Grilling 101: Charcoal vs. Gas Article - Allrecipes.com
Add a Comment

Battle of the Barbeque: Charcoal vs. Gas

It's the great debate in grilling: charcoal or gas.

For most masters of the grill, there is no compromising; you are either in one camp or the other. Let's look at the issues that are inflaming the debate.

Gas Grilling


Gas-fired grilling has the clear benefit of being extremely convenient. Simply turn a knob, and say hello to your highly adjustable heat source. Gas grills are fueled by liquid propane stored in refillable tanks.

Gas grilling is clean and quick. There's no messing with briquettes, no stacking, no lighting, no smelly starter fluid and no waiting around for the coals to glow. And once dinner is over, there's no ashy mess to clean up. Return the switch to off, rub a metal brush over the grate and clean-up time is over.

On the technical side, gas burns clean, but it doesn't impart much flavor to grilled foods.

See our Complete Barbeque and Grilling Recipe Collection.


Charcoal Grilling


Charcoal grilling might not offer the same level of convenience as gas, but it does boast one benefit that stands out above all others: smoke flavor. The dry, white-hot heat of charcoal sears meat quickly, creating a crusty, caramelized exterior and smoky flavor.

Of course, charcoal grilling requires more time and attention than gas, from building and lighting the briquettes to waiting for the coals to get hot to managing the flame. Since you can't dial down the heat of white-hot coals, it's a good strategy to leave empty spaces on the lower grill grate (areas without briquettes). These cool spaces allow for better control, letting you sear food first over the hot spots before transferring it to cooler parts to finish cooking.

Charcoal grills are also less expensive than gas grills, though the cost of charcoal will add up over the years. Charcoal is also more portable than gas grills. A bag of charcoal can easily be chucked into the car and taken to the park or beach.

And let's face it--charcoal also involves an enticing element of danger. Playing with fire is fun. (Of course, this can be a plus or minus, depending on who's behind the flame.)

See our Tips for Successful Grilling.


The Verdict


Ultimately, any determination of what's best comes down to considerations of convenience, cost, flavor and practicality. If you have a tiny patio, a massive gas grill just won't work. Great grilling can be had over either gas or charcoal flames.

So now that we've settled that, what's the barbeque capital of the world? We break it down in Dueling Barbeques.  

Comments
Cookie monster 
Jun. 17, 2009 5:24 am
Charcoal Seems to be Best, Love the Smoky Flavor but I know it has Hazards such as the Chemical in the lighting fluid will also ruin the BBQ if not properly burned off
 
papabob 
Jun. 18, 2009 9:16 am
use a chimaney to light the charcoal thers no fluid flavor throw a piece of dried hard wood or any fruit wood and you have extar layer of flavor just don't over do it play with your fire learn to cook indirectly and you have wonderful grilled juicy pork with a nice smokey flavor you can do all that with a gas grill also but you don't get to play with firei like lump charcoal and wood bot i also understand and am ok with other people using gas time, convience, ease just include your kids spouse and get off the coauch and get outside that big orange thing in the sky is very soothing to the soul
 
Jun. 18, 2009 8:39 pm
Having cooked over a campfire for years, I prefer the taste of the charcoal grill, but with a family, I've settled for the convenience of a gas grill. When cooking over charcoal though, I've NEVER used ligher fluid. The flavor gets into the food and ruins it. You can get charcoal irons, which turn red hot, and are designed for lighting the charcoal. There are several Boy Scout tricks which work well too. Melt paraffin wax in a double boiler. Take strips of newspaper about an inch and a half to two inches wide. Roll them up adding more strips of paper until it's about half to three quarters of an inch thick, and tie with candle wick leaving an extra 2 inches of wick. Dip in the wax 3-4 times for 5-10 seconds, making sure to get the extra wick too without getting your fingers in the wax. Use 4-5 of these in your charcoal pile, 2 should be plenty if you stack the charcoal in a chimney. Light the wick. The other way is to save the lint from your dryer and put it into the paper-type egg c
 
