› ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Grills: Gas or Charcoal?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Grills: Gas or Charcoal? - Page 2  

Poll Results: Gas or Charcoal

  • 41% (18)
    Give me a gas grill....
  • 58% (25)
    Charcoal is the only way to go, gas grills are for wimps.
  • 0% (0)
    I never grill it is too hot for me.
43 Total Votes  
post #31 of 54
I use real wood lump charcoal.

I suppose somewhere there may be a time penalty. however, the theory of "plan ahead" says if you light the chimney starter with the lump wood before you start seasoning / marinating the meat, there is no time loss.

more or less, approximately, but supported by taste . . .

if you can't afford to dine, don't do the time
post #32 of 54
Sometimes I don't have a lot of time left to make dinner, after a day out or whatever, and I'd rather have the choice of a gas grill than having grilling ruled out.
post #33 of 54
The only rule is have fun. I run fireplace logs or hardwood lump charcoal in my grill; and propane for heat and hardwood chunk for smoke in my smoker. If we don't have time to grill with fire or charcoal we cook inside. Know what? I've got fifty bucks and a 12 pack of Tecate that says you cook a great steak.

Bar B Chef Texas Charcoal Grill
Bar B Chef Offset Smoker w/Afterburner
post #34 of 54
On occasion I've thought it would be nice to have a gas grill handy for quick convenience. It does take time to get charcoal fired up for cooking. My friend has a nice gas unit, and the food he turns out is good, but charcoal does give a better flavor, in my opinion. Especially if one uses good hardwood lump and not that Kingsford stuff that seems to be mostly dirt. Of course, Kingsford is sold pretty much everywhere on the planet it seems, so it is a lot easier to find than lump.

When I don't have time to grill I cook indoors. A pan seared steak, possibly oven finished, can be really good, but different than one cooked over coals. There's no reason not to have both techniques in your culinary repertoire.

But for real barbeque, like ribs, butts, or brisket that takes hours and hours, indoor substitutes just don't cut it. Sure, I've done them in the oven, the end result is tasty eating, but it isn't barbeque.

We may have some nice clear, sunny weather this weekend in Utah, perhaps I'll plan on firing up the smoker...

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #35 of 54
i do really miss the smell and the taste of a wood fired bbq , but for versatility and being able to use all year round you cant beat a gas bbq

in a perfect world i would have both
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires
post #36 of 54
My complaint about gas grills is that no matter how many BTUs they put out, they don't put it out to the surface, so you're just burning gas and not getting cooking happening. All three of the grills I've used, two of them Webber, have been like this.

On the other hand, my horrible old no-name brand charcoal grill finally died and I replaced it with a big egg, and it's genius. I also immediately used it to make pulled pork, smoking the meat for about 12 hours over a periodically-manipulated fire of pine and sugar maple brush-cuttings, all green. The flavor was indescribably good: we ate it for four days straight and never thought it was boring. And now that I use a chimney to light the coals, I don't find the half hour wait any trouble.

I guess I'm with the previous poster who said, "light the chimney, start chopping veggies" (and prepping meat), and when it's ready, you're ready, so get grilling.

Sure, it may not work in the winter, but hey, where I am most of the time in the winter it'll be 5 feet deep in snow, so I wasn't going to use a gas grill either!
post #37 of 54
We have a charcoal grill and an offset smoker. It took me about 7 years to convert Les to cooking on a charcoal grill instead of gas. He always said it tasted just as good. Then we got the smoker and he's never looked back. We have friends/relatives that cook on a gasser. I'd never ever say a word to them about their food, except to compliment if I really enjoy it but, no, it does not taste the same as food cooked over charcoal or wood. We removed the "grill" part of the gasser, put a huge, thick plastic cutting board on the frame to use as a prep table and kept the sideburner for cooking outside or lighting the charcoal chimney. We light the chimney, then get everything ready to go on the grill when the coals are ready. Our grill is used year round and we live in northeastern Indiana where it's almost always windy and we get lake effect snows.
post #38 of 54
There are a lot of nice things to say about Webber gas grills. But the failure to supply enough heat for consistent searing has been a problem since day one. That's by no means true of all gassers though, especially IRs.

The ceramic, "kamodo" types are excellent all-arounders, and the BGE (Big Green Egg) is one of the good ones. The limitations are expense, size and weight. I suggest you avoid pine and other softwoods -- they're not healthy and there are certainly woods which produce much better tasting smoke. In fact, the fire you've described with pine and maple brush likely produced a lot of creoste. Not a good thing.

Some people like the convenience of gas. Linda and I feel like the quality of charcoal is worth the extra time and trouble -- she especially, since I'm the one who does the cooking. But I've had a lot of good meals off of gassers, and when my situation was different even had a few. Indeed (as I wrote earlier), I use gas to supply heat in my smoker; although (a) I burn hardwood for smoke, and (b) a smoker is not a grill.

