Re: Charcoal or gas, Which grills best
yes to both
Date: August 14, 2012 10:09AM
the above answer is spot on, if one wants the best of both worlds, they'd have charcoal and a gas grill.
charcoal grills get hotter, or can be made hotter, than a gas grill....it's science. so if one needs to sear the piss out of something w/o over cooking - ahi tuna or flank steak for example - charcoal is the only way to go. like mentioned above, its blasphemy using lighter fluid or any "pre-soaked" lump charcoal. straight lumps lit in a chimney starter. the type of lump, forgetting the MatchLight crap, also makes a difference. straight kingsford is what everybody knows, but there's other out there with minimal to no fillers. that's the crap ( along with lighter fluid started lumps ) that imposes an off or acrid taste to food.
hardwood charcoal ( the really light bags mentioned above ), is good too, and some pro grillers swear by it. however, it also doesnt get as hot as lump, and it doesnt last near as long.
grilling over charcoal, lump or hardwood, doesnt exactly add a "smoke flavor", once the coals are lit, there is no smoke, that's what the chimney starter is for, it's nothing but pure radiant heat.
a weber kettle is the bee's knees when it comes to backyard grilling. it's only drawback is the size. kinda hard to 5 or 6 slabs of ribs on it. dont even bother with the 18" one, the 22" is way better. there's also a bigger one, 26" i think, but for some reason weber doesnt have all the goodies for that size, e.g. the rotisserie contraption.
one also needs to learn how to use charcoal and how to load it for different types of cooking - direct, indirect, offset, etc. as well as how to set the vents to maintain temps for extended periods of time. you'd be surprised how long a single load of lumps last if vents are set correctly. for longer times where it needs to be filled, weber has grates hinged on either end so more lumps can be loaded w/o taking the whole shooting match off.
gas is great for ASAP grilling, but it has flaws too. again, doesnt get as hot ( if one needs a really hot fire ), the ignitors die, burners rust/wear out, and they all invariably have hot and cool spots on the grilling surface. but for things like a bunch of grilled corn in the husk, or some dogs, or while say ribs are going strong on the charcoal a gas grill could be used for the final stuff - like corn above, a nice saucepan full of baked beans, some grilled veggies....things that take a lot of room and dont need to grill/cook near as long.