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March 29, 2022 6 min read


Are you undecided about which barbeque grill to buy now that summer is approaching? Don't be concerned. We've got you covered. By the end of this article, your confusion will be cleared and you'll be ready to make a decision. Below, we'll be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of charcoal and gas grills. Let's get into it.


Charcoal Grill


Hot charcoal on top of a grill

Credit: Popular Mechanics


A charcoal grill is a type of home barbecue that cooks food with lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes as the heat source. Wood chips and lighter fluid are used to start the hot coals, which are usually situated beneath the grill grates. Pellet grills, kettle grills, and chimney starters are among the many types of charcoal barbecues available.

Many people consider charcoal to be a more real kind of grilling, which is why it is so popular among BBQ enthusiasts. This is because charcoal grilling imparts a distinct smoky flavor to food. 


The Pros and Cons of a Charcoal Grill


There are several advantages to using a charcoal barbecue, not the least of which is the expense. A charcoal barbecue can be purchased for less than $100 (and in some cases much less). A charcoal grill also gives you the authentic experience of cooking over an open fire. We will discuss the pros and cons in detail below.


Pros of Charcoal Grills


Meat cooking on a charcoal barbeque

Credit: Reader’s Digest


1) It’s Both Inexpensive and Portable


If you prefer to cook when camping or tailgating for the big game, there are charcoal grills that are inexpensive and excellent for only grilling a couple of burgers. Even a somewhat more expensive model is less expensive and more portable than most gas barbecue options.


2) It Can Grow Unbearably Hot


You can stoke those coals until they reach a steady 700°F with practice and patience. This is often hotter than most gas barbecues, making it excellent for a nice sear on your steak.


3) It Reigns Supreme When It Comes to Authentic Grilled Flavor


If you truly want that char-grilled taste, this is the best method to get it – though be careful that if you use lighter fluid, you can wind up with a flavor that tastes like, well, lighter fluid.


Cons of Charcoal Grills


Charcoal Chimney Starter

Credit: Char-Griller


1) Smaller Cooking Surface and Longer Prep Time


The size of a basic charcoal grill might be somewhat limited. They frequently lack cooling shelves and have smaller cooking spaces. When you add in the slightly longer start time and the challenging heat regulation (charcoal burns out and needs to be replenished ahead of time), you'll find yourself spending more time monitoring the cook and less time relaxing with your guests.


2) You’ll Need a Charcoal Chimney


A charcoal chimney is a hollow metal cylinder with handles and a grate within. You fill it with charcoal, lay it on top of your grill, then heat it up with newspaper or lighter cubes. When you're ready to cook, simply transfer the hot coals to your grill. It's not difficult or expensive, but it's an extra step and piece of equipment.


3) Takes Time To Get Used To and Annoying to Clean


With live fire, heat control is more difficult, and it will need patience, intuition, and a lot of experience. Thanks to the radiant, intense heat that charcoal delivers, you'll be able to cook nearly anything over time.

One of the advantages of grilling in the summer is that it is easier to clean than cooking in the oven or on the stove because there are no pots and pans to deal with. Charcoal grills, on the other hand, can be dirty. You'll almost certainly have to clean up ash and grease after each usage, and a blast of wind will likely blow ash all over your deck or patio.


Choose charcoal grills if...

  • You're wary about working with a flammable chemical (gas).
  • You desire a smoke flavor.
  • You want a cheaper and more portable option.

 Charcoal Grills


Gas Grills


Gas grill with some meat cooking

Credit: WIRED


A gas grill is a type of barbecue that uses gas jets beneath the cooking surface to cook food. Stainless steel gas grills are typically created in a cart type that is huge, expensive, and rarely portable. Natural gas or liquid propane are commonly used to power these grills. Natural gas grills require you to connect your grill to your home's gas line before cooking, which means you won't be able to move it around easily. However, if you add a gas tank, it becomes a portable grill. Natural gas, on the other hand, burns cleaner and is less expensive than propane.


The Pros and Cons of a Gas Grill


The biggest advantage of a gas grill is its simplicity of usage. You will, however, pay a price for the convenience. Below we've listed some pros and cons of gas grills.


Pros of Gas Grills


Gas grill cooking some food

Credit: Rolling Stone


1) It’s Simple To Use


You can utilize a gas grill if you've previously used a stove. Each burner is controlled by a dial, which allows you to adjust the heat and instantly switch it off when you're finished. You can multitask since it's so simple: just fire it up, start cooking, and check in on your food every few minutes as you talk with friends, prepare the remainder of supper, or even do chores around the house!


2) Quick Start-Up and Better for the Environment


With a gas grill, you have temperature control. Gas grills instantly light up with a simple press of the ignition button and a turn of the dial. Rather than needing to wait for the coals to heat up, you can grill right away after a fast preheat. You may also go from low heat, which is ideal for bone-in chicken, to high heat, which is ideal for kebobs or steak, without having to move around hot coals.

Gas grills have been scientifically demonstrated to be better for the environment. According to research, the carbon footprint of gas grills is around one-third that of charcoal grills.


3) You Can Cook a Variety of Different Meals


With a gas grill, you can effortlessly prepare delicate items like fish, fruit, and vegetables without the risk of the smoky flavor that comes with charcoal grilling dominating the meal. If you want to add a smoky taste to your grill, you may easily install a smokebox, which is included with several gas barbecues.


Cons of Gas Grills


Gas BBQ waiting to be used

Credit: MyRecipes


1) It's Not Cheap


Gas grills start at around $200, and to want one in sturdy stainless steel with excellent heating, expect to pay around $500 (with options rising into the thousands!).


2) You'll Require Gas


If you want to use a gas grill, you'll need to be able to fuel it, either with a natural gas connection from your house or by keeping a propane tank full. Because installing a gas connection to your outdoor area is expensive, most people opt for propane tanks. It adds roughly $20 to the cost of purchasing a tank, and then another $20 each time you need to fill it.


3) It Takes Time To Put Together


A mid-range gas grill is more difficult to install and connect to a propane tank whereas a charcoal grill can be set up in minutes.


Choose gas grills if...

  • You enjoy grilling quick meals.
  • Gas is used to power your home.
  • You don't think super-hot temperatures are necessary.

 Gas Grills




It can get confusing when you have to choose between gas and charcoal grills. In the end, it comes down to what you want. If you're a serious cook who wants to practice and learn how to cook over wood or charcoal, consider getting a charcoal grill. Impress your buddies by cooking brisket, beer-can chicken, and more.

If you simply want to cook for a crowd, grilling burgers and sausages (and perhaps the occasional kebab) with minimal prep and forethought, or simply want to do some fast outside grilling, invest in a quality gas grill that will last you for a long time.

We hope that this article on charcoal and gas grilling has helped you in making a decision. Make sure to share it with your bbq buddies.


1 Response

Charlotte Fleet
Charlotte Fleet

August 10, 2022

I like how you said that charcoal grilling is the best method to get an authentic flavor. My dad wants to buy a new BBQ that he can use for parties and other events. Taste is extremely important to him, so I’ll suggest that he look into getting a charcoal BBQ so he can achieve optimum flavor.

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