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Gas vs. Charcoal

  1. May 18, 2009 #1
    Which is the better grilling method?


    I personally prefer charcoal much more than eating gas grilled food.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 18, 2009 #2

    DaveC426913

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    You're going to get a zillion responses about how unhealthy one or the other or both is.

    But charcoal adds flavour.
     
  4. May 18, 2009 #3
    BAH, what doesn't cause cancer? Charcoal >> gas IMO
     
  5. May 18, 2009 #4
    Charcoal tastes better, but gas is easier.
     
  6. May 18, 2009 #5

    turbo

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    Both!!!! Use a charcoal grill, and get the briquets going with a propane torch (mine is 500,000 BTU), so you don't have to taste the residue from lighter fluid. For quick and dirty, or large groups, the Char-Broil gas grill is the way to go. For smaller get-togethers or for smoking salmon, turkey, etc, the stacking modular charcoal-fired Brinkman smoker is the boss. I bought it at LL Bean at least 25 years ago, and though I've had to replace a few pans, it's still going strong.
     
  7. May 18, 2009 #6
    Lighter fluid? Never ever ever use lighter fluid. You need one of these.

    weber-charcoal-chimeney.jpg


    You can have your coals lit in 10-15 min. with that pup. It makes it 20x's easier. No lighter fluid necessary.

    You should also use all natural charcoals rather than that compressed stuff like kingsford. It burns much hotter.
     
  8. May 18, 2009 #7

    lisab

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    My BBQ can do either one. Usually, I use charcoal. I often add a few wood chips (hickory, apple, mesquite, etc.) as well, for extra smoke flavor.

    But sometimes it doesn't make sense to use charcoal, like if I'm cooking something wrapped in foil...it's not going to benefit from smoke. In those cases, I switch to gas.
     
  9. May 18, 2009 #8
    I recommend propane, and propane accessories I tell you whhat.
     
  10. May 18, 2009 #9

    russ_watters

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    Hmm.... you can eat charcoal with your fingers, but how do you eat gas?
     
  11. May 18, 2009 #10
    I have one of those...IT WORKS GREAT!!!
     
  12. May 18, 2009 #11

    turbo

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    I hear you. I made these "starters" from open-ended coffee cans with can-opener air-holes in the early/mid 60s. My first Boy Scout merit badge was for cooking, and I spent a lot of time schooling my fellow scouts in how to gather fuel, start fires, keep fires graduated (some parts hot, some parts cooler) for cooking lots of stuff, and generally make some meals that other kids could stand to eat.
     
  13. May 18, 2009 #12
    Veerry carefully:surprised

    On topic though, I have a patio BBQ with both gas and a wood or charcoal fire box ...every time I cook with wood (the next day after it cools) my Lab puppy pulls out charred pieces of wood and eats them. The first time he drug a piece into the family room...wasn't pretty.
     
  14. May 18, 2009 #13

    Moonbear

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    We used to have an electric "element" thing that fit in the bottom of an elongated pan for starting charcoal. This was something we had way back when I was a wee little kid, and I have not seen such a thing since then, but it was by far the easiest way to start charcoal. Of course, it wasn't so useful if you were out camping or such, but for the backyard bbq, it worked well.

    I prefer the taste of food cooked over charcoal, and have a charcoal grill for the times when I can take the time for getting it heated, but most of the time I use the propane grill because it's faster.
     
  15. May 18, 2009 #14

    Ivan Seeking

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    For steaks I use a combination of about ~ 50% freshly cut and properly sized oak, and 50% charcoal, by volume.

    In my experience, propane doesn't produce enough heat. I think there may be two aspects of this. Firstly, apparently many propane BBQs are underpowered.

    http://bbqright.com/natural-gas-vs-propane-vs-charcoal/natural-gas-vs-propane-vs-charcoal/ [Broken]

    There is also the issue of how the heat is distributed. I've come to suspect that most propane BBQs don't produce as much energy per unit area [effective cooking area] as compared to what is possible with charcoal [and wood]. But I guess it could be that I've just never used a properly designed propane BBQ. There was one gourmet BBQ chef that I saw some years ago who seemed to confirm my perception of this when he said that nothing beats charcoal for steaks [within the context that you can never have too much heat]. Chicken is another story.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  16. May 18, 2009 #15

    Moonbear

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    I have one of the cheapest propane grills available, since I bought it when I moved to the townhouse where I didn't know how trustworthy the area was for things left out on the back deck, which anyone could have walked down and taken something from. It's certainly not underpowered. If anything, it's a bit overpowered and things tend to burn even on the lowest setting. But, it's small and doesn't have those lava rock things to distribute the heat. I guess if you put the same burner into a larger grill, or add lava rocks between the flame and food, it would diffuse the heat and make it under powered.
     
  17. May 18, 2009 #16

    Heat distribution in many large commercial grills is achieved by positioning the burners under long pieces of angle iron. The flame heats the metal, is evenly distributed and the effect of grease dripping on the metal surface and burning away adds more flavor. It is ideal for cooking chicken on a lower heat as well (original design for El Pollo Loco grill).

    other designs featue the same basic design with ceramic/lava rocks over the metal baffles.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  18. May 18, 2009 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    I remembered this post by Monique

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=717907&highlight=steak#post717907

    It sounded like they used a 1900 deg F uniform heat source, which would be inline with what the chef said.
     
  19. May 18, 2009 #18

    lisab

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    I bet what Monique was referring to is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dried_beef" [Broken] It's paradise, for those who love really good beef. But good luck trying to buy it at your local grocery store.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  20. May 19, 2009 #19

    Evo

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    Yeah, my "meat connection" that gets me restaurant overstock are all specially dry aged. The meat is so tender, it is almost falling apart before you cook it.

    YUMMY!!!

    And I prefer charcoal if I am grilling. Evo and containers of compressed gas + fire are not a good idea.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  21. May 19, 2009 #20
    I find that gas grills burn food more often than charcoal grills especially with thick cuts of steak/beef/pork/chicken because you have to turn them up to get the meat cooked all the way through. The flame in a gas grill is contanstly in contact with the meat when you have it turned up resulting in burned food. Charcoal you don't have to worry about this. You get more intense heat with little flame which yields less burned food.
     
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