Charcoal Vs Gas Grill: Cost, Safety, And Taste Explained

gas vs charcoal grill

Are you looking for a grill but are not sure which type to choose? With so many different kinds of grills out there I can’t really blame you. Both charcoal and gas grills are awesome in their own respective ways. To learn more about charcoal vs gas grill differences just read more.

I’ve made this thorough guide to not only explain the pros and cons of these two grill types but also make your decision about purchasing the right type of grill for you much easier. Some of us grillers love starting a fire from scratch and watching for hours our steaks and burgers slowly becoming succulent while others just want their burger done fast and without any mess.

You’ll soon find out which type of griller are you and what type of grill suits you the most.

Cooking is a great bonding activity for every person. Grilling, on the other hand, is the best way of cooking as this technique cooks the food in a much more flavorful way. It’s also a great excuse to get out of the house.

Your grilling depends on the type of grill you use. Grills vary from pellet, electric, and even hardwood cooking grills. Did you know that among all grill kinds, charcoal and gas grills are the most widely used? They are also more valuable and efficient than other types of grills.

Flavor and convenience usually go hand in hand. If you aim at the most convenient grill then the flavor should be least of your concern. For instance, if you choose an electric grill for convenience matters, then it won’t guarantee the best grilling experience since cooking relies on taste.

On the other hand, charcoal grills give the best smoky flavored food but it is difficult to work with. Hence my focus will be on gas and charcoal grilling.

Let’s see the differences between charcoal and gas grills so you will be able to decide which one to buy.

Before We Get Started…

Read on and also watch this short video, so you will know all the differences between these two grills which will help in choosing the right one for you.

3 Grilling Methods

Do you know the three cooking types involving grills? Let me break them down for you.

1. Indirect Heat Convection Roasting

This applies to foods like a whole chicken. In this method, the heating source is off and food cooks with the warm air circulating within the closed lid.

2. Indirect Heat Roasting With The Lid Closed

This cooking method involves the warm convection airflow with charcoal smoke for that charcoal taste.

3. High Radiation Cooking

This is a technique where you place the food (like steaks) directly above the heat source. For this, there is no lid covering the food.

What Is The Difference In Taste?

Grilling involves searing. Searing is the process of browsing surfaces of the meat. If done correctly, the caramelization and Maillard reaction creates rich, sweet, and savory compounds on the surface.

grilling steaks

Did you know that gas grills provide a dark all over sear which can only be achieved by high heat? Restaurant gas boilers typically heat to 80 F to 1200 F, whereas the backyard grills can deliver up to 500 F.

Charcoal grills can deliver up to 900 F on the grilling surface at once, unlike gas grills that have a narrow sear burner and can only sear one or two steaks at a time. This is convenient for a loner or a couple but not for a large number of people e.g. wedding and graduation parties.

Charcoal provides smoke. Smoke is a sapid by-product of combustion. The smoke from charcoal and burning gases are different. Charcoal makes more smoke than gas, with a broader range of taste, since it burns complex organic molecules among them lignin and cellulose. Gas on the other hand simply is a molecule and when fully combusted, produces no flavor.

Charcoal vs Gas Grill

Why use Gas Grills?

According to statistics, about 2/3 of US grillers use gas grills.

grilling on patio

These are the 3 main benefits of this type of grill:

Provides Control And Convenience

Gas grills offer a wide range of control and they are easy to start. It may only take 8 to 15 minutes before you start cooking. They hold a steady temperature and also you can control it with ease and can be configured for multi-zone and indirect cooking.

Sufficient For Temperature Control

These grills provide a wide range of temperatures. A 3 grill burner uses a hot zone for meat, a moderate zone for vegetables, and a low zone for finished goods. The heating element above the burner prevents flare-ups.

Easy To Clean

Cleaning is tiresome for most people. For a gas grill, it is easy since there is no ash and drips which usually comes from the fats and proteins burnt due to vaporized water.

Environmental Impact

Propane is a petrochemical by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining. This is harmful to the environment because it affects the Ozone layer. Propane also negatively affects the respiratory system.


Even though the gas grill is convenient, it isn’t safer since it uses propane which is highly flammable and in case of leakage explosive.

Why Use Charcoal Grills?

charcoal grilling

A charcoal grill is perfect for tasteful and smokey-flavored food. Charcoal grillers love the smoky flavor and this is why they prefer this type of grilling. Let’s take a look at these 4 benefits:

Minimizes Cost And Convenience

Charcoal grills are way cheaper compared to any other type of grills. These grills are good for low and medium-income earners since they serve the same purpose as the gas grill. The only difference is its purchase cost and flavor. Also, they are very convenient for big events.

Temperature And Heating

These grills provide high heat and this helps cooking steaks. The temperature is convenient for any kind of roasting or searing.

Produces A Unique Flavor

Charcoal is the only source of smoke rich in lignin and cellulose components. These components help to provide the dark color and flavor in steaks hence making these grills unique.

Heat Control System

It is nearly difficult to control the heat within and on top of the grill since charcoal heat varies due to difficult components inside of the charcoal. If you don’t watch your food, it can be burnt easily.

Health Risks

Charcoal is dirty to handle. Lighting up also takes some time. This may produce flare-ups which when bonded with the food are risky for your health.

Also if the charcoal in the grill burns out, you need to add more and by doing so if the charcoal doesn’t get enough oxygen may deposit soot on your food.

This soot in the human body may block the digestion system. Ouch!

Gas Vs Charcoal Grill Cookoff

Check out this video to see what’s it like to cook on both gas and charcoal grill.

Now You Know The Differences

If the taste is important to you, go for the charcoal grill but if you are strapped for time, you should go for a gas grill.

Now that you know charcoal vs gas grill pros and cons, it is likely for you to decide to purchase both types of grills.

You can use charcoal in the backyard and the gas grill inside the kitchen. Both ways, you should check on reviews for each and then you make your decision on which to buy before purchasing any grill.

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charcoal vs gas grill

What is your favorite type of grill and why?

About Mario 130 Articles
I am the owner of the Kitchen Guru Ideas. I've set up this site so I can share my kitchen tips and hacks that have been passed on to me from my parents and grandparents and show you how a wonderful experience cooking is and not just a way to save money. Even in this hectic lifestyle, there is time to prepare and most important enjoy a home-cooked meal.

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