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Old 03-09-2009, 04:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
simonrex22's Avatar
Gas or Charcoal

Whats better? Does it matter? I wanna get a grill, but im not sure if i want a gas or charcoal. A gas grill, to me, feels like it takes away some of the mystique of what you expect from cooking on a grill. I like the idea of lighting up a pile of coals and cooking from the natural heat that you get. Does a gas grill take away any flavor that you might get using charcoal. Any opinions would be appreciated.
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
Big & Brassy
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Location: The "Canyon"
Ask 100 "Regular Joes" and you'll get a 50/50 split. But there has never been a BBQ competition won using gas - if charcoal/wood was an option.

I'm a charcoal purist. If you like playing with fire, (and if I'm reading into your post a bit, you do) go for charcoal.
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
eribrav's Avatar
Location: upstate NY
Want to grill something up quick after work, or in the winter when it's cold out? Gas is the way to go.
Want the best smoked ribs you will ever eat? For that you need lots of time and burnt charcoal.
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
Location: San Antonio, TX
Charcoal, ftw. I'm a fan of Weber kettle grills, and have a Weber platinum one. First, if you go charcoal, invest in a chimney starter. Instead of a loose pile of charcoal, you put the charcoal in the top of the 'chimney' cylinder, some paper in the bottom, and light 'er up. Instead of briquettes, look into getting some 'natural lump' charcoal. Just wood -> charcoal, no binding or lighting agents. Lowes sells a brand called 'cowboy' charcoal, which is fine for me. Takes 2 minutes to fill and light, and about 10 to get going - which is about how long it takes me to clean the grilling surface and get everything nice and hot anyway. Once the coals are ready, you just dump them into the grill and spread them around. The Weber platinum that I've got basically just comes with an attached table and a storage area underneath. I'd at least recommend one with a charcoal basket, since a friend has the one without and says it's a pain to clean. If you regularly cook for a crowd, you might pay more for one of the 'barrel' style grills. Not sure what brands to recommend there.

/me wants to go grill something now.
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
blktour's Avatar
Location: Anchorage, AK
you know those really nice grills for like $300 plus? do they make those for charcoal?

I ALWAYS see a gas tube for them. or can you get a gas one and then use charcoal?

post up some links of some good charcoal ones. I am in the market for one also. I personally prefer charcoal. I just want a nice one.
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
Darth Papa
ratbastid's Avatar
Location: Yonder
The results of charcoal grilling are without question better in every way.

However: my grill is gas.

Why? Because I'll USE a gas grill. If I have to light, tend, baby and coddle my grill, you know what? I'm just not going to do it. But if I can turn a knob and have fire, THAT, I'll do. And the results, while perhaps not quite as wonderful as burnt-over-wood, are a whole lot better than nothing.
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
Young Crumudgeon
Martian's Avatar
Location: Canada
Charcoal is definitely the way to go. Propane grills just aren't the same.

As far as nice grills, what constitutes a nice grill? You won't find a charcoal grill with side burners and digital temperature controls and all that fancy crap. It's a fire, a grill and a box to keep them in. That's all you need, and that's all you get. That said, you can get something like this if you want something that looks pretty, or something like this if you want a grill that means business. Hope you're willing to pay for it, though.

Your typical hardware or department store doesn't carry stuff like this. Honestly, though, the cheap $150 grills do the same job.

Just make sure you get one with a removable ash pan. You do need to clean out the ashes regularly, and it makes life a lot easier if you don't have to try to upend the whole damn thing.
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Old 03-09-2009, 07:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
simonrex22's Avatar
Well, I was just about set on getting a gas grill, but now i think im gonna go with a charcoal. I like the way you think robot parade.
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Old 03-09-2009, 07:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: Oregon
I have and use a Weber One-Touch Silver charcoal grill. It's not as convenient as gas, but once you get the routine of dealing with the charcoal down, it's not a big deal either. I've gotten pretty good at handling a charcoal grill, if I do say so myself. I regularly grill for large groups of people on the Weber during summer without any problems.

