Let’s look at the pros and cons of each to see how different types of grills compare.
If flavor is your greatest priority, charcoal may be your ideal fuel source for grilling. Cooking with charcoal imparts that classic charbroiled, smoky taste into food that gives barbecued meats their unforgettable flavor. However, that taste comes with a drawback – since charcoal emits smoke, it also imparts carcinogenic compounds into the food and the air.
Cooking with charcoal requires adequate space. It creates immense heat and produces a lot of smoke, which can cause trouble if you are grilling near a multi-family dwelling or other people.
In general, it takes more time to cook with charcoal than gas or electricity. You need time to light the coals and stoke them until they achieve your desired temperature – taking between 20 and 30 minutes in many cases.
Once you start grilling with charcoal, you can’t turn the grill “on” and “off.” You need to tend to the coals until you’re finished cooking and the briquettes have time to cool. If you’re cooking with charcoal, you’ll need more preparation than with gas or electricity.
Pros Of Charcoal Grills:
- Gives food a distinct charbroiled flavor
- Budget-friendly options available
- Most traditional fuel source for barbecues
- Sears meat and vegetables quickly, creating a caramelized exterior
Cons Of Charcoal Grills:
- Smoke contains dangerous carcinogens linked to certain types of cancer
- Requires ongoing upkeep and continual purchase of charcoal
- Takes longer to start grilling
- Can’t be turned off – briquettes must be left to cool on their own
- Requires space and may not be permitted at some multi-family dwellings.
Charcoal is the most traditional fuel source for barbecuing, but gas grills are the most common choice today. Why are people choosing gas grills over electric or charcoal-fueled alternatives?
Gas grills offer a bit of both worlds, imparting a strong, smoky flavor with the convenience of an electric barbecue. Powered by natural gas or propane, they produce a strong, hot flame that sears meat similarly to charcoal.
Additionally, gas grills may feature add-on features that make them more attractive than their competitors. Gas grills may offer bonuses like rotisserie setups, smoker boxes, side burners, and more. You also have greater control over the temperature with gas grills.
Like charcoal, you need a lot of room to use a gas-powered grill. They create a lot of heat and may not be permitted within a certain distance of some apartments or condominiums.
On the same token, gas grills are usually larger than electric or charcoal-powered alternatives. Gas grills require a propane tank or natural gas hookup, limiting their portability.
Natural gas grills are typically safer than propane-fueled grills because they lack an external tank hookup, but once they are hooked up to your home’s natural gas line, you can’t easily move them.
However, they’re easy to start and don’t require 20-30 minutes to heat up like a charcoal barbecue.
Pros Of Gas Grills:
- Offer more features than charcoal or electric grills
- Gives food an authentic barbecue flavor
- Cooks food quickly
- Does not emit carcinogens
Cons Of Gas Grills:
- Require a lot of space and may not be allowed at some housing complexes
- Propane tanks can be dangerous
- Are not portable if attached to a natural gas line
- Are usually larger than charcoal or electric grills
Of the three types of barbecues, electric grills are the least traditional. They’ve become more popular than ever in recent years, earning a reputation as the healthiest, most easily accessible way to grill.
Unlike gas or charcoal grills, electric grills only require an outlet to work. You plug them into the wall or into an extension cord and they heat up in minutes.
You can buy electric grills in a variety of sizes, from a personal-sized, serving-for-one countertop grill to a large outdoor setup ideal for parties and get- togethers.
However, it’s important to remember that electric grills may not create the same traditional smoky flavor you enjoy from charcoal and gas-powered machines. They do not impart a charbroiled taste, which may impact their appeal for some audiences.
Pros Of Electric Grills:
- Easy to use
- Heats up more quickly than other options
- Healthier than other types of grills
- Safe than other types of grills
- Countertop options available, making them a perfect choice if you’re living in an apartment or condominium
Cons Of Electric Grills:
- Does not recreate the classic charbroiled taste of charcoal or gas
- Requires access to an outlet for power
- Can increase electricity bills if used regularly
Taste is a matter of personal preference, but the consensus among barbecue enthusiasts is that charcoal grills offer the best tasting results.
Cooking with charcoal creates a smoky flavor in food that electric grills simply can’t replicate. Some gas grills get close, but ultimately taste a little different than charcoal.
On the other hand, electric grills tend to produce a ‘healthier’ taste. Some people find the classic smoky flavor of charcoal unappealing because it doesn’t taste like healthy eating, which they can get from cooking with an electric grill.
Which Grill Is Healthier?
Electric grills are the healthiest way to cook outdoors. They don’t produce carcinogens and they don’t use unsustainable gas fuels that are bad for the environment. If health is your primary concern, an electric grill may be your best option compared to charcoal or gas.
Advances in technology have greatly impacted grilling and barbecues. In the past, charcoal fuel was the standard for outdoor cooking. However, recent improvement in electric grills have made them a more popular option, while gas-powered grills are widely-used for their convenience.
Ultimately, the right grill for you depends on your priorities. Are you looking for a classic charbroiled taste or a healthier, easier option? It’s important to research all your options and understand the pros and cons. With the right knowledge, it’ll be easier to choose the right grill for your barbecuing needs.