Gas grills are comparatively newer than charcoal grills. It is therefore understood why people can argue over which one is better- the old and true or the young and new. When you eat food out of either one, you will notice the differences between the way the meat is cooked. If you know your way around grilling meat, if you're in a hotel, the first bite tells you whether the chicken has been in a gas grill or a charcoal one. So, when it comes to choosing, the first thing you would go for is the taste. Now, there are other factors that you need to take a closer look at before you finally choose. They may not be as important as the taste, but they will make it easier (or maybe harder) to choose.
Gas Vs. Charcoal - The Showdown
Now, when it comes to taste, people will always make amends to avoid any compromise on it. But the question here is, which one tastes better? The question is an opinionated one as well as a trick question. Unless you've eaten the same food, made by the same cook, twice from different grills, you really won't know what the true difference is. The place where this comes into picture is with hamburgers. You will have the hardest time trying to differentiate between two burgers that came out of a gas grill and a charcoal grill each.
That said, the main difference between the tastes is the smoky flavor and the charred texture. A gas grill means more direct heat, which results in the outer part of the meat getting slightly charred as the inner parts get cooked. You end up getting a piece of meat that's crispy on the outside and soft and cooked on the inside.
When it comes to the charcoal grill, you get a smoked flavor to your meat. Now, if you've been eating out of a charcoal grill for a long time, chances are strong that you will always prefer it over a gas grill, because you will be too attached to the smoky taste. Another win for the charcoal grill over the gas grill is the wood used as fuel. Now, the burning wood gives the meat it's smoky flavor. You will now find wood that comes with its own, well, flavor. You get to choose from anything between apple to oak to cherry. Each kind of wood gives the meats its own unique smoked taste.
Ease of Use
This is another point that you need to figure out by yourself. If you're busy with your life and you're grilling just to eat meat at the end of the day, you will enjoy the gas grill. It is much quicker to start and the food gets cooked faster on it. That's because the gas provides a direct heat source as compared to the charcoal grill.
The charcoal grill, on the other hand, is more of an enthusiasts grill. The pace of modern society rarely lets you relax, but it does, you pull out the charcoal grill and have yourself a party! Nothing says comfort more than smoked steak and burgers on a Sunday, by the poolside. The charcoal grill takes some time to start up on account of the charcoal grill needing to heat up. The point of ease goes pretty much hand in hand with the taste factor. If you love the smoky taste, you got to work for it.
Safety issues should be predictable depending on what you choose. The biggest problem with grilling is an uncontrolled flare-up. You can avoid these flare-ups with a little information and a calm mind. A gas grill is slightly less likely to have a flare-up than a charcoal grill.
The other problem comes with handling the fuel. You'd want to be more careful if you're handling the charcoal wood in a charcoal grill. Make sure it's cooled down after using it and clean the grill out from time to time.
This is one reason why people choose to stay away from charcoal grills altogether. If you live in an apartment, if you live in a closed space or if someone (you, your family or a neighbor) has a problem with the smoke emissions (like asthma), you should go for the gas grill. Hotels prefer the gas grill because of the lesser need for indoor ventilation as compared to the charcoal grill.
I suggest you do a little quick research of these factors before you choose the charcoal grill. You might need a nod of approval for the charcoal grill from the building contractor if you live is an apartment. If you live in a house outside the city, with open air everywhere and a nice backyard or a patio, then you can gladly go for the charcoal grill.
You need increased levels of ventilation if you intend to use the charcoal grill indoors. When it comes to the wide open outdoors, they will always be in direct contact with mother nature. If where you live is loved by the rain gods or it snows more than it is sunny, your decision may edge towards the gas grill. You have no problem starting a maintained gas grill in cold weather. The charcoal grill, on the other hand, has plenty of starting and heating problems in regular weather, let alone in the backyard in the middle of winter.
Try starting up a charcoal grills when the winds blow through your place. I warn you though, this is not intended for the short-fused or the hungry ones.
The last point of discussion, the price, will also need some leverage over your decision. When it comes to buying the grill, the gas grill is costlier than the charcoal grill. The gas grill includes quite a lot more technology than the age-old charcoal grill.
Where the gas grill sounds better to your wallet, is in the fuel cost department. On one session, you will be spending more on charcoal wood than on the gas consumed off the cylinder. The long run does not approve of the charcoal grills spendthrift nature.
These are the major points of debate between the gas and the charcoal grill. Yes, the gas grill's temperature is much easier to control (just turn the knob), but a true charcoal grill master can get you just as much control if you wish. At the end of the day, you're cooking food that you're going to eat, so you don't want to have any regrets about it. Choose wisely, call up your friends and have a great party!