chrisanderin 
Jun. 21, 2009 10:16 am
I learned (by mistake/trial and error, whatever you want to call it) a great way to add flavor without putting wood in with the charcoal, yet still using it. I had some untreated oak boards that had been cut to appx. 12" x 12" laying around and was cooking pork ribs on my kettle-style grill. I needed to control the temperature of heat better than just moving the pile to one half and placing the meat over the less intense side (I usually put the "pyramid" towards the hinge/back area leaving the front/handle area free of charcoal). I decided to use one of my boards (again, NOT TREATED, I didn't wanna go poisoning anyone) to prop the lid open (it looked like a giant Pac-Man) to desired height by using the board as a wedge. I only put the board in about 3" and the other 9" were hanging out. When it is wedged against the lid, it can be slid front-to-back or side-to-side to create a wider or narrower opening, helping to control temperature. What did I learn? Not only does this help wi
 
Patty 
Jun. 28, 2009 5:37 pm
While I personally have never grilled, I do know a great trick that my grandpa taught me. One day, while at his house, we decided to have hamburgers for lunch. It was nice out, so we cooked them on the grill and ate at the table outside with my grandma and brother. My grandpa has a gas grill, so in order to get a little bit of a smoky flavor, he had a small tin or aluminum tray that had wood chips in it. I'm sorry that I don't know what kind of wood it was, but it adds a very light flavor that was hardly noticeable since the burgers were full of seasonings. I assume it would be nice with other meats. I suppose gas is easier but there's nothing like playing with fire. I learned that both in science class, with a particular classmate who likes making battery acid eat through foil, and on girl scout campouts with toast on a stick.
 
Spaces 
Jul. 1, 2009 1:22 pm
I use lava rocks in my gas grill so I get the convenience of gas but a great grilled, smokey taste. I grill all year round (even in the snow) so about once a year I swap out half the lava rocks for fresh ones thus retaining that seasoned flavor all the time. The lava rocks also help when doing long, slow grilling... for extra flavor just sprinkle a few hickory or mesquite wood chips on the rocks.
 
Jul. 9, 2009 8:04 pm
bad news about that charcoal is its made with petroleum (oil that is in your car's fuel) which cooks into your food :(. I highly recommend finding a "charcoal" that is free from oil. I find it at my home depot :)
 
Kenneth 
Jul. 18, 2009 9:29 am
I have both a gas grill and a charcoal grill and when it come to one of my favorite thinks to do cooking on a grill I have to say that charcoal is the way to go. Charcoal give food a flavor that can't be beat. Cooking on a gas grill is easier but is like cooking indoors. I built me a brick charcoal grill a few years back and I love it. I barely ever use my gas grill. Any way you like just keep on grillin'.
 
j e m 
Jul. 30, 2009 8:56 pm
July 30,2009 i hve used both also. but now have a gas grill. it is a 5 burner. since having it. ive cook a tureky on it and came out so tender. yes, it is easier but the clean up is better for me.
 
Oct. 25, 2009 8:45 am
Gas grilling is ok if your cooking hot dog's for the kid's and that is all
 
Jan. 16, 2010 5:53 pm
Gas Grill? Only if I have to. Charcoal/open flame purist, what can I say. Clean the grates, but never the inside, just get it really hot now and again.
 
Meckie 
Jan. 20, 2010 7:32 am
I started grilling with charcoal lighting with a chimaney to lose the flavor of the lighter fluid but I found that some of the flavor I wanted to lose was in the charcoal it self. So I tried to cover it up by mixing cherry wood chips in with the charcoal which worked some what but not fully. So now I light the cherry wood chips in the chimaney, it takes a bit longer to get ready and you have to keep an eye on it so it doesn't flare up. I think that this is the best way to get a full smoked flavor it what ever you are cooking, and the lower cooking temp. prevents you from cook pork ribs to fast. Oh and I have both a Gas and Charcoal grill and I've only used the Gas grill 2 times (for nights I was short on time but didn't want to have a box pizza) in the past year, because you just can get the flavor in a Charcoal grill with its coals, wood chips, or mix of both
 