To push the charcoal thing even farther, there's a noticeable quality difference between burning actual wood down to coals (which we do occasionally) and the best hardwood lump.

post #39 of 54
After much research and experience it is my opinion that direct flame grilling on LP Gas is the poorest option of all.

LP Gas creates a large amount of water vapor and Wet heat is a poor choice for cooking lean tender cuts of steak and only works well for roasts and tougher cuts of meat that are often Braised or Stewed because of the amounts of collagen that needs to be broken down also the Maillard reaction is difficult at best to obtain with wet heat from a Gas Grill using direct open flame where the water vapor is directly exposed to the cooking surface ......look under Properties and Reactions of the Wiki article on LP Gas where is says “propane burns to form water and carbon dioxide".

This is probably why no top chef at any respectable restaurant will use a gas grill over direct flame, most will pan sear and finish off in an oven, both of which are “Dry” heat.

Charcoal is also a form of dry heat but heat control and flame-ups can be a real problem. Big Green Eggs do very well because they have good heat distribution and little chance to flame up since the lid can stay closed all the time during cooking, also they have very well designed venting.

However indirect heat from a LP gas grill works just fine and seems to be the future of outdoor grills and many manufacturers are going to the inferred burners and other indirect methods.

Personally I use an indirect gas grill (EVO) and a Weber Performa Kettle with lump charcoal and the EVO can do most anything the Weber can do and often do it better, the only exception is thin cuts of beef and slow smoking. It is much easier to get a lot of smoke by dumping wood chips on some cherry red coals then on a flat top with a shallow lid. The Weber is also a little better at baking potatoes and roasting corn on the cob since it’s suspended above the heat source enough to get the results I like. However the EVO can do many things I can’t do well or at all on my Weber like pancakes, Philli cheese-steaks and sear a steak to perfection without cooking the inside (Black and Blue).
post #40 of 54
You smoked over green pine and had no issues with creosote or pine tar off-flavors? Pine sure smells great burning in the fireplace, but I'm a bit leery of using it for smoking.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #41 of 54
I have to make a reality check here.

Yes, propane and natural gas, when burned with oxygen, produce steam. That's why a high-efficiency furnace has water condense out of it--so much heat is extracted that the steam in the exhaust turns to condensed (liquid) water.

When grilling food on a gas grill, will there be condensation forming on the food we are cooking? No, unless perhaps we put a frozen steak on there, and then only briefly will any sign of condensate form, maybe. I'd say there's next to no chance of that.

Have any of you seen steaks get wet on a gas grill? I'd bet not, unless it wasn't working right. And guess what, all naturally-occuring air has humidity in it.

Water vapor (steam) blends in with nitrogen and oxygen and all, and you wouldn't notice any difference unless it condensed into liquid. It is a part of air. May as well put that into the pretend-science category, or overactive imagination.

It's water's change of phase from liquid to gas or vice-versa, that would have any effect. Is your relative humidity 0%? If not, you have steam in your air, and it might destroy your steaks?

Grilling with gas is not "wet" unless the water vapor condenses into liquid water. And that's a stretch of the imagination.
post #42 of 54
What makes food taste "grilled" is the fat dripping off and creating smoke. Outside of that, a heat source is a heat source whether it's charcoal or gas. Charcoal is made from burnt wood which does give food flavor. To compensate on a gas grill, put a few wood chips on your grill bricks. Ceramic bricks will also help because they have a smooth surface that helps vaporize the juices. I have eaten meats cooked in a wok at chinese restaurants that taste like they were grilled over charcoal because the wok was so hot that the juices vaporized like they would on a charcoal grill.
post #43 of 54
Sorry, in reply to you and Boar-d-laze: my prose was imprecise. The pine was quite dry and rather old. The maple cuttings, essentially saplings minus the leaves, were green. The main "residue" sorts of smells I got were extremely sweet from the sugar-maple sap. The pine had very little noticeable smell.

Sorry -- my post suggested that the pine was green, which, I agree with you both, would be a distinctly bad idea.
post #44 of 54
I have had steaks grilled over pine when camping. All I can say is I hope you like turpentine! Never again, tasted nasty.
post #45 of 54
Is steam considered "Wet" or "Dry" heat?
post #46 of 54

gas grill

I think it all boils down to what you bbqing..sometimes you'll use gas ..sometimes you use charcoal
post #47 of 54
Steam is considered wet. Gas flame is considered dry. If you have questions, by all means ask them. But I'm sensing a slow motion cross-examination leading to the snapping shut of a logic track. Please don't make an issue out of it, the hypotheses in your original post were way off the mark.

For instance, restaurants do grill over and under direct gas flames all the time. Especially restaurants which specialize in grilling. And yes, I recognize the move towards gas fed IR. As another example, I've been using gas stoves for many years and haven't ever noticed any condensation on the bottom of my pans or in the burner wells. You're overestimating the amount of water formed while girlling, and misunderstanding what happens to it.

post #48 of 54
I don’t understand, what makes you say LP Gas makes steam which is Wet and yet cooking directly over this open flame is Dry? Educate me please.

