Grilling is great fun and it can provide excellent meals. Many people grill, grill, grill from spring to fall. The key question is: gas grill or charcoal grill? Both kinds of grills have their fans and their detractors, but does it matter for the flavor? The Weber kettle folks said on their website that they had done blind taste tests and that people couldn’t tell whether food was cooked with gas or charcoal. Still, I love the smoky flavor from charcoal. Maybe those taste tests had a heavier hand with sauces than I do.
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Gas Grills: Quick and Easy
Gas grills are popular partly because using them hardly takes any more time than cooking on the stovetop. You just have to take a few steps outside and there you are. Really, it’s quite similar to cooking on a gas stove except that the grill hoods keep in the heat! So anyone can cook on a gas grill successfully.
Char-Broil Classic 280 2-Burner Gas GrillSUPER SPACE 60000 BTU 4 Burner + Side Burner Barbecue GrillWeber 46110001 Spirit E210 Liquid Propane Gas Grill, BlackFuego Element 2016 F21C Model Gas GrillColeman 9949-750 Road Trip Grill LXEChar-Broil TRU-Infrared Patio Bistro Gas Grill, Black
I had fun choosing this selection of propane grills at Amazon. There sure are a lot of different styles! When I was doing this, the first one shown above was the best-seller in propane grills. That Fuego Element one was designed by someone who had been a designer at Apple and it won design awards. It’s a good one for small spaces. That Coleman Road Trip one is also small and even more portable, and I like that you can buy an interchangeable cast iron griddle for a great pancake brunch!
Charcoal Grills: Cheaper, More Portable
By and large, charcoal grills are smaller and easier to take with you on a camping trip. The last item in this set isn’t actually a grill — the chimney provides a way to start a charcoal grill very easily. You just put in your charcoal on top, add crumpled newspaper on the bottom, set it on your grill or some other fire-safe place, and light the newspapers. After a short while, the charcoal will have started up enough that you pour it into the grill and it’s getting going nicely. We had one of these chimneys years ago, but we gave it and our grill away for some reason I’ve now forgotten. Our current charcoal grill is easy to start by itself. (It’s a pottery one we got in Mexico when we lived there.)
Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal GrillChar-Griller 1515 Patio Pro Charcoal GrillWeber 10020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable GrillKingsford OGD2001901-KF Outdoor Charcoal Kettle Grill, 22.5-InchWeber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal GrillWeber 7416 Rapidfire Chimney Starter
Grilling Tips: Charcoal
My main tip is: don’t use starter fluid! You don’t need any more chemicals in your food.
This video makes a lot of good points.
So… Gas Grill or Charcoal Grill?
Both have their pluses and minuses… I was going to write a long section here but I found an article where someone else had done such a good job that I’m just linking to this definitive guide. By the way, there are gas grill – charcoal grill combos but they don’t seem to be nearly as popular.
Grilling Recipe Books
Just want to browse BBQ recipes online? Allrecipes has a nice selection.
Me, I love cookbooks! Whether you want tips on grilling a steak to perfection, good grilled chicken recipes, healthy grilled salmon recipes, or something else, here are some of the grilling books you can choose from:
Southern Living Ultimate Book of BBQ: The Complete Year-Round Guide to Grilling and SmokingWeber’s New Real Grilling: The Ultimate Cookbook for Every Backyard GrillerThe Essential New York Times Grilling Cookbook: More Than 100 Years of Sizzling Food Writing and RecipesThe Grilling Book: The Definitive Guide from Bon AppetitThe Barbecue! BibleFlavorize: Great Marinades, Injections, Brines, Rubs, and Glazes
This was a very enjoyable blog post to write… think there is more barbecuing coming up for us this summer. I’ve recently learned more about how to do veggies. When we had family members visiting recently, they showed me how to cut up zuccini, red bell peppers, red onions, and potatoes into thin slices, lightly brush on olive oil and then cook them on both sides. Highly recommended!