If you’re looking into a new propane gas or charcoal grill and want to know what each type of grill offers, here are the main pros and cons of charcoal and propane gas grilling to help you make an educated decision on which is best for you and your family.
Benefits of Gas Grills
- Price – You’ll get a minimum of 7 times more grilling with propane than with charcoal.
- Health & Environment – Propane won’t produce any fumes and is environmentally friendly. Propane emits very low levels of carbon dioxide and does not emit wastes like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides or methane. Consuming gas grilled food is much less carcinogenic than char-grilled.
- Cooking Reliability – Propane grills provide for better temperature control and quicker, more even cooking.
- Convenience & Flexibility – A simple press of the ignition button starts up your grill. A quick preheat will get you ready in no time. Propane’s flexibility gets you from low heat for bone-in meats to searing for seafood and steaks.
- Cleaning – No wood chips, soot or ash to contend with. Just scrub and clean as per manufacturer instructions.
- Natural Flavors – Not into overpowering, smoky flavors? Grilling with propane lets you enjoy the natural flavors of food.
If you DO have a palate for smoky flavors, simply add your favorite smoky seasonings to the mix; quite handy when cooking for guests with varied taste preferences.
Cons of Gas Grills
- Price – The actual grill will be more expensive than that of a charcoal grill.
- Assembly – Gas grills are a little more complex to assemble due to things like propane tank hook ups and control knobs.
Benefits of Charcoal Grills
- Price – Charcoal grills are cheaper than gas grills.
- Assembly – Charcoal grills have less parts so they’re easier to assemble.
- Smoked Taste – High heat and food drippings which fall over hot coals produce that smoke flavor found on when cooking over a charcoal fire.
Cons of Charcoal Grills
- Price – Though the grill may be cheaper, charcoal itself is much more expensive than propane. You’ll be able to grill around three times per 20-pound bag of charcoal. A 20-pound propane tank will get you at least 7 times more grilling sessions.
- Storage – Especially if you plan on frequent grilling, you’ll need to purchase and store many more bags of charcoal. Propane tanks are easy to stack, store and lift – no messy, awkward bags to contend with.
- Cleaning – Charcoal grills produce soot and ash which need to be emptied before starting to scrub and clean.
- Cooking Reliability – Charcoal grills take around three times as much to heat up as propane grills. Also, cooking time can be much more variable, and it’s harder to control the temperature so you don’t get the precision found in propane gas grills.
- Health & Environment – Cooking with charcoal itself is unhealthy, spilling carbon emissions into the air. And cooking over very high temperatures produces that char-grill flavor but also, more carcinogens into your food.