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Old 09-12-2009, 08:00 AM
 
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We use charcoal. Hands down.
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Old 09-12-2009, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Central North Carolina
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Gas.

As a chef of many years, and a "foodie", I can say that you can get the flavor you need with gas. (And charcoal can actually leave a fuel taste, when using fluid, as noted).


Here's a couple tricks for getting good flavor with gas:
  1. First thing you ever cook on it should be high-fat hamburgers. Even if you don't eat hamburgers, cook them anyway, preferably in a pretty large quantity. the drippings will go into the flame plates, and will give you the char-broil flavor you need later. Otherwise, as noted, you might as well cook in an oven.
  2. Even after this initial break-in, it takes time to build flavor and "season" into a gas grill.
  3. Use Hickory or mesquite in it. You can soak either one, and then wrap it in foil and put it directly on the flame deflector (above the flame, below the 'grilling surface'. For even better results, you can put the soaked chips DIRECTLY on the deflectors, by adding a few chips at a time every so often.
  4. Some will say that you can't slow-cook on gas, but that is wrong. Be sure to buy one with at least three burners, that run front to back (in other words, they are parallel with the side of the grill, not the front of it). By doing this, you can cook on indirect heat. You can either run only one burner to the far side, or two burners on each side, and cook in the middle above a burner that is off. Run the burners on the lowest setting, or whatever you need to do to modulate your tempurature to where you want it (225-250 for good slow cooked que, or chicken halves!). Best bet is to remove one of the grates so you can have a little bit of access to the "on" burners, so you can keep adding soaked hickory directly to the plates throughout the cooking process.
  5. #4 will go a long way toward seasoning, or flavoring the grill for future use.
If all of this is not convincing, then think about it. How many of the best restuarants (BBQ notwithstanding) use gas, or gas combined with wood. The answer is "almost all of them", including (educated guess) Ruth's Chris, Morton's, and etc.



Now I will be the first to admit that, while you can make "good" slow cooked BBQ on gas, there is really no substitute for an all wood fire, made from only embers that have been burned down in advance in a seperate barrel. Cooking BBQ on commercial charcoal briquettes is blasphamy, and should not be taken seriously. But all of this is a moot point because you asked what kind of "GRILL" to buy, so the choices are gas or charcoal (A smoker is a different topic, and I will reluctantly yield to the quality of wood fires).


The other main point to consider is that with gas you will use it a lot more, it is cheaper and more convenient (keep a spare cylinder at your house at all times, nothing is more of a buzz-kill than running out of LP when you are 70% done cooking, and 50% into a twelve-pack).

Both have their qualities, but my vote goes to gas. Enjoy whatever you get, and BTW, now is a great time to get one on clearance. I just did.
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Old 05-06-2010, 12:58 PM
 
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I have been debating on getting one. Since this will be my first one, I have been looking at some low end models only. I saw a small (ish) charcoal one on sale for $40.00 and a decent sized gas one for $80.00 have been think about getting the charcoal one first. If we do not use it enough or long for thegas I can pck one up at the end of the season.
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Old 05-06-2010, 01:13 PM
 
35,319 posts, read 44,689,645 times
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Why not get one of each, a good gas Grille can be had for under $100 and is handy for quick meals during the week.
A very good Charcoal unit can be had for under $100 and can be used when more time is available like on the weekends.
Personally i dont use my gas grille that much as i can do most cooking just as well on the stove indoors and a frying pan is a lot easier to clean than the grates and grilles and grease traps of a gas BBQ unit, The charcoal unit gets more of a work out on the weekends as it gives a better ambiance when we are sitting around the back yard with some friends and beer on a Saturday or Sunday evening.
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Old 05-06-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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I am basically experimenting to find what best fits our needs. At this point I do not envision using the grill too much for daily stuff. When the grill is used it will mostly be for flavored items hence I am thinking the charcoal one first.
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Old 05-06-2010, 01:49 PM
 
Location: DC
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I bought my first grill last year and went for charcoal. The grill itself was cheaper (I have read articles about how gas is cheaper in the long run, but oh well), and since I really only cook for myself and maybe 1 or 2 other people I went for a small one (Weber Smokey Joe, $20). I use a chimney starter, which works pretty well for me (~20 minutes to get the coals going, so I light it and then start getting the food together). I've never used fluid, I hate the taste it can sometimes leave, and for some reason it freaks me out a little. The main downside is that if I'm cooking for a bunch of people or for an extended period of time it's difficult. The most I've ever made was burgers and hot dogs for 12 people, and the last batch took a while since the coals had cooled down. If you're cooking all in one shot (I can easily fit enough food for 4 at the same time), then it's not bad. Because it's small it uses less charcoal. Last summer a bag lasted me most of the season. As far as storage, I just kept it outside under an overhang in the original bag.

I figure once I have a house where I'll stay for a while and a good place to put it (right now it's on a balcony) then I can buy a big nice gas one. For now, my little guy is fine while I experiment with grilling. It's perfectly fine for the weekend, and I've done some weekday grilling as well. As long as I plan out the timing (i.e. prep while the charcoal heats up) it doesn't take too much longer than cooking another way.
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:35 PM
 
1,882 posts, read 4,260,748 times
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Weber One Touch Silver. $60-$80.

Gas/LP is no comparison to wood/charcoal.

Been there, done that.

It can be a grill and an oven.
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:42 PM
 
Location: Illinois
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Both!

Charcoal is kind of obvious. Nothing beats that smoky flavor.

The gas grill is great for whipping up a quick steak.
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:51 PM
 
25,627 posts, read 32,332,907 times
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Both. However depending on how your gas grill is configured you can smokem like the big boys with your Propane and Propane Asscessories.
I have One wood smoker, one charcoal grill, one propane grill and one propane smoker. I'm kinda bipolar like that.
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Old 05-06-2010, 05:04 PM
 
Location: Arlington Virginia
4,538 posts, read 8,412,060 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulldogdad View Post
Both. However depending on how your gas grill is configured you can smokem like the big boys with your Propane and Propane Asscessories ...
Do you get yours from Strickland Propane? (I love that show )

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