We all know what kind of taste a charcoal grill can produce. If you compare it with any other type of grilling method or equipment, you will find nothing that beats it. However, most people are in doubt because of the recent medical findings that charcoal grilling can be injurious for your health.
When you cook your food on charcoal, fats from the food drips on the charcoal and vaporizes instantly due to a lot of heat. It can directly penetrate your food making it less healthy. Of course, the taste is there, but it becomes unhealthy, and more recent research has found it can cause cancer. So, most people turned their attention to gas-powered grills. The taste is different but the food also maintains its moisture and of course, it is healthier. The simplicity of cooking on a gas grill is another factor and so is the cost quotient.
This is where the debate starts; grilling on gas grills is better than charcoal grills…! But in this guide, we will show you how and why charcoal grills are better.
So, let’s get to it without further ado.
The Flavor Doesn’t Come from the Charcoal Briquettes
People who are in favor of charcoal grills claim their cooking imparts some magical flavor to their food they cook using such a grill. The brilliant smoky flavor is unmatchable if you use any other type of grilling method. They think the flavor comes from the charcoal briquettes they use, but this is not the case.
You might have gone nuts upon hearing it, but that’s the truth. Here’s why!
The Pure Carbon Status
The best part about charcoal is it can burn pretty hot and a lot more what a gas grill can achieve. The reason being; charcoal is almost pure carbon which produces plenty of energy. The manufacturers of these charcoal briquettes achieve this pure carbon status by carbonizing wood. A manufacturing plant begins this process of carbonizing wood by using little wood bits and sawdust from lumber mills and cooking them at extremely high temperatures. But they make sure there is a very little amount of oxygen used in the process, so none of it ignites.
Doing it burns out water and various other compounds and only carbon remains in the end. And they add blinders and various other additives to give them more characteristic pillow shapes.
Inside your grill, these briquettes will burn clean and even because all the volatile compounds are out. If you see that uniform glow and no smoke, it’s all due to the process done on these briquettes.
Your Food has Volatile Compounds, not the Charcoal
Ironically, your food has volatile compounds. The distinct flavor you get from charcoal grilling comes from those compounds, not from the charcoal you are using.
And as you heat your meat, drippings start to release and when they hit the burning hot charcoal you will hear the sizzling sounds and flames. These drippings are rich in fat, protein, oils, and sugar. They also vaporize and infuse into your food immediately. That’s how your food gets that distinctive cherry flavor. These briquettes work as middlemen and they are not the flavor makers. And with more drippings, you will get more flavor.
But Mind Those Drippings
Despite the succulent flavor, you need to control those drippings as well. They might seem like a mere drop into a bed of charcoal but with the flare-ups, your coal briefly cools down which leads to smoke if these drippings get out of control. This smoke can leave a bitter taste in your food and will destroy the entire purpose of charcoal grilling.
You can get fancy with it if you scatter some wood chips over your coals because they won’t burn as extremely as the coals but they also retain all the compounds that the briquettes lost during the process of carbonization. During the vaporization process, several compounds interact with to produce that brilliant taste; we all crave.
Reasons to Buy a Charcoal Grill
The best reason to go for a charcoal grill is the taste it can produce. It gets hotter quicker than any gas grill. All the heat is mandatory if you want to get your lamb chops and steaks crispier on the outside while juicy and succulent on the inside.
Additionally, charcoal can emit a stronger smoky flavor. Even before it is fully lit and continue to emit smoke as you extend your cooking process. When you have your coals ashed over and fully lit for your short cooks you won’t find too much of that smoke. But that flavor still is so wonderful. And you can also use some charcoal grills that allow you to raise or lower the charcoal bed during the cooking process for better flavors. And to add to that, there is the charm of cooking over a charcoal grill that you cannot get from cooking over a gas grill. Of course, it needs some experience to handle a cookout using a charcoal grill. This is where the joy of grilling BBQ over charcoal grills is priceless.
Why People Don’t Go for Charcoal Grills
Most of the people don’t go for charcoal grills primarily because of two reasons; health and safety. Those drippings cool down your coals. There are increased chances of flare-ups as well. These are neither good for your health nor your safety. But both these issues can be resolved if you know how to handle a charcoal grill well which takes some time. It is best to invest in a thermometer for proper temperature maintenance of your grill.
It will let you know when to increase or decrease the temperature. Over time you will get better working with it and you won’t need a thermometer later on. Your entire goal is to prevent those flare-ups.
Using a charcoal grill is much funnier and adds more flavor to your food. It’s just a matter of how quickly you can learn the entire process of controlling the temperature. Cooking over a charcoal grill is better and gives you a sense of achievement.
After all, you are making an effort to keep the temperature steady without using any knobs. And when you get the taste according to your liking, it becomes a memorable experience.