DRACE1 
Feb. 16, 2010 7:54 am
I use gas at work it's fast but thats it. Charcoal is the only way to go.I have a gas but have not used it for 2 years The BBQ I have now is a old gas one I now use Charcoal in it.It's heavy lid is great to keep smoke in!
 
jimwheeler 
Mar. 22, 2010 2:30 am
I cook using a California Kamado and never have I tasted better barbecue than what i get now and I'm using lump charcoal to fuel my kamado. All of the major kamado brands recommend using lump charcoal simply because it provides the best tasting barbecue. After all, isn't a better taste what we are a looking for when cooking outdoors? Since it is all about taste, charcoal and especially lump charcoal is the logical winner.
 
Cdub 
May 4, 2010 8:55 pm
I have both. Charcoal is superior in my opinion. I would agree that hardwood lump charcoal is the best, but honestly, Im not sure briquttes are that much worse. I know, I know...SACRILGE(spelling?). I always have both briquettes and lump on hand. I have recently aquired (for a sweet deal...nothin' sucka) a weber genesis silver LP grill. It's really nice, but I dont ever use it. My better half even prefers charcoal. I light it up, hang out in the back yard with our daughter, its an event , its awesome. I just always find an excuse to go charcoal baby.
 
tink 
May 14, 2010 11:43 pm
Since I am considered the grill master at our house, my father always insisted that grilling isn't grilling without the charcoal. He was given a gas grill for 1 fathers day. He then "re-gifted" it to my uncle! When grilling lamb he would toss dried oregano or a couple fresh sprigs of rosmary on the hot coals which gave the lamb an awesome flavor. I still use his grilling tricks today. I have to agree with most, Oak charcoal is good, as is apple wood or pecan. Plus you can always smoke your meats. Something you can't do in your gas grill. Grill on and Cheers!!
 
westie mom 
May 31, 2010 8:31 am
when were out of lighter fluid my husband got the bottle of used vegetable oil we had and poured over the charcol and some paper and it lit the fire just like the lighter fluid. now we save all our coking oil for this and have never bought lighter fluid again. also you don't have to endure that nasty lighter fluid smell !!!
 
Jun. 3, 2010 12:11 pm
Instead of lighter fluid, make a makeshift starter with empty cardboard egg cartons, dryer lint and candle wax. Pack each egg section of the carton with the dryer lint and pour in melted candle wax so the lint soaks it up. Allow it to cool and solidify, then tear apart the 12 "starters". Set a few of these starters and light the cardboard carton. The lint is extremely flammable and the wax keeps the starters from burning out too quickly. I haven't noticed any candle wax leftovers so it seems to all burn off, but I've heard you can do this without the wax also although I haven't tried it like that. We have a large smoker (recycled), and cook with select scrap wood we find through the year. Pain in the butt to control the temps, but it's cheap so we can spend more on better foods.
 
Jun. 7, 2010 9:20 am
I'm female Grill Fanatic & Real charcoal's always my way 2go! Wohoo! I thank God it's readily available in my country & not costly. Gas Grill? Wat's that again? haha! No sub. I use my Weber Chimney Starter 2light charcoals- ready in aprox 15-20mins. No need for lighter fluids! Who could ask 4mre? Happy Grilling every1!! :-)
 
Jun. 15, 2010 8:55 am
I've grilled in the rain and in temps over 100 degrees. Nothing beats the coals. I like add wood to the coals and soaked wood chips for added smoke. I do use a deluxe smoker that utilizes propane gas, however there is a cast iron wood box that sits over the flame that admits the greatest smoke ever. It's not about the work, its about the flavor.
 
Jul. 6, 2010 2:48 pm
I've used both charcoal and gas grills. I prefer the convenience and ease of gas grilling over the charcoal grill, especially when entertaining. If you season your foods right you dont miss any of the smoked wood flavor at all. Anywho, cheers and happy grilling!
 
