dcsimg

Cooking with Charcoal or Cooking with Gas? - The Ultimate Barbecue Question

by Jane Greer
CulinaryEd Columnist
May 19, 2011

"A great deal of words, tears, and possibly blood have been spilled over which makes a better grill: charcoal or gas," says Raichlen. Grilling's popularity means that culinary students have a vested interest in the answer.

Four Uses for Barbecue Grills


You can use charcoal and gas barbecues for live fire cooking, including:

  • Direct grilling (placing food directly over a fire)
  • Indirect grilling (placing food near but not in the flame)
  • Spit-roasting (grilling foods on a rotisserie)
  • Smoking (indirect grilling that includes lots of wood smoke)



What Chef Doesn't Like Playing With an Open Flame?


According to Raichlin, in addition to "the primal thrill of lighting and playing with fire," charcoal grills have the following pluses:

  • Higher heat
  • Ability to burn wood chips (which increase flavor)
  • Ability to smoke food



Charcoal grill drawbacks include:

  • 25 to 35 minutes to reach grilling temperature
  • Messy
  • Requires more attention
  • Less predictable results
  • Restoking with charcoal every hour
  • Ash disposal



Gas Grills--Easy Does It


Gas grilling aficionados cite the following advantages:

  • Push-button ignition
  • 20 hours of consistent heat from one tank of propane
  • Ready in 15 minutes
  • Little cleanup



Disadvantages of a gas grill include:

  • No distinctive charcoal-fire taste
  • No smoking
  • No playing with fire


How does Steve Raichlen solve the charcoal-vs.-gas dilemma? He cheats and uses a gas grill on busy week nights and a charcoal grill for more leisurely weekend barbecuing.

Sources
Barbecue Bible
National Barbecue Association



About the Author

Jane Greer is a freelance writer and editor and is also brave enough to teach English grammar at a community college.
Culinary Art Schools
Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Showing schools in your area

            Matching School Ads
            Culinary Arts
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            Culinary Arts Diploma
            Good for Working Adults
            • A part of the Select Education Group (SEG).
            • Offers several scholarship and financial aid opportunities for students who qualify.
            • California campuses accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), and accreditation for the Salem campus from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
            • 4 Campuses located in Clovis, Modesto, and Redding in California, and Salem, Oregon.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            B.S. in Hospitality Management
            • Ready to earn your business degree? If you identify with at least one of the statements below, GCU could be a good fit for you!
            • I have worked in the business field for a number of years and want to further my education in order to qualify for promotions, leadership positions, and salary increases.
            • I am graduating from high school and am interested in pursuing a career in a business field, but I first need the skills experience.
            • I am interested in a Bachelor's, Master's or Doctoral degree in my specialized business area of focus.
            • I want flexible course offerings, such as the option of 100% online, evening or campus classes.
            • I need a university that provides quality educational offerings through academic excellence and real-world relevance. Does this sound like you? Apply today!
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management

            Founded in 1869 as a land-grant school, the University is known today for its prolific faculty as well as a record of distinguished research and achievement in aerospace, engineering, technology, science, and math.

            • Online Courses
            Search Schools Near You
            Subject :
            Degree :
            Zip Code :
            Culinary Articles
            10 Colleges with Delicious Dining Hall Food
            Forget boring college cafeteria dining: campus food can be both healthy and delicious. Here's a look at 10 colleges where you might actually enjoy getting your grub on.
            Four International Cuisines Influencing the American Foodscape
            Ethnic cuisines are an integral part of America's culinary landscape, and none more so than these perennial favorites.
            5 Ethnic Cuisines for Serious Foodies
            Love food? Want to broaden your culinary horizons? These five international cuisines might be an excellent starting place.
            Healthy home cooked meals can improve health, longevity and family social community
            Read how cooking at home rather than eating out can help you live longer, reduce the risk of cancer and improve family dynamics. Not only has cooking at home become the hip choice, it's also become the smart choice.