Then you should have no problem showing me my mistake in the path of logic I took starting with the above question of how steam doesn’t make wet heat in a direct flame situation. Remember the key here is direct flame contact, I understand indirect flame from a gas stove is Dry Heat which is the same as a pot or pan on top of a gas range.

I cant think of any top restaurants I have ever eaten at that used this method, not to say they don’t but none around here (that I’m aware of) do. For instance the head chef at the Mansion at Turtle Creek here in Dallas (a top restraint) uses a Hasty Bake Charcoal grill for the very reason I described above. I am not the only one that believes that LP Gas over direct flame is a poor way to cook cretin cuts of beef, many others believe this too.

Why is everyone so hung up on condensation, what makes anyone think there has to be condensation to have Wet Heat? Why would their be condensation on a pot or pan that is directly sitting on an open Wet heat flame anyway, it would burn off. However steaming or Wet heat will penetrate the meat and this moisture will inhibit the Maillard reaction somewhat.

If the condensation burns off from the heat is it now considered Dry Heat?

Doesn’t moisture in meat have to evaporate before searing can take place?

Please correct me where my thought path goes astray, I can take it.
post #49 of 54
Let's just put it this way. The autoignition temperature of propane is something around 450C (840F). At normal pressures and at that temperature, water vapor, one of the byproducts of propane combustion, is spread into the surrounding atmosphere at such a high rate it's local presence is practically nil.

That's why you get asked about condensation. If there was a lot of water in one place, there would be evidence. There is no evidence, hence there's not much local water. QED.

I seriously doubt you have enough plasma physics for me to get much deeper than that. I know I don't, and I'm pretty sure I've got a lot more than you.

Furthermore, you're using language very loosely when you talk about "direct" heat, and I shouldn't have humored you by accepting the convention in my last post. All broiling is done with one sort of "direct" heat or another -- whether contact or radiant. In cooking, the only "indirect" is convection. In contact, radiant, and convection are the big three when it comes to heat-energy transference for cooking.

Most "direct" gas cooking is some sort of radiant. You can look up "char grills," gas fired IRs, "flavor bars," and other systems to see a variety of ways in which natural gas or propane are used to produce radiant heat.

Typical gas grills don't use the radiance from the flame only, while typical broilers do. Most grills heat some sort of intermediary material such as a ceramic briquette, a "flavor bar," a ceramic infra red plate, etc., to produce a percentage of the radiation for energy transference. On the other hand, gas broilers usually just expose the meat to the radiation produced by the gas itself, by putting the meat below the burner. Modern IR broilers are similar to grills, but with the ceramic element mounted above the meat.

Same amount of gas being burned, sometimes more -- but no moisture.

The Hasty Bake uses a combination of radiant (from the metal between the charcoal and the meat) and convection to cook. The purpose of the Hasty Bake design is to prevent flare ups. The idea is that the charcoal scent gets to the meat even though it's not directly exposed to the coals.

Last, perhaps I misunderstand the situation, but I don't feel any obligation to teach you enough about physics, chemistry and cooking to correct all of the misinformation in your original post. That doesn't make you right, it just makes me lazy.

post #50 of 54
Steam well above its boiling point behaves like other gases.

It is the latent heat in evaporation or condensation that makes the difference.

300 degree steam is not wet at all! It is very different from 212 degree steam! For grilling, superheated steam may as well be nitrogen in its physical properties.

I am not doubting your personal experience, but it may have been different things that made you not like gas grilling.
post #51 of 54

I had no idea someone could be so pompous and presumptuous without even knowing anything about what my understanding or knowledge is, WOW!! You’d think I was trying to shove it down your throat or something, it’s just an opinion!

I'll think about a few points and respond with no condensation or like presumptions and try to treat you as intelligent as you believe you are, I mean, maybe your are the smartest in cooking chemistry and plasma physics, ….What do I know about you, Nothing!

You do know it was just an opinion based on at least some logical experience and deduction??

This isn’t Star Trek trivia, no need to get in a twist; I’m actually just looking for some mutual respectful conversation.

I guess you have too high a post count and presence to fall under any moderated rules of respectful conversation, but I expect I will get warned for being so verbally shocked.
post #52 of 54
This discussion has really gone downhill. Please let's get back on track or this thread will be closed down. And here's a great idea...If you can't play nice then don't post! Really. Most of us come here to read and learn, not to read a bunch of pissy, pompous posts. I have enough of that at work. This is not the place to get on a high horse and pontificate to your heart's desire, especially at the expense of others. If that's your goal then get your own website.
post #53 of 54
I do like charcoal...but I believe there is a place for gas. If I don't want any other flavor added, other than the incinerated fat dripping adding a bit of that "grilled" flavor.

I think of it as an ingredient that I'm adding to the dish. Sometimes you may want that lovely charcoal, lump, wood taste. But not always. There are many times when I simply want the food to be the main ingredient that I taste.

post #54 of 54
I'm closing this thread before anyone does something they'll regret.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking
This thread is locked › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Grills: Gas or Charcoal?