Which is best, a charcoal or propane grill? This is a question many cooks have fought over for many years. In the article, “Advantages of a Charcoal Grill Over a Gas Grill” Chris Kirk claims that a charcoal grill is superior. But, in the article, “5 Reasons Why a Gas Grill is Best” Terry Edwards explain why propane is the way to go. While both of these articles are excellent, I feel that an article that gives the advantages and disadvantages of both types will help readers choose the perfect grill for their home.
Charcoal vs. Propane: Price
The first thing you will notice when shopping for a grill is that a charcoal model will be cheaper than a propane model. This is because propane models require much more handling to make sure they work properly. Every piece of a propane grill has to be thoroughly inspected to make sure the gas will flow through the system properly. On the other hand, a charcoal model is merely a vessel to hold the charcoal and a lid. There is an advantage to such a system. You can quickly make your own backyard brick barbeque if you choose charcoal, but there are other things to consider.
Charcoal vs. Propane: Cooking
The first thing to consider when it comes to cooking on a charcoal or propane grill is the heat up time. With a propane model, you simply attach a bottle of gas and light the grill. The grill will be up to temperature in only a few minutes. When you want to heat up a charcoal grill, you have to deal with lighting the charcoal, waiting for it to turn an ashy gray, and then you can proceed to cook your food. This can sometimes take up to an hour.
When it’s time to cook your food, you will find that you can easily adjust the temperature of a propane grill. You will also be able to easily cook foods at different temperatures, depending on the size of your grill. To a certain extent, you can also adjust the temperature of a charcoal grill, but this involves moving all the charcoal to one side of the grill. Even then you may find that the grill is still too hot. You can wait for the charcoal to cool down, but then you risk the charcoal getting too cool before the food is done.
What about taste? Many people believe that charcoal adds a wonderful taste, but propane will give you the same smoky flavor. The flavor doesn’t come from the fuel source. The smoky flavor you taste occurs when fat drips from the meat onto the heat source. The fat causes smoke, which adds the flavor. In other words, when it comes to taste both charcoal and propane add a great flavor.
Charcoal vs. Propane: Cleaning
Cleaning is never fun and I won’t lie. Cleaning both a charcoal and propane grill is a nasty job. Kassidy Emmerson has a wonderful article (“How to Clean Your Charcoal Grill”) that does a great job explaining how to effectively clean your grill. Some of these tips are even useful for propane grills as well. The most important thing you’ll want to remember when cleaning a propane grill is to always clean your grill after each use. If you don’t, the job will be ten times worse when you do decide to clean it. The grease will quickly add up and you’ll find that cleaning the inside of your propane grill will be a nightmare. Getting a panini press with removable plates will save you tons of time cleaning.
I hope this article has made your choice a little easier. For many people, the ease of propane is the sure winner, but other people will also enjoy the tradition of cooking on charcoal. If you need more advice, please see my article, “How to Choose the Perfect Grill”.