Grills are used in one of three ways: high heat using direct radiation for steaks, indirect heat using convention roasting for whole chickens, and indirect heat using smoke roasting for ribs. Each of these can be performed by either a gas or charcoal grill. However, meat lovers and grillers everywhere are adamantly divided in their preferences for gas and charcoal grills.
Weighing the Pros and Cons
Charcoal grills are a ritual with campers and for picnics while gas grills are quicker for a nice grilled steak dinner. Charcoal grills typically cook at temperatures between five and seven hundred degrees Fahrenheit. This high temperature is perfect for red meat cuts like sirloin and t-bone steaks. Fortunately, the temperature can be changed slowly using the air vents at the top of the grill to control the amount of oxygen allowed inside the grill. It is recommended that you use a reliable oven thermometer to ensure proper temperature management in charcoal grills. Another helpful hint is to use two stage cooking. In two stage cooking, you have a hot side and a warm side which prevents food from burning and overcooking when monitored correctly. Charcoal grills are definitely more technical, require time for the charcoal to heat up, and there is much clean up involved.
Most gas grills get to temperatures of four to six hundred degrees Fahrenheit. A digital thermometer is recommended for use with gas grills as the thermometers are on the top of the grill away from the meat; thus, the grill thermometer is more than likely not equating the temperature at meat level. Like charcoal grills, it is recommended to use a two or three stage cooking technique on gas grills. One stage should be hot for meat, one medium heat for vegetable grilling, and one warm for food ready to serve. Another difference is that gas grills have metal grates atop the fire that prevents the meat and vegetables from coming in direct contact with the fire.
Gas grills provide the convenience of a quick setup, heat up time, and clean up with temperature control for the novice griller. Gas grills are more temperamental in nature but allow you to control the element of fire. Some grilling enthusiasts argue that there is a taste difference between the two but the difference seems to be in the functionality and preference of the griller. Grill tonight’s dinner, whether you use gas or charcoal!