Saucy Spatula Cooking Tips & Techniques,Grilling & BBQ Gas or Charcoal: What’s the Better Grill?

Gas or Charcoal: What’s the Better Grill?

Gas or Charcoal: What’s the Better Grill? post thumbnail image

Which grill should you buy? If you’re thinking about the debate between gas and charcoal, it’s a debate that’s been going on for years.

Some people swear by charcoal and love the taste and smell of burning briquettes, but others will tell you they can achieve the same results from a gas grill. Instead of pushing one over the other, maybe we should give you the pros and cons of each and let you figure out which type of grill is right for your backyard barbecue experiences.

What are the pros and cons of gas grills?

There have to be several reasons why gas grills are much more common today than charcoal grills. With a gas grill, you’ve got propane burning to provide the heat for your grilling experience.


  • Cleaner – Gas grills are cleaner to handle than the alternative. You won’t have to worry about the added mess of burning charcoal or the ashes that come with this burn. This cleaner burning choice keeps your backyard area neat and organized.
  • Warm up quickly – When you cook with gas, it’s easy to reach the desirable temperature quickly and keep a consistent temp while cooking.
  • Fewer flare-ups – It’s much easier to maintain the right cooking temperature without dealing with flare-ups on your grill. You won’t have to watch your gas grill nearly as closely as you would a charcoal grill.
  • Zoned cooking – With multiple burners, you can create hotter areas to cook faster on one side of the grill while the other side is much cooler to help cook your food a little slower.

Bottom Line: Gas grills are faster and easier to cool with.


  • Limited temperature range – If you truly want to sear meat, you need to avoid gas grills. These grills have limited temperatures and aren’t as good at searing meats as charcoal grills.
  • Not good for smoking meat – Gas grills aren’t considered the right choice when you want to smoke meat and create the flavors associated with this slow cooking process.

Bottom Line: Gas grills can’t reach the same temperature as charcoal grills and aren’t ideal for smoking meat.

What are the pros and cons of charcoal grills?

Some people swear by charcoal grills. This isn’t only a small percentage of those who grill meat professionally. Most restaurants and grilling competitions feature meat that’s been prepared over wood or charcoal fires, not gas.


  • Smoking meat – If you love the taste of smoked meat and want the slow-cooking flavors that take time to achieve, you’ll want to use a charcoal grill.
  • Guaiacol – The only way to get the chemical Guaiacol in your meats is to use charcoal or wood. This chemical gives meat a smoky, bacon-like flavor, and you can’t get it using a gas grill.
  • Hotter cooking temps – Some recipes require extra heat to cook the food properly, which means you want to stay away from a gas grill and choose a charcoal grill instead. Charcoal grills can reach temperatures of nearly 200 degrees more than gas, on average.

Bottom Line: Charcoal grills are great for smoking meat, gets hotter, and offers that smoky flavor and aroma you can’t get with a gas grill.


  • Messy – Charcoal can be a mess to clean up after you’re done grilling. The charcoal briquettes add another level of mess to the mix, making your grilling cleanup a hassle.
  • Slow heating – Charcoal takes much longer to reach the desired temperature than gas, which means you have to wait a long time to start grilling your food.
  • Difficult temperature control – It’s much harder to reach the right temperature and control that temperature when cooking on charcoal unless you want that temp to be blistering hot.
  • More flare-ups – Charcoal is much more prone to flare-ups than using gas, which means charred food that can be ruined.
  • Lack of zoned cooking – You can create two cooking zones with charcoal, but it’s much harder to create and manage than when cooking on a gas grill.

Bottom Line: Charcoal grills require a lot more experience and expertise to cook food properly.

What type of grill should you buy?

If you love to grill food and are experienced at using charcoal, you might enjoy the benefits of charcoal and know how to avoid most of the items on the list of cons. On the other hand, if grilling is an occasional activity that you don’t perform regularly, you’ll probably want to choose a gas grill and avoid a charcoal grill.

What type of grill will you put in your backyard?

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