies.||The taste here is going to be more bacon-like. It's more about juiciness.|
|Temperature control||Fully manual temperature control.||Just turn the knob for the right temperature.|
|Recommended users||Professionals and experienced pitmasters.||Even novices can operate it with a little attention.|
|Weather||Not too great in windy conditions. Can be very risky due to flare-ups.||No risk in windy conditions.|
|Maneuverability||Very easy to move from one place to another.||The liquid propane versions are easy to maneuver but the natural gas versions need to be fixed as they are attached to the gas line that is plumbed into your patio.|
The primary difference - Charcoal grill vs. gas grill
For those of you who are new to the BBQ world, here is some brief detail on how you can primarily differentiate a charcoal grill with a gas grill.
This is the favorite of the purists as it is considered to be more authentic when it comes to grilling food. These grills use charcoal briquettes and some times that are used with wood chips as well.
The charcoal serves here to be the fuel source while the wood chips are added for flavor. The smoky aroma and taste this grill can produce, are unmatched.
It is a slower cooking process and you need to practice a lot to make everything immaculate. This grill requires time to light up. But of course, there is high octane assistance available too.
A major factor here is that you need to control the temperature all by yourself and it needs to be accurate if you are looking for the optimal results. Here, cleaning up is also tedious but the flavor that you get makes everything worthy.
Gas grills, on the other hand, come in cart-like forms. In some cases people have them installed permanently into their outdoor cooking space. There are different numbers of burners available here. Two different options are available here as well. You can either go for liquid propane gas grills or natural gas grills. Natural gas tends to burn cleaner and it is cheaper as well.
You also won’t have to worry about running out of fuel during your BBQ party. But natural gas grills are permanent installations and you can’t move your grill from one place to another. It might be a huge problem if you don’t have natural gas plumbed out in your patio or deck. This is where the LP grills come in as they are better in terms of portability. But you need to plan and make sure that there is enough fuel available for you to get through your BBQ.
Gas grills are more precise when it comes to cooking and maintaining the temperatures. You won’t have to wait a lot for your grill to start up and there is a dial that allows you to control the temperature. Cleaning up and maintenance of these grills is also much easier than charcoal grills. You won’t get that smoky flavor here but the meat you cook with a gas grill will be moister and you don’t have to do much to get that flavor.
Which one has what to offer?
Both charcoal grills and gas grills have their pros and cons. And choosing one over the other is highly subjective. When it comes to flavor and taste, there is no better option than a charcoal grill. If you prefer smoky flavors in your BBQ then a charcoal grill is the right option for you. But getting those flavors is not an easy task.
To begin with, starting your charcoal grill requires time. And then there are no temperature controls with which you can bring the temperature up or down according to your requirements. Therefore, you need a good bit of practice to work with such a grill. Otherwise, you might have to eat under or overcooked meat and veggies.
Gas grills, on the other hand, are much easier to start and you can manage and control the temperature according to your needs. These grills are not going to provide you with that smoky flavor but some people don’t prefer that kind of taste either. Your meat and veggies will be a lot moist and you won’t have to deal with any under or overcooked food here.
Charcoal grills require you to master them if you want that perfect taste. Gas grills are better suited for beginners. If you’re new to the world of BBQ then using a gas grill would be a good idea because you can comfortably start the grill and control the rapture without any fuss. Charcoal grills require practice, else you will end up burning or undercooking your meat. Gas grills are also a lot easier to clean and maintain as compared to their charcoal counterparts.
The health effects - Charcoal grill vs. gas grill
With more research and development in recent years, the experts say that charcoal grills are not very healthy. When you prepare food using these grills the fats and juices from the food drip onto the coals and wood chips underneath.
And when they drip, the fire burns them and they release toxic chemicals such as the heterocyclic amines (HCAs) along with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Both these chemicals are known to cause cancer in humans and animals.
On the contrary, gas grills don’t have charcoal as their fuel source so you don’t have to deal with any dripping fat on the coals to produce PAHs and HCAs. Therefore, gas grills are much healthier to use than charcoal grills.
Using charcoal grills once in a while is not harmful but if you host BBQ parties regularly then it is better to go for gas grills because the food they produce is safer and healthier.
Charcoal grill vs. gas grill - The comparison of benefits
Here is a list of some attributes that we are using to compare both these grills to paint a better picture for you as to which one you need to choose over the other.
Taste is of course the most important factor to consider here and as we have mentioned above that it is a highly subjective matter. Some people prefer that smoky flavor while others go for moist and juicy texture. If you are interested in the flavors of the charcoals and wood chips then charcoal grills are better. Gas grills will work better if you prefer juicy and tender meat over anything else.
The entire cooking time
This one has to go to the gas grills because the cooking time with these grills is a lot lesser than the one with the charcoal grills. Cooking time includes the time that you take to start your grill till you take your food off it.
Charcoal grills take very long to start because you need to burn the coals unless you use some high-octane assistance. Still maintaining the right temperature during the cooking process requires experience and precision and it takes time. Gas grills on the other hand can prepare the food quicker than charcoal grills because the temperature remains consistent.
This is closely related to the point about cooking time we have described above. You are much more in control of your cooking when you are using a gas grill. This grill comes with temperature dials and you can easily maintain the right kind of temperature according to your preferences.
This utility is not available in charcoal grills and you have to maintain the right temperature all by yourself. It is something that you won’t be able to manage unless you have years of experience dealing with your grill or doing BBQs.
Cleaning and maintenance
Cleaning and maintenance is another factor that puts the gas grills ahead of the charcoal grills. Charcoals can be very messy because of the ash that they create. And then there are wood chips as well.
So cleaning a charcoal grill requires more attention. On the other hand, gas grills don’t need charcoal to fuel, hence, a lesser mess is here. Most of the gas grills come with ashtrays and they are very easy to remove and clean.
Barbecuing with a charcoal grill might involve some risk as well if you are not familiar with all the procedures and protocols. Charcoal can burn your hand if you get too close to the heat and have no control over temperature.
Working with charcoal grills in windy conditions is even riskier as the ashes can blow out of the grill. These are the issues that are not there when you use a gas grill even in windy conditions. So here is another point that goes in favor of the gas grills.
Gas grills also come with a few additional accessories. You might have side burners on these grills and there are lighting fixtures as well. These grills also come with a storage rack and work area.
These add-ons are mostly not there on a charcoal grill. When it comes to a charcoal grill you are the sole operator and controller of everything. If you don’t have enough experience then the results might not come out to be very favorable.
This one is a no brainer because gas grills come with so many conveniences and add-on features that they are bound to have a bigger price tag on them as compared to the charcoal grills. If you have a budget concern then you need to go for a charcoal grill. But if you prefer some safety features and additional specs and budget is not a problem then a gas grill will work for you.
In this comparison of charcoal grills vs. gas grills, we have come to know that both these grills have their positives and negatives. However, if you run a close assessment, you will notice that the gas grill has more edge over the charcoal grills. They are much easier to use and maintain. There are fewer risks associated with health and safety in the case of gas grills and they allow you to easily control the cooking process.
Alternatively, charcoal grills offer more portability but their simplistic design puts you in the driver’s seat. Now, if you know the art of searing then the flavor that charcoal grills produce is unmatchable. But you need to master the art of maintaining the temperature.
We would say, if you do a lot of BBQ then you must go for gas grills because they are more convenient to use and produce healthier food. Otherwise, charcoal grills are great but you need to perfect the art before making it your ultimate choice.