I love to grill. I always like to pretend that I am Bobby Flay. I realize that I am an amateur, when it comes to grilling. However, I am always looking to grill that perfect meal. In some ways, I get consumed in what I am doing. During my grilling history, I have used both charcoal and propane. Each has their pluses and negatives. This article takes a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Technology has had a bad affect on grilling. Nothing is worst that a foul chemical odor around your food. I can’t even stand the smell of it in my backyard. Self lighting charcoal is saturated with lighting chemicals. Why? To speed up the grilling process. Wouldn’t you rather smell the seasoning, rub or sauce simmering on your grill?
You can even find charcoal bags that you burn with the charcoal. Toss in a bag and light it. How challenging is that? Cooking with regular charcoal is a slow process. Get your coals lighted and then wait until you see the whiteness on the edges of each brick before you begin. Remember, you can always add bricks as you need them. Tip; Grill one item first and see if the grill is ready.
Most grilling chefs will tell you charcoal is the only way to go. Some have called gas grilling Soylent Green (a nihilism in a tank).
With charcoal, you can easily add fruit wood to charcoal to add a little smokey flavor to your food. Woods like apple, cherry and peach can bring out some great flavor.
The downside of charcoal is three things. The foul odor of lighter fluid and the slowness in prep time to begin cooking. The final element that can cause problems is heat control. It is hard to get your temperature at the right degree for grilling. You can’t turn it down or raise it up easily.
Your brother says he is bringing the family over dinner. That could mean up to seven mouths to feed. A gas grill is ideal for getting a quick meal ready. Turn it on, set your temperature and you are good to go. That is, unless you run out of propane in your tank. Make sure to have an extra tank on hand.
Is there an art to grilling successfully with propane? NO. The success in gas grilling is with meat and food preparation. If you are the type of person that throws frozen food on the gas grill, you got problems. While one side thaws, the other side burns. Always try to cook your food when it is at room temperature. Always cook low and slow whenever possible.
Try to avoid grease flare ups. Gas is different than charcoal. Charcoal will evaporate grease as it hits in most cases. This is because it is coals and not a flame. A propane grill relies on a flame. This can cause grease fires. This also could mean burnt food. Thank god for aluminum foil. If you use aluminum foil, use the best grade you can buy.
The Chef Decides
After examining both methods, I leave it up to the chef on hand. Each of us has our reasons for using either charcoal or propane. Both have advantages and disadvantages. The chef knows what he likes best.
Planking and Smoking
If you want to get exotic with your grilling, check out these two articles. I have done both and when I have the time, I prefer them over the other two.