Jul. 24, 2010 7:22 am
I love charcoal grilling but instead of messing around with the lighter fluid I buy the instant light charcoal yes it is more expensive but you don't have the lighter fluid taste.
 
Aug. 5, 2010 1:16 pm
We have a gas grill, large charcoal kettle and dedicated smoker, and all 3 get heavy use in our catering business. If you said I had to have only one, the gas grill wins hands down, no contest. It simply comes down to anything you can do I can do better. I will use the example of steak to show why I feel this way. Steak is one of the easiest things to cook and one of the hardest for many to cook properly. Before we talk about flavor and taste, let's talk about accuracy. At the high temps needed for a quality sear, you can overcook a steak in seconds. I have a Tel-tru on my gas grill that has proven to be accurate over years of use, so I know when it says 700 that's what it means. The entire grill is at that temp, I used surface thermometers to check it and it's very uniform in all but the back corners that I don't use much anyway, and certainly not for steak. When I put several hundred dollars worth of prime beef on the grill, I can't afford to guess at the cooking times, I nee
 
calvinrjones29 
Aug. 19, 2010 5:39 pm
I Grill whenever i get a chance and there is nothing like that coal smoke,and the food just tast better with coal instead of gas.
 
Aug. 28, 2010 6:02 am
I think gas is easy, and leaves the kitchen clean.I also have five smoke houses, thats were I do my bbq also if anybody ever needs any help or advice,just email me and I will do my best to help you.davespae@att.net bigeasy
 
Edwin Smith 
Oct. 21, 2010 5:14 pm
I just finished eating a rib eye stead. I had the choice to light the gas grill or take a few extra minutes and light some charcoal. I did the charcoal route and the taste is so much better. I might add that there is no need to buy and use charcoal lighter fluid. I have a charcaol chimney that I bought, You was a few sheets of newspaper in the bottom, add charcoal, light and then wait about 25 minutes. It is all ready to go, it sure is worth the extra 5 minutes for the flavor you get. Please try it.
 
Dec. 11, 2010 8:42 am
Well,,, i think it.s not only about gas or charcoal,, its about the meat itself,, seasening, nd resting the meat,,
 
jmarcus2173 
Jan. 26, 2011 5:33 am
One word------Charcoal
 
tonysteele 
Mar. 9, 2011 1:56 pm
I never cooked on a gas grill, never had anything cooked on a gas grill, and don't think I want to eat anything cooked on a gas grill. Charcoal is the way to go hands down.
 
tee 
Mar. 25, 2011 4:55 pm
I have cooked on everything imaginable, my famous ribs, pork steaks, brisket have been on gas, charcoal, wood smoke. They all come out good but charcoal & wood has been far the best, quoted from different guest whom I have entertained. But I still enjoy cooking on various units.
 
May 23, 2011 5:18 am
I have always used a gas grill for convienience. I just ordered a new one which has a dedicated smoker box with its own burner. I hope it will help with the smokey flavor.
 
Catid3 
May 23, 2011 4:36 pm
I have grilled for many years and initially i would use briquette and lighter fluid, until I discover a charcoal chimney.This is the best way to grill using charcoal and it gives your food a better flavor and no worries about carcengens that might result from using the lighter fluid.
 
Pat 
Jun. 19, 2011 6:34 am
I used charcoal for years and liked it. Then I bought a large gass grill with a smoker tray on the side. It's the cat's whiskers. Just add dry apple chips or your fav type wood and turn it up. In 15 min your grill is hot enough to sear meat and the wood is smoking like crazy. My grill has 3 large burners so after I sear the meat I cut one of the outer burners off and move the meat to that side and turn the other two down and let the meat cook sow and slow. I may add wood chips in 30 min or so by pulling the chip tray out and adding what I want then push the tray back in. I could not do that with my old charcoal grill. I still have a charcoal smoaker that I use once in a while but I will never give up my gas grill. The main thing is, use what you like, don't listen to nay sayers and enjoy cooking out of doors. Happy grillin everyone!
 
