If you ever wanna pick a fight at a BBQ it’s as easy as walking up to the cook and questioning her decision to use (insert the opposite of whatever fuel she’s using), and then asserting said opposite is far superior.
Then prepare to bob and weave, or face what onlookers will describe the next day as “a good old-fashioned tong flogging.”
Why is this such a contentious topic? Isn’t <em>the food</em> the most important factor in this equation? Has the whole world gone <em>mad</em>? Well, maybe not …
<strong>Gas Grill Pros</strong>
1. <em>Convenience</em>: People who really love to grill might be out there on the patio tending flames two, three, even four times a week, if not more. Do you know what it’s like to have to start a charcoal fire that often? And, that's not to mention the amount of ash you'll have to dump. Gas grills heat up fast and easy – a major reason why people love propane and natural gas.
2. <em>Control:</em> Controlling the temperature of a charcoal grill is the equivalent of high art. You really have to know what you’re doing, and for some people that’s a hoot and a holler. For others, though, it’s a pain in the neck that’s easily overcome with a <a title="Gas Grills" href="http://www.atgstores.com/gas-grills_2585.html" target="_blank">gas grill</a>. You can create heat zones, precisely adjust the temperature on the fly and eliminate guesswork; all of which are more difficult to do with a charcoal grill.
3. <em>No Ashes</em>: It’s not fair to say gas grills are easier to clean, because that’s not always true, but it is a fact that you never have to empty any ashes, which is pretty sweet.
<strong>Charcoal Grill Pros</strong>
1. <em>Smoke</em>: You can always add liquid smoke to your food, but nothing will compare to the smoky flavor you (<em>can</em>) get from a <a title="Charcoal Grills" href="http://www.atgstores.com/charcoal-grills_3819.html" target="_blank">charcoal grill</a> when you’re cooking thicker pieces of beef, chicken, chops and fish. And, of course, this goes double for when you’re <a title="Smokers" href="http://www.atgstores.com/smokers_967.html" target="_blank">smoking meat</a>, although it must be noted that there are <a title="Gas Smokers" href="http://www.atgstores.com/smokers_967.html?atb=attr_type=|propane|&groupid=398383&linkloc=catheader" target="_blank">gas</a> and <a title="Electric Smokers" href="http://www.atgstores.com/smokers_967.html?atb=attr_type=|electric|&groupid=894888&linkloc=catheader" target="_blank">electric smokers</a>, too.
2. <em>Overall Cleaning Ease</em>: Okay, so ditching the ashes every three grill sessions or so can get tedious, but this is really all the cleanup a charcoal grill will ever ask of you. You don’t have to worry about scrubbing the gas jets or pushing all the char out of a tiny hole, whereupon it often ends up all over your patio anyway.
3. <em>Maintenance</em>: Now, this is really where a charcoal grill wins out. The thing will never break. All you have to do is <em>not</em> leave it out in the rain or back over it with your truck and it should last for a very, very long time. Of course, a well-loved gas grill will last awhile, too, but the chances of having to replace a hose, a knob or a starter are higher because, well … charcoal grills don’t need ‘em.
<strong>The Flavor Factor</strong>
So, you probably noticed that we didn’t touch the subject of flavor and the reason is simple: That’s what people always fight about, and it’s the one thing that doesn’t have an objective answer. The gas lovers are always going to gloat about gas (“Hey, Hank Hill! Howdy!”) and the charcoal lovers are always going to back the briquette.
The truth, though, is that it will always come down to the person holding the tongs. A great pool shark once said, “Give me a crooked broomstick and I’ll still take your money on any table.” The same is true of great grillers – a true artist cares not about the fuel and will be happy to cook up a masterpiece using whatever flame is available.