I can't wait until it's grilling season once more.
If I am not better, at least I am different. --Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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Old 03-09-2009, 07:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
Mine is an evil laugh
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Location: Sydney, Australia
I have both! I use the gas one the most - it is connected to the 'town' gas so I never have to fill up a cylinder and can be fired up in an instant. The Weber gets some use, but nowhere near as much as the gas one.

edit: they also have a different purpose for me - I use the Weber mostly for roasting (i.e. indirect cooking) and the gas for grilling (steak, sausages etc.), which usually don't need long cooking.
who hid my keyboard's PANIC button?
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Old 03-11-2009, 02:22 PM   #11 (permalink)
kutulu's Avatar
Charcoal is better for taste but gas is better for all other reasons. Charcoal is much much more expensive. I grill a lot and a tank of propane is about $12 and lasts for a few months. $12 worth of charcoal doesn't last very long.
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Old 03-11-2009, 02:43 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Location: Some nucking fut house.
How long until someone posts a Hank Hill picture?
Don't always trust the opinions of experts.
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:13 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Location: Denver City Denver
Gas is for grilling.

Wood is for smoking/barbecue.
heavy is the head that wears the crown
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:41 PM   #14 (permalink)
Location: San Antonio, TX
The robot just cooked pork tenderloin and brussels sprouts on his charcoal grill. It wasn't really that much more time than a gas grill would have been, imho.

o Fill chimney starter with charcoal, stuff some paper under, light.

o Make up a spice rub for the 'loin. Tonight it was salt, cumin, paprika, chilli powder, and cocoa (Hey, don't knock it...)

o Prep the brussels sprouts. They got a onions, salt, little evoo, fennel, and tarragon

o Clean the grill grate, and grill 'wok'. Scrape the crap off, wipe down, and oil.

o Pour out charcoal into grill. Put grate on grill, cover.

o kick soccer ball around with The Dog and The Daughter for 5 minutes.

o Put the loin on grill, cover.

o 5 more minutes of soccer. Turn loin, cover.

o 5 minutes helping The Wife get the table and stuff ready

o Check loin. Not done yet. Turn, move to cooler area of grill, put grill wok on grill.

o 5 minutes later, toss 'sprouts into the grill wok, cook for a few minutes, take loin off to rest, then plate sprouts and loin.

o Eat.
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Old 03-13-2009, 10:30 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Location: South of the Donna-Dixon Line
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Old 03-13-2009, 11:00 AM   #16 (permalink)
... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.
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Gas is a lot easier, but charcoal is the superior taste. Still, don't completely discount wood, wood BBQ can create unique and really incredible tastes.

Never be afraid to experiment in cooking.
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:14 PM   #17 (permalink)
Location: west michigan
Charcol without a doubt! I got my Char - Griller Super Pro fired up for the first time this year over the weekend. Gas is more convenient but thats all it's got going for it. Why gas grill things? Why not just broil it in your gas oven? If I grill something its for the smoky flavor. I just got my side smoker on and I'm very excited to do some ribs and pork butts. MMMMM Pork.....
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Old 03-23-2009, 05:18 AM   #18 (permalink)
Location: Houston,TX
Charcoal is a bit better for taste but gas it's the spot too and does it faster. Though it is a little more dangerous, a friend of mine burnt a good portion of his right eye brow this past weekend.
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Old 03-24-2009, 06:48 AM   #19 (permalink)
Originally Posted by robot_parade View Post
o Make up a spice rub for the 'loin. Tonight it was salt, cumin, paprika, chilli powder, and cocoa (Hey, don't knock it...)
I love cocoa in sauces and other stuff ... molé rojo and molé negro are my favorite Mexican sauces. Of course, I don't eat meat anymore so I have to get a little creative.

Sorry for the threadjack.
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Old 03-24-2009, 04:48 PM   #20 (permalink)
I'll ask when I'm ready....
Push-Pull's Avatar
Location: Firmly in the middle....
I added a rack just above the burners of my gas grill and placed some of the ceramic briquettes on that. Now the gas grill gets evenly hot, and I don't have as much of a hot vs cold spot problem. Also, if I want to burn something for dinner right quick, but want a bit of flavor, I just through on some wood chips (2 or 3 is enough) and just as they start smoking I toss on the meat. Gives it a nice smoked flavor with a fast turnaround.

That being said, I just made myself a wood/charcoal grill out of an old water heater tank. Nice thing is that it's long enough that I can get the coals glowing, and push them off to either end of the grill and do some indirect grilling. We did a whole chicken on the maiden voyage, and it was the juiciest chicken I've ever had. Indirect with wood coals is the bomb!
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