Jun. 28, 2011 3:04 pm
As far as I am concerned there is only one way to go, and that is charcoal. I do use lighter fluid, and i like that taste. could be cause my dad used it ALOT when i was little in our back yard BBQ. But i do agree it is better, for the food, to use a hot iron. Bottom line, if you dont care about taste use gas, if you do use charcoal.
 
Constance Robison 
Aug. 10, 2011 2:26 am
We've always had charcoal grill. Now we're in FL we love to gather downed orange trees and use chips on the grill. Also have been doing your Thanksgiving turkey on the grill for years and that always comes out juicy and smokin delish!!!!!
 
dawsonlinnk 
Aug. 10, 2011 5:32 am
They sell charcoal starter chimneys at Walmart and online at many other sites. You put the charcoal in the top of the chimney, then put two pieces of crumpled newspaper in the bottom. Light the news paper , make sure they are burning set on the grate. In 1/2 an hour dump the white hot coals in the grill and tart cooking. The chimneys last for years, you don't need anything but paper to start them, and no petro chem taste. Cost of the chimney is appox 12 bucks.
 
Aug. 10, 2011 5:55 am
Now papabob know what he is talking about. Use a charcoal chimney and no lighter fluid, and thus, no lighter fluid taste. We have both a Weber Charcoal grill and a commercial grade gas grill and a charcoal and an electric smoker, and i use them all. It just depends on what I am cooking and how much time I have. The charcoal grill is hands down my favorite of the two grills, however if I am in a hurry, its hard to beat the gas. So which is best? You really need both in my opinion.
 
mharrel 
Aug. 10, 2011 6:51 am
Good article except where you say "great grilling can be had over either charcoal or gas". I have both and use both. In summer we cook virtually everything outside to avoid heating the house. I use the gas as an oven and range. When I want grilling flavor, it's charcoal. They are not even in the same league.
 
Jay Hatcher 
Aug. 10, 2011 7:04 am
there are electric charcoal starters that work wonders...
 
JoJo 
Aug. 10, 2011 7:40 am
Who uses starter fluid anymore anyway? Chimney starters are the only way to go. Propane scares me to death. I much prefer charcoal.
 
Chef Daddy 
Aug. 10, 2011 8:25 am
I'm ready for the "Face Off"...If you want the smoky flavor of wood with the convenience of gas there is a heavy iron box that holds chips that can be placed over the gas flame.It is only about the size of your hand and has a sliding lid with holes to let the smoke escape.A small handfull of chips(you don't even have to soak them)and your in business. I found mine at Walmart for under 5 bucks.
 
Br.Thomas 
Aug. 10, 2011 8:27 am
I have found a few tricks to start charcoal, and one to improve the quality of gas grill cooking, 1st the Gas upgrade, which is realized by adding an additional bag of lava rock's to the burner area, if your cooking off the heat of the rocks, your also getting the smokey flavor's when the juices hit the rocks and the smoke rises around the Meat. The easy light charcoal idea came from recycling the papertowel and paperbags I use for Bacon greese absorbsion, these bacon soaked paper products burn extra long when twited tight and layed under easylight charcoal, one can also fix a two briquette by what ever length of easylight charcoal::::::::::: and then place the regular charcoal over the top of the eastlight, maybe 3-5 reg-charcoal's by whatever length you anticipait you need, and the twisted bacon soaked paper goes underneth the charcoals. It works great, hope others find this useable and perhaps stirring up some ideas of their own. BrotherThomas
 
RandyO 
Aug. 10, 2011 11:56 am
I am from the southwest and "grilling" has been a tradition for as long as I can remember.. Our grills were 55G drums sawed in half and converted. Meat is always on the large side and the coals were always from Mesquite trees we harvested from the desert. Light the fire a couple hours early and wait for the burn down.. Is there a substitute? not in my opinion but I am now using "gas".. Gas is simply easier, faster and with a little ingenuity, almost as good. I use mesquite or other hardwood wrapped in aluminum foil and placed on the burners with a few holes popped in the foil. They smoke nicely without flaming.. Sort of a PITA but well worth the trouble for imparting "smoke" flavor to the meats. I have done briskets , chicken and prime ribs like this and as long as you keep the foil packs working, they will in fact almost replace the flavor imparted by good lump charcoal. And in case there are any doubts, there is a big difference between brickettes and lump charcoal.
 
