Way OT: Charcoal or Propane?

jkrepner wrote on 5/5/2006, 12:21 PM
Way OT: Charcoal or Propane?

Going crazy on this one... need help.... normally cooking for two.... occasional cookout of 5-10 people....

On the one hand, charcoal has a better flavor, but on the other, it takes longer to get going and therefore it's less likely to be used (thus defeating the whole point of outdoor grilling.) I fear a charcoal grill might just sit there covered. Yet it tastes so good, err... eating burgers and talking about Sony Vegas. (see, now it's not OT)


FrigidNDEditing wrote on 5/5/2006, 12:32 PM
ahhh just go charcoal, and spend more time talking about Vegas - plus you get to use lighter fluid :D

epirb wrote on 5/5/2006, 12:34 PM
I used charcoal to burn my copy of premier 6.
but the gas grill does a nice job on those AOL discs that come in the mail all the time.
and clean up with gas is so much easier... no charcoal dust, lighter fluid etc...
birdcat wrote on 5/5/2006, 12:35 PM
I used to be a charcoal purist but the convenience of gas converted me over a period of years - The new grills have lava rocks (or other such devices) that act just like the charcoal (converting dripping fats/juices to smoke to flavor the food). You can also easily add wood chips (hickory, mesquite, apple, cherry, whatever you like) for a more smokey flavor (put damp chips in a metal can in a corner).

EDIT: Also why is it that this post got more replies in minutes than genuine video questions do?
jkrepner wrote on 5/5/2006, 1:02 PM
> EDIT: Also why is it that this post got more replies in minutes than genuine video questions do?

Oh that's easy: most video professionals are Avid grillers. (okay, that's bad)

I like the idea of the lava rocks and damp wood chips.
craftech wrote on 5/5/2006, 1:16 PM
I used to do charcoal grilling, but larger parties forced me to get a gas barbeque grille. I don't regret it, but I wouldn't leave it out all winter if I were you.

As far as charcoal delays go I solved that problem a long time ago by constructing a sheet metal smoke stack with a bail handle at the top around 12 inches in diameter and around 24 inches tall with six little triangular vents around the bottom to create an updraft. I used to stuff newspaper in there first with some dry kindling and light it through one of the vents. Then I added a few thicker pieces of wood and when it was really roaring I dumped in the charcoal. 15 minutes later I lifted the smokestack off by the bail handle and spread out the glowing charcoal ready to cook.


And no lighter fluid taste either.
FrigidNDEditing wrote on 5/5/2006, 1:20 PM
because somethings transcend all boundries, and their importance speaks to all people of every tribe, and tounge, and nation.

Or it could be that poeple here grill than edit.

johnmeyer wrote on 5/5/2006, 8:28 PM
Everyone told me to switch to gas, but I resisted. Remodeled the house in '94 and decided to get a gas grill. "Hard wired" it to the main gas supply. Never looked back. I do enjoy a regular barbecue, but I haven't used my charcoal grill once in twelve years. I use Mesquite chips to impart smoke flavor.

BTW, I got the rotisserie and use it all the time. Gas gives you great control so you can repeat your past success. Of course, without the flame-ups, and other disasters, you have less to talk about over dinner.
TheHappyFriar wrote on 5/5/2006, 9:13 PM
I like both. Both have bad sides though... charcole grills eventualy burn out the bottom. Gas ones normally burn out the burner (warning: I had a burner burn out while it was being used. Had to use a fire extinguisher on it. I really should of replaced the burner months before).

What about wood? Doesn't anyone do anything over wood anymore? :) I do sometimes (in the winter I sometimes cook on the wood stove or throw wrapped baked potatoes in there).

Eigther way, get a rotisserie. they're the best. I can even rotisserie steaks. Man, they're good that way!
TShaw wrote on 5/5/2006, 10:19 PM
One of each. You could go with a good to top of the line gas grill and a small webber for the charcoal when you just have to have that exta
flaver. It is that time of year.

fldave wrote on 5/6/2006, 7:32 AM
Agree with the "One of each" vote. Small Webbers are hard to beat. But the convenience of gas outweighs the lack of true smokey flavor. Year-round grilling and it makes for quick meals. Also after a hurricane, with no gas/electricity, I don't want to wait for the briquettes to settle down before I can heat water up for a cup of coffee!

