It’s a question that has plagued beef-lovers for decades… Should you choose a gas or charcoal BBQ?! There’s no set answer, as the BBQ that’s best for you depends entirely on your priorities – it’s all a matter of taste VS convenience.
Here are some factors to consider when deciding between BBQs:
One simple thing to remember when it comes to convenience is that the more convenient a grill becomes, the less smoky flavour it will produce. Gas grills heat up and cool down very quickly and they are very easy to use. A charcoal BBQ can take up to 40 minutes to produce the whitened cinders that are essential for cooking your hamburgers, sausages or steaks.
You need to decide what you value more – traditional smoky BBQ flavour or speed and convenience. If you want to come home from work and throw a couple of steaks on the grill for a quick and hassle-free dinner, then a gas (or even an electric) BBQ might be what you’re looking for.
You also need to consider how much control you want over your BBQ process. Although the heat of charcoal BBQs can be adjusted, gas barbeques have easily adjustable and accurate heat controls. All you need to do is turn the dial and you’ll have the exact cooking temperature you need. Charcoal is very hands on – you need to spread the coals out for even cooking or pile them up in areas where you want extra heat. Avid BBQers love the skill and time that cooking on charcoal grill requires.
Charcoal grills often provide a better sear than gas grills, because they produce more direct infrared heat. Charcoal also creates more smoke than gas, and this provides a broad range of tasty flavour molecules for your meats. You can create smoky flavour on a gas BBQ though – see how.
Charcoal grills come with a slightly higher risk of fire than gas grills, as coals and sparks can escape the grill. Whether cooking with gas or charcoal, we recommend that you always have a fire extinguisher and first aid kit on hand. If you live in an apartment, make sure that you check with your Body Corporate or building management before purchasing a gas or charcoal grill – many apartment blocks do not allow them.
What’s our verdict? We can’t go past the great smoky flavour that a charcoal grill infuses into our favourite steaks… but we also understand that for those wanting a quick, convenient and easy BBQ experience, a gas BBQ is the way to go. Basically, if fun and flavour are your priorities, go charcoal. If ease of use is your main goal, go gas.