Mr. V 
Aug. 10, 2011 12:23 pm
Buy natural charcoal and use newspaper in a chimney starter. not starter fluid smell or taste. Using gas is not BBQ as the origian BBQ was done over an open fire using the locl wood which imparted the regionl flavors. You can char (burn) your food on gas or you can char (smoke) your food on charcoal. I live in AZ and we trimmed a mesquite tree which I kept the heavier limbs and dried them out to bank up a natural charcoal fire and got a wonderful mesquite smoke that people are still talkimg about.
 
Elsa 
Aug. 10, 2011 12:24 pm
This comparisson metions the danger of charcoal cooking, but how about all the deaths and burnings caused by gas explosions (due to human error) when lighting a gas grill.
 
Richard 
Aug. 10, 2011 12:25 pm
If I am cooking a hamburger for 1 (me), gas. If I'm cooking ribs for a crowd, charcoal.
 
davidfromkeno 
Aug. 10, 2011 2:10 pm
There is now another method of BBQ, called Traeger grill, uses wood pellets, as fast as gas grills and the flavor of choice of 12 different pellet flavors. Fantastic way to BBQ or smoke
 
Edward 
Aug. 10, 2011 4:00 pm
Got to agree with Chef Ed. for the most part, however, I have two Cookshack smokers, (superb); one Platinum Weber Summit gas Grill, and also run a Charcoal Smoker when I have the chance, in addition to two portable grills. What can I say except, Que what you enjoy and use your grill as often as posible, and don't forget to have a cold one at the same time ! Oh, and don't forget to use your Crab and Lobster Steamer on occasion.
 
Terry 
Aug. 10, 2011 5:36 pm
I'd say, based on papabob and his spelling, we should either use gas or be co-stars in the movie "Deliverance"
 
nh guy 
Aug. 11, 2011 4:53 am
charcoal all the way, and I use and electric starter for the charcoal not lighter fluid smell that way.
 
Bigunn 
Aug. 11, 2011 7:11 am
I have both gas and charcoal.I only use the gas if we get home late from baseball games and need to cook somthing quick. When we have people over or not going to games and have plenty of time to grill, charcoal is the way to go. I love playing with different flavor wood chips and indirect cooking.You need quick cooking go gas. You want great flavor go CHARCOAL !!!!!
 
Tomas 
Aug. 11, 2011 8:32 am
I barbeque all year long and I have gas and charcoal and I love both. On summer time because the extra day time and weather I prefer charcoal for the smoky flavor plus most of the time there friends and family around. On the other hand on winter time you do the cooking along and here in Arkansas sometime is real cold and that when the gas grill is the champ. Friends and family still enjoy the food but they stay inside.
 
kitcheneer 
Aug. 14, 2011 11:08 am
I hope I picked up a few good tricks reading all the comments because neither my husband nor I are very good at cooking on a fire. I particularly LOVE the flavor of cooking on a wood fire in our charcoal grill. There is one thing we cook on a wood fire that we always get complements on - Ribs. I cut the ribs in two-bone sections and then sear them in the flame of the wood fire. Then I coat them with BBQ sauce and cook them on high in the crock pot with nothing else until they are ready to almost fall off the bone. The flavor of the seared outside goes right through the meat. You do have to be careful, though, that you take them out before the meat actually falls off the bone. I do this in quantities, wrap each piece in plastic wrap and freeze them in a freezer bag. Great quick meal when you're busy or for unexpected company.
 
Gary 
Aug. 15, 2011 11:18 am
I have just finished reading everyones comments. I personaly use a gas grill and a wood only grill. I gutted an old gas grill and burn wood in it. The wood grill will light just as quickly as using charcoal. The wood flavor is by far my choice and my friends as well. But I do use my gas grill for quick and easy grilling. Yes, the gas grill does give a better flavor than cooking in the kitchen.
 
