Friday, July 3, 2009

Choosing Between Charcoal and Gas Barbeques

By Jason Mann

Charcoal or gas: which is the best choice in a BBQ? People have been arguing this point for many years. Each has its pros and cons, and people are often fiercely loyal to their chosen method of grilling. But if you're new to barbeque cooking and you don't know where to start, here's a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.


* Fast. It only takes 10 minutes or so before you can start cooking.

* You can easily control the heat. You have more leeway when it comes to timing the meal. Some foods need to cook low and slow, while others need high heat for just a short time. With gas, it's easy to handle these things.

* Versatile. You can use the gas burner on the side to cook some vegetables, and the rotisserie attachment is ideal for slow cooking a roast.

* Taste. There are those who don't enjoy the taste of food that's been cooked over a gas flame. And it certainly doesn't offer up the distinctive wood smoke taste of food cooked over charcoal.

* Easy cleaning. You don't have to sweep away ashes. A tray to catch the drippings handles most of the cleaning, and you can increase the heat for several minutes in order to burn off the remains so that they can be more easily removed.

* Cost effective. One gas cylinder is enough for 8 hours even at maximum setting.

* Your upfront costs might be higher, but there are a lot of different price points to fit most budgets.

* It can save you money over the long term if you maintain it properly, provided gas doesn't skyrocket in price.


* The flavor and aroma of wood smoking can't be matched.

* The purchase price is pretty reasonable initially, but over the long term it might be less so.

* They require a lot more time, not just to cook but also to prepare. Lighting the briquettes and letting them burn down sufficiently can take up to 40 minutes. This won't work for the times when you have a sudden desire to barbeque.

* Timing is important. There is no heat control, so you have to keep a close eye on your food.

* The cost of briquettes may prove to be quite expensive in the long run.

* Ashes are a pain to clean out. You have to let the grate cool down completely before you can clean it, and it's a tough job.

Hopefully you'll find these BBQ tips useful in your choice of charcoal or gas. You should choose the one which fits not only your budget, but also your lifestyle. Those who lead busy lives might prefer a gas barbeque because they require less time in order to fully cook a meal. But if you have lots of time, charcoal grills win hands down for flavor.

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