Planning to buy a new grill for your backyard? There are two major categories to choose from: charcoal BBQs and gas grills. As always there are pros and cons for each type. To help you with your decision, here are some tips on choosing a BBQ grill that will suit your family’s needs and result in great-tasting meals.
Cooking Over a Charcoal BBQ
Charcoal BBQs have the longest history of use and the immediate benefit of being a socially-acceptable way to play with fire. Furthermore, charcoal gives you some degree of control over the heat; you can have the grill burn very hot or allow the coals to die down for a gentle heat. You can also add wood chips to subtly influence the flavor of your meals and you can smoke meats and vegetables. Charcoal BBQs come in a wide variety of sizes and styles, many of which are portable and easy to store over the winter.
The disadvantages of grilling over charcoal is that it takes some time and experience to get the fire burning properly, and charcoal grills are messier to clean up when you’re done. It can be a little difficult to keep a regular temperature over long periods of time and the coals need to be constantly stoked to keep them hot.
Gas grills use a propane tank or a direct connection to your home’s gas line for fuel. They are very easy to use, turning on with the touch of a button and maintaining constant heat for hours at a time. These grills are usually quite large, and many models come with a hood and cover for outdoor storage. However, it is still a good idea to find room for them in a garage or other sheltered area during the winter months.
The main reason why true grill aficionados steer away from gas grills is that there is always some loss of flavor when the charcoal and flames are removed. They are also not easily portable, meaning that you can’t pack them in the car to take to the beach or to a friend’s house. However, they are great to use when you want the flavor of a grill without the time expenditure of firing up the charcoal. There is also less chance of burning or undercooking food on a gas grill.
Gas grills are available with a combination of burner types and often have a side gas ring where vegetables can be cooked. There are open grill trays and solid trays to give you the maximum benefit of outdoor cooking methods. Each type of grill has its appeal and many households purchase one of each type to suit a particular need.