Sheesh, I even (shamefully) bought an electric smoker.
Opampman wrote on 5/6/2006, 7:48 AM
If you're going to grill with gas,why not just cook inside? Charcoal is the only way to go - no lighter fluid either. You have to have a chimney to start it properly (like what John described). I've stood in the rain, in the snow, and even used a propane torch (there is a use for gas) to melt the ice on the charcoal grill so I could open it. It was worth it every time!
risce1 wrote on 5/6/2006, 8:15 AM
It takes much nore editing skill to cook on charcoal, heating the coals to the correct temp, gettin the lighter fluid completely out before starting , coal placement for different temperatutes, whew, just push the button and fire up the gas grill !!
TheHappyFriar wrote on 5/6/2006, 9:10 AM
you ever use an oven in a house when it's 95f outside? A grill would be hotter then that. I'd rather not eat at all...
JL wrote on 5/6/2006, 9:16 AM
charcoal = film
gas = digital
TShaw wrote on 5/6/2006, 2:20 PM
"charcoal = film
gas = digital"

JL, LOL. I love it!

craftech wrote on 5/6/2006, 2:44 PM
"charcoal = film
gas = digital"
And Lava Rocks = "Film Look"

birdcat wrote on 5/6/2006, 4:54 PM
> "charcoal = film
>gas = digital"
>And Lava Rocks = "Film Look"

Does that make Wood Chips = "Special Effects"?
dibbkd wrote on 5/6/2006, 5:19 PM
"Hard wired" it to the main gas supply. Never looked back.

johnmeyer - how do you hard wire your grill to the main gas line. The only thing I don't like about gas is running out, not knowing exactly how much you have left. I eventually bought another tank for backup.
johnmeyer wrote on 5/6/2006, 6:45 PM
johnmeyer - how do you hard wire your grill to the main gas line. The only thing I don't like about gas is running out, not knowing exactly how much you have left. I eventually bought another tank for backup

You have to have a gas line nearby. I happened to have one only ten feet away (for the hot tub -- a required item here in California). You also need to purchase a gas barbecue that has the burners set for natural gas because it has a different BTU output than propane. Fortunately, our local OSH had the natural gas models in stock, on sale, so it was no big deal. I think you can purchase a conversion kit for natural gas from Weber (if that's what you have) if you want to convert your existing grill.
Bob Greaves wrote on 5/6/2006, 6:52 PM
My dad had a high quality propane grill when I was growing up that is no longer made. It had a ceramic plate that was occasionally replaced upon which the fat and juices would fall on and burn adding charcoal flaver. It was amazing. The best of both worlds.
DelCallo wrote on 5/6/2006, 7:52 PM
For convenience, nothing beats gas, but I prefer the cooking style of a Weber (or similar) charcoal grill. Once the coals are red-hot, you can move them to either side or around the perimeter of the grill, place a drip pan in the center, place a turkey or chicken or steaks or whatever over the drip pan, put the lid on, leaving the vent holes open, and then, pretty much not worry about it any more until it's done. The restricted air flow is sufficient to allow the coals to stay hot but not sufficient to support flair-ups - a problem that seems to haunt me when I try to cook on gas grills. They are, by nature, well vented so as to operate safely. You can close the lid and have a huge flair up, come back to find your rack of ribs nothing more than a skeleton.

That's why I prefer charcoal. As for the coals burning out the bottom of the grill, I've never had that with my Webers. Usually, the legs fail or the rivets holding the vent mechanisms rust - but, even this takes a long time.

I just replaced my 15-year old Weber with a new one last year. The leg welds failed. I could have fixed it, but, the top vent disc had also fallen off. I kept it for use as a stoker in which I can ready new charcoal during really big cookouts.

Each to his/her own, however.

TheHappyFriar wrote on 5/6/2006, 11:31 PM
unless you're like me & have a use propain in household appliances. Then you just need to hook up the grill. :D
TeeTime wrote on 5/7/2006, 6:11 AM
Seventeen years ago I bought a Weber charcoal grill with a propane starter. Best of both worlds and still going strong. I load up the charcoal, turn on the gas starter, and in about 10 minutes I'm ready to cook. There is a sweep thingy that dumps the ashes into a removable tub after cooking so cleanup is a breeze. Did I mention this grill has been going strong for seventeen years?

frmax wrote on 9/18/2020, 5:04 PM

In Vegas I would say: Charcoal !