To grill or not to grill? This has never been the question. Ever.
But, since New York City’s World Fair of 1939 and the technological advent of outdoor cooking fueled by combustible gases, the debate has raged hotter than TRU-Infrared – Charcoal or Gas? Gas or Charcoal?
This argument has waged for Decades, friendships sacrificed, families divided, and blood spilled. Well.. actually, I don’t know so much about the blood part, or the family part. But, I certainly can imagine great life-long friends going their separate ways over the degree of carbonization upon a finely-seared cut of porterhouse and the smoky essence subsequently imparted upon said hunk of cattle protein.
So, why such division amongst the masses? Grilling is grilling, right?
Well. No quite. The objective (but, mostly subjective) arguments for coal and gas-fueled grilling each are supported by a wide array of legitimate pros and not-so-legitimate cons, and vice versa. Clear as mud?
To help you understand… read forth.
The cavemen of charcoal argue their case primarily upon three points:
1. Charcoal burns hotter than gas, facilitating the ability to encrust primal cuts of beef in steakhouse fashion, caramelizing mouthwatering barbeque pork ribs, and perfectly carbonizing medium-rare racks of lamb. Objectively, this makes sense. Most gas-fueled grills range in grate temperature between 400-600F, with higher-end models nearing 700F. Charcoal on the other hand can deliver temperatures upwards of 800-900F. But, if looking for true steakhouse quality crusts, it’s important to know that the commercial kitchen 2-way broilers often elevate up to 1,200F! 200% hotter than traditional consumer gas grills and 130% hotter than their charcoal counterpart.
2. Flavor. Although, scientific research definitely disproves the flavor-theory – lump charcoal, prior to becoming fully-lit and attaining an ashy appearance, in the absence of lighter fluids (or alternate starter chemicals), within a well-calibrated and airflow-balanced grill, does impart a light, yet noticeable and attractive smoky essence. That said, in large part, the flavor claimed to be imparted by the charcoal is actually correlated to animal fats combusting over white-hot coals, vaporizing, and subsequently condensing upon the food product atop the grill grates.
3. This bullet-point is a confounding mixed bag of subjective arguments all relatively similar in nature. They sound something like, “It’s about the art of the process.” Or, “I shall do as my forefathers and so shall my offspring do as I’ve done.” But, in my semi-unqualified, non-objective opinion, this just comes a genetic glitch passed down in our chromosomes over millions of years – boys will be boys, enjoy playing with fire, and above all, love looking like they know what they’re doing – particularly under the hood of their trucks, in front of the gym’s dumbbell rack, and over top a sizzling, smoke-billowing grill loaded with copious amounts of barbequed fare.
On the other hand, gas-grilling aficionados counter with 3 simple arguments:
1. Convenience and cleanliness. Gas grilling goes something like this… Electronically ignite your grill + Wait 5-10 minutes + Grill food + Eat it = Done and done. Yes, that’s it. Clean up goes something like this… Turn off the grill + Quickly brush the grill grates + Close the lid = Done and done. Yes, that’s it. Gas grilling is just simple, convenient and quick to clean up. Not horrible selling points.
2. Temperature control. Whether it be direct or indirect grilling, the art of the outdoor cooking comes down to a combination of heat application, airflow and time. By simply manipulating the burner dials, opening-closing the grill lid (or air vents), and watching a clock, you can become the next Bobby Flay.
3. Safety. Because most gas grills cover the direct flame with metal tents, lava rocks, ceramics, and/or proprietary radiant plates, the risk of grease-induced flare-ups are virtually eliminated. But, any time gas and fire are combined, the opportunity for danger is present. Whether using gas or charcoal – always express caution.
That all said, 77 years later a proverbial peace treaty has been negotiated. The snobbiest of purists, pitmaster perfectionists, creme de la creme of campfire cooks, urban-dwelling newfangled grilling yuppies, suburban backyard barbeque heroes, and self-proclaimed Gods of the Grill Grate – Have united. One nation, divided no longer – galvanized with innovation of the charcoal and gas grill combo. The best of both worlds!
Introducing, Char-Broil’s 3-Burner Hybrid Gas2Coal Stainless-Steel Grill. An efficiently-constructed, clean and convenient outdoor appliance which can be simply employed for gas or charcoal grilling. With hassle-free electronic ignition and 40,000 BTUs deliverable to 420sq inches of cooking space, this grill provides all the value of a gas, yet allows charcoal purists to savor the smoky flavor imparted upon their fare.
“With Gas2Coal, grillers can finally have it all – the best gas and charcoal cooking offer in one convenient, easy-to-use grill. Gas2Coal lets you alternate seamlessly between grilling methods, making it easier than ever for you to become a cookout hero this summer.” -Brendan Anderson, VP of Marketing and Product Management at Char-Broil
Whether you’re the next Iron Chef or this is your first weekend grilling, the best part, Gas2Coal is easy as 1-2-3-4-5:
1. Remove the grill grates, place the charcoal tray in the firebox and load with charcoal.
2. Ignite the gas burners to light the coals, then wait patiently until the coals are white and ashy.
3. Turn off the gas burners and confidently apply prepared meats to the grill grates.
4. Stand near the grill to further cultivate the perception of your expertise.
5. Remove food from grill and serve to a crowd of overly-impressed onlookers. Take a picture of said grub and share to social media. Then, devour.
I think my case is clear – Earth is just a better place in 2016 with the introduction of Gas2Coal. Divisive feuds are settled, families are bonding, friends break bread (not bones), and all is finally well in the world of outdoor cooking. Cheers! Stay hungry. And grill onward!