A new barbeque - convince me

Our deck is being built as I type this. I want to christen it with a new barbeque, but am vascillating between charcoal and gas. I’ve had charcoal units before (Weber), and have been eyeing a nice one at Sears for about $350. Gas has the advantage of being quick to heat, but since I’m retired I’m in no hurry. I’m not interested in buying a Big Green Egg or anything else that’s really expensive.

What say you, my Doping friends? Convince me one way or t’other. Model recommendations appreciated.

I use both, but for sheer convienence I say go for gas. Anything charcoal can do, gas can do cleaner and quicker. Charcoal freaks will argue about taste, but what they are really saying is that they like little bits of ash on their food.

Charcoal’s the only way to go. Better heat zone management, MUCH better to add smoke to, let’s you play with fire and frankly, cooler. Plus, after you’re done eating, you can roast marshmallows on it.

We got one last Memorial Day. The SO calls it GOD (Grill o’ Dreams).

It has gas on one side, charcoal on the other, a side burner, and we bought the smoker box. He’s got it all.

We got it on sale at Lowes and it was really surprisingly cheap, for decent quality. It’s certainly not high-end, but it’s as good as what we had. The old grills were seriously worn out after years & years of service.

Since we were already planning to buy gas and charcoal, and had been wanting a smoker, it was a tremendous deal for us.

The only drawback is that it’s monster huge and we haven’t been able to find a proper cover for it. If we hadn’t gotten the smoker box…
ETA: We looked at the Sears models, and this one seemed comparable in build quality.

Why not both? A good sized charcoal model for when you want to get your grilling on. Then a small gas model for the times you want just a couple of burgers or some hot dogs.

I grill 5 or 6 times a week. Even if I wasn’t in a hurry and despite the fact charcoal may be a little better flavor I can’t imagine having done charcoal every single one of those times. In other words, if you’re high frequency, gas sure is delightfully simple.

I prefer gas for convenience: it always lights, heats up fast, easy temperature control, easy cleanup. However charcoal does seem to add a special flavor and seems to work best for slow cooking. I used to have an Aussie Grill that could be used for both gas and charcoal. Had a hell of a rib cookout on that sucker.

Gas will most likely get used more.

I grill year 'round. I’ve tried a few types, both gas and charcoal, and I always go back to my Weber. Cheaper charcoal grills disappoint (a Charbroil wasn’t as airtight as my Weber) and if I’m going to grill with gas I might as well cook indoors. Running out of gas halfway though cooking is a real bummer. I use an electric starter and it is only slightly more work than a click of a gas grill.

  1. empty previous ash from catcher and open vents
  2. place electric starter on grate
  3. pour in fresh charcoal, plug in starter
  4. 5 - 20 minutes later, unplug, scrape grill clean
  5. wait 30-35 minutes til coals are ready. I make veggies/side dish during this time
  6. cook, etc.
  7. close vents

Gas is more convenient, charcoal gets hotter and gives a better taste. A tough decision awaits you!

What about infrared?

Just grilled wild salmon on natural gas…15 minutes from start to finish. Left me more time to get funky with the wife. Charcoal? Less time to get funky and dirty fingers to boot…she ain’t gonna like that!

A charcoal grill, with good charcoal, will give you extra flavor on items that take longer to cook. Gas is quicker and more convenient, and despite what Munch posted, on a good gas grill you can have excellent zone heat management. I also smoke on my gas grill a few times a year - not as efficient and smoky as a dedicated smoker, but damn good nonetheless.

I’ve got a natural gas stainless steel Weber that’s hooked up to a gas line. No muss, no fuss. The stainless steel is pretty durable and helps since I’m pretty close the ocean. The Weber replacement parts are usually available for a very long time, so I figure I’ll have it forever. My last Kenmore’s burners rusted out and I could never get a replacement burner to run correctly.

Nevertheless, seriously consider running a gas line out to your barbeque.

I would look at the gas assisted charcoal grills. They use charcoal for the heat source, but gas is used to speed up the time for the charcoal to ash over.

We used to be charcoal people, but a couple of years ago my husband was deployed a lot and we got me a gas grill because I don’t love messing with charcoal. BEST THING EVER. We used to grill once a week or so, now it’s about 3 times a week. It’s so easy, and we honestly can’t tell much difference in the flavor of the food, except that sometimes our food would taste like lighter fluid when we cooked with charcoal. (Our fault, I know.)

See, really, this is a lot more work than

  1. Hit the button to turn grill on
  2. wait 5-10 minutes for grill to get hot (ours gets to 600 F in 10 minutes, and it’s not an expensive grill)
  3. Cook.

Our gas gets much hotter than the charcoal grill we used to have. We’ve had the gas up to 800, and I use it as a pizza oven all the time.

This is the grill I looked at at Sears.

After years of swearing by charcoal, I broke down and bought a gas grill. In particular, a ridonculously cheap, Wal-Mart off-brand gas grill.

I am thoroughly and completely in love with my gas grill. I can do in 4 seconds what used to take 20 minutes.

If you want to get that smoke-y flavor in your meats, here’s what ya do: Buy a bag of wood chips (or collect your own). Soak them in water 30 minutes. Shake the water off. Wrap up said chips in aluminum foil, poke holes in the aluminum foil pouch. Put the pouc in the grill, turn up the heat as high as it will go, wait until smoke issues forth from the pouch. Turn the heat back down and grill away.

It’s not that bad, really. I added steps like ‘open/close vents’, and when typed out it sounds like a lot, but really isn’t. It’s a little more work than gas, but if I wanted to cook easily, I’d cook inside. :slight_smile:

See, this is more work, IMO. :wink:

Yes it is. But you don’t have to do it unless you want to. When cooking with charcoal, you have to wait for the coals to heat up whether you want to or not.