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Choosing the Right Grill for your Recipes: Charcoal vs Gas vs Electric Grills

Updated on June 11, 2010

There are many different grilling techniques that you can use for cooking meats, vegetables and even fruit. However, they start with getting the right grill. If you don't own a grill yet (or you're in the market for a new one) then you will want to make sure that you get the grill that is going to offer you the best cooking options for the types of recipes that you generally make on the grill. You will choose between charcoal, gas and electric grills. Let's look at their major differences:

  • Charcoal grills.¬†Charcoal grills are the types of grills that you get that require you to heat up charcoal for cooking. There are many reasons that people have stopped using charcoal grills in favor of gas grills and electric grills. The main reason is that charcoal grills aren't very convenient. They are messy. They require that you buy charcoal and that you properly dispose of it, frequently cleaning the grill to get rid of the mess. However, many people say that the smoky taste of a charcoal grill can't be beat and is worth its hassle. (On the other hand, many other people will dispute this with the argument that you can't tell the difference between the taste of a steak cooked on a gas grill and one cooked on a charcoal grill). This is especially true for people who are cooking red meats. If you're mostly cooking fruits or fish then you may not care for the taste of a charcoal grill. Plus these foods tend to be messiest on the grill and already require extra cleaning so the added cleaning of the charcoals may be too much. If you're cooking red meats and don't mind a little bit of mess then a charcoal grill may be the right choice for you. Charcoal grills are also great for people who rely on the look of the coals to figure out the right cooking temperature for their meats rather than using a thermometer.
  • Gas grills. Gas grills aren't as messy as charcoal grills because they use propane or natural gas instead of coals to cook. They still use an open flame so you still get a smoky taste although some argue that the taste isn't as strong or as good as you get with a charcoal grill. Gas grills are convenient in the sense that you just turn them on and they're more or less ready to go (with some basic preheating) whereas you have to sit around and wait for the coals of a charcoal grill to get hot. People who grill a variety of different types of meat and veggies often find that the gas grill is convenient choice for them.
  • Electric grills.¬†One of the main reasons that people have taken an interest in electric grills in recent years is because they are the most eco-friendly grills. Charcoal grills are polluting. And gas grills aren't as bad but they do use propane gas whereas electric grills just use electricity. People who choose vegetarian diets in part because of the fact that they are eco-friendly diets may want to grill their fruits and vegetables over an electric grill for the same reason. One major drawback to electric grills when compared to gas grills and charcoal grills is that you're cooking on an electric burner and not an open flame. Many people feel like this detracts significantly from the entire purpose of grilling, limiting the grilled taste as well as the experience of working over an open flame. If you like that whole experience of pushing coals around on the grill then you're definitely going to prefer a charcoal grill to an electric grill for cooking.
So which grill is the right grill for you? If you're a tried-and-true meat-on-the-grill kind of person then you'll most likely want a charcoal grill or at least a gas grill. If you're a vegetarian or the occasional lean-meat eater then an electric grill is a top choice but a gas grill is also an option. The gas grill seems to be the happy medium.

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  • P.M. pen profile image

    P.M. pen 7 years ago

    Congratulations! Once again, you have given us a very informative informative hub to glean from here.

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    Vernon Bradley 7 years ago from Yucaipa, California

    Kathryn, you provide us with such "simple" and useