It has been discussed for years. Which is better, a gas grill or a charcoal grill? Is it really a question about taste vs. convenience and what about the cost? For years I was a die-hard charcoal user and my argument was that the smoke from the charcoal added additional flavor to the meat and the gas grill wasn’t able to do the same.
Well, let’s look at one of the arguments at a time.
Convenience: ok there is no way around that one. The gas grill is the sure winner. You open the gas, hit the start button and wait for the grill to heat up to the desired temperature. Many gas grills has a thermometer built in the lid so you can control the barbeque temperature. Cooking on a charcoal grill take a little more work as you’ll have to lighten the charcoal with fluid and wait for the flames to burn out. You have very little control over the grilling temperature, but a lot of experienced charcoal grillers are using direct and indirect bbq grilling methods to get the meat where they want it without burning or undercooking it.
Cost: here comes the charcoal grill in as number one. You can get a small portable charcoal grill for as little as $20. The regular grills that most people will be using for their backyard bbq cooking will be within the $35 – $200 range. Gas grills for similar use will be starting around $300 and the more expensive gas grills will be up to $2500.
The taste: to me this isn’t an issue anymore. The lava rocks you are using for heat distribution brings a charcoal flavor to the meat and when the meat is dripping on the hot rocks it will create smoke that will flavor the meat as well. You can always throw in a handful of smoking chips for additional flavor, if that isn’t enough.
Conclusion: there isn’t any conclusion really. It’s all about preferences. I went from charcoal grilling to an $800 gas grill and I will never go back. I love the high level of control I got over the grilling process and the meat I am grilling comes out perfect and juicy with just the right amount of barbeque flavor.