AIRBEAR 
Oct. 28, 2011 5:18 am
If you have access to hickory trees, gather a couple gallons of the fallen hickory nuts. Remove any outer covering on them. Place a few of them in your fire for a great smoky taste.They will keep almost forever in a net type bag in a dry place.
 
Dec. 23, 2011 11:23 pm
My late husband had the answer to nasty un healthy lighter fluid that he was adamantly against. He used wood to get the coals going & paper & wood slivers to get the wood going. Tasted the difference...Fabulous!
 
crem8or 
Jul. 11, 2012 3:00 pm
all I could do with a charcoal grill I can do with a gas grill. Just easier and quicker for me. And I don't lose any flavor. Guess it depends on the grillmaster :)
 
craigbab 
Jul. 11, 2012 7:52 pm
Coal when I have the time!
 
matt 
Jul. 11, 2012 9:21 pm
When I use a chimney starter, I load the bottom with crumpled newspaper torn in strips. I get the paper flame going pretty good, then carefully add the pre-measured charcoal (half lump, half briquette) to the top. When it's too windy or cold for live fire grilling, and I am cooking low and slow, gas wins hands down.
 
mjdavis 
Jul. 12, 2012 4:37 am
I own a Weber "kettle" grill and I wouldn't trade it for a gas grill any day! The only charcoal I buy is Kingsford Matchlight, which already has the lighter fluid soaked in the briquets. Before Matchlight was invented, I would either pour too much or too little lighter fluid on the briquets. Of course there is more work involved with a charcoal grill vs. a gas grill, but the food tastes so much better cooked on a charcoal grill. I cook on my charcoal grill during the summer months more than any other time of the year. I turn my stove on about once a week and I never use my oven during the summer. Cooking on the grill is more energy efficient and it saves me money on my electricity (air conditioning) bill. I have tried several grilling recipes from allrecipes.com and they have all turned out really well!
 
debus 
Jul. 12, 2012 7:00 am
What about all of us apartment dwellers that are relegated to the use of an electric grill? They are convenient, clean and work well with a wood chip smoker.
 
Mead 
Jul. 12, 2012 9:24 am
I still have a Red Weber Kettle(1970's) grill. I use only Hardwood charcoal. No briquettes they use either a petorlem or a coal binder. It's drawback is the occasional big piece of real charcoal. A thermometer is a must in the lid or in my case through the top smoke holes. controlling 350 to 450 degrees is the easiest to control. Steve Rachiland's Barbaque Bible is excellent to learn control(I have the first 2000 version). Now you can do any thing you do in an oven. Pizza on a stone, bake bread, have not tried cookies yet. On that note, I am buying a gas grill with a side burner for boiling and courses I don't want smokey flavor. For saute and bake dishes, use a cast iron pan with tin foil on the bottom of pan. sliced potatoes in butter with fresh mushrooms, onion and vegtables-start 30 minutes before you start your chicken my favorite. I need the gas as a second and a boiler.
 
Mead 
Jul. 12, 2012 9:26 am
I forgot a chimney for starting charcoal and the grill is ready to go in 10 minutes at 350. try that inan aoven
 
Jul. 12, 2012 9:50 am
I love my infrared gas grill and can easily get the smokey flavor of grilling by adding wood chips, either directly on the floor of the grill or in a smoker box. That way I can pair the flavors of the wood with the food I am cooking.
 
Ren 
Jul. 12, 2012 11:40 am
I guess I am one of the only ones left with the gas grill that has the briquettes in it. They don't turn to ash so I assume they are not the petroleum type that are toxic. Whatever the case, they don't make bbq's this way anymore. It's a Broil King and still in great condition and I am not getting rid of it!
 
