Charcoal Vs Gas

This is the big question on everyone's lips when they walk in our shop to purchase a BBQ - 'Charcoal or Gas'?  My reply always is, do you want quick and easy or do you enjoy getting your hands dirty, the smell of charcoal, the joy of flames, and more time to have a drink while it gets to the right temperature! There has always been the good old 'You can't beat the taste of charcoal' but gas is hot on it's heals for taste! Over the years Flavourizer bars and smoker boxes have introduced more of that authentic aroma and flavour, and with the ease of pressing a button, convenience is the word! 

One of the other differences between the two is smoke! Yes that lovely stuff that drifts over your fence and either makes your mouth water or your teeth grit. The smoke between gas and charcoal are very different. Charcoal makes more smoke than gas, with a broader range of tasty flavour molecules. Whereas gas is a simple molecule, and when fully combusted produces no flavour at all, just water and carbon dioxide.

As mentioned already you can create smoke and flavor to your gas BBQ by adding a smoker box. Most gas BBQ's cover the burners with either flavour bars or lava rocks. These don't just protect your burners, they absorb the heat and radiate it! Drippings from your food hit these plates and vaporize, making smoke and steam much like charcoal. Remember smoke doesn't significantly change the flavour of food,  such as burgers and sausages, due to the short time you have them on your grill. But if your doing a long, low, and slow cook there is a noticeable difference in flavour.

When it comes to charcoal when mixed with smoke from wood chips or chunks there is a distinctive flavour that you all expect from a BBQ! One more thing to remember, if you are using charcoal fluid to start your BBQ there can be an unpleasant smell during ignition and this can sometimes get into the food. We always recommend a chimney starter! This is easier, safer, and faster, and of course odourless! 

Some of us don't mind our lovely British weather, but this can also play a big part in what you use, and how long you want to stand in the rain! If it's a spur of the moment and you want quick, gas wins. If it's been planned then yes charcoal can be the way to go (with an umbrella).

We have noticed a huge rise this year in 'Outdoor Kitchen' setups, and most have the joy of having both Gas and Charcoal! A luxury for some I know, but if you have the outside space this is a good option.

So gas offers convenience and control whereas charcoal is about flavor and the trill of making and playing with fire! Taste is a matter of taste!

If you have any other queries our trained and friendly team are here to help and advise you, just give us a call on 01483 760750.


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