Jul. 12, 2012 2:27 pm
charcoal is better it burns off fat and we use a device that u put the brickettes in the top and a few pages of new paper underneath and it takes a few min (without lighter fluid) to start. better for u and environment the device looks like a coffee can with holes to lite on the bottom and a handle. they cost about $10 and it has paid for it self over and over
 
robterplan 
Jul. 12, 2012 4:47 pm
Try a wood pellet BBQ. It is the best of both worlds. Electric start and temperature control allows you to grill as well as smoke if you prefer. The wood pellets come in variety of wood type to satisfy any taste. I wouldn't go back to a conventional gas grill again.
 
melissajayne 
Jul. 12, 2012 11:24 pm
One thing to take into consideration is that most apartment buildings will only allow for gas bbq. And yes you can get a wood smoke smell to a gas bbq; just add the wood chips (not sure where, as my dad did it and he figured it out).
 
charcoalman 
Jul. 16, 2012 5:56 am
Do you always get a lighter fluid taste? I use lighter fluid and all I taste is the food and its smoky flavor. Or do you have to like douse the charcoal in lighter fluid? I just put a good amount of lighter fluid all over it and light it. Then I put lighter fluid all over it again whenever it is about to go out but not as much when I started it.
 
Bruce 
Aug. 2, 2012 6:02 pm
I thought the subject at hand was grilling. Gas or Charcoal. When did we get off onto BBQ? Totally differnt subject. Grilling is heat, searing, charring. If you want some smoky flavor add some wood chips. I believe this goes for both heat sources. I am definitely for gas. Convenience-time and clean-up. Enjoy.
 
mafoster 
May 16, 2013 8:20 am
I use a weber chimenystarter. However I use the paper from the charcoal bag instead of newspaper this way the residual dust on the paper ignites faster.Just tear down the bag as you use it. no bag to throw away! i use wood chips various flavors. I soak them using an old pickle jar then sprinkle them on the coals before putting on the meat! This technique has earned high praisas from friends and family!
 
jsearfoss 
Jun. 13, 2013 10:57 am
i have a charcoal starter that is great and no harsh chemicals such as lighter fluid and it takes less time for the charcoal to be ready for grilling. so no worries about ruining the BBQ. its called a chiminey starter its awesome and works great all you do is load the top with charcoal and the bottom with news paper and light paper and in 7 to 10 min pour charcoal into the grill and its ready to grill BBQ.
 
Rob 
Jun. 14, 2013 11:23 am
I got the greatest gift for my birthday, a Chargrill hybrid. One half gas the other charcoal so I have the best of both worlds.
 
May 25, 2014 10:46 am
Love charcoal grilling! Can't beat the flavor!!!
 
Jul. 12, 2014 10:56 am
I am a diehard griller and will grill out any time of the year. Charcoal is the best in my opinion. Better flavor hands down. Gas does have its benefits though. If I want to quickly cook a steak I don't want to wait for the charcoal to heat and then cook the food. I just bought a small tabletop gas grill for cases such as that. For quick grilling I will use the gas but for normal grilling charcoal all the way. On a side note on the second time of using the gas grill it flared up and took off half an eye brow, hair from my head, and lower eye lashes. To date I've never had any injury or burned hair with charcoal.
 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Go Pro!

In Season

It’s Ghouls’ Night Out
It’s Ghouls’ Night Out

Get cute n’ creepy recipes to feed all your little monsters.

Cool Weather Salads
Cool Weather Salads

Fall and winter salads bring bright flavors to your favorite meals.

Allrecipes Cooking School
Allrecipes Cooking School

It’s everything you need to cook your best. Learn more about Allrecipes Cooking School.

Related Videos

Top 10 Grilling Tips

Get the top tips for working the grill, any time of year.

How to Grill with Charcoal

Summer isn’t summer until you’ve lit the grill. Find out how to do it right!

Prize Winning Baby Back Ribs

Spice-rubbed ribs get the slow-cooking treatment over indirect heat.

Most Popular Blogs

Read our allrecipes.com blog

Recently Viewed Recipes

You haven't looked at any recipes lately. Get clicking!
Quick Links: Recipe Box | Shopping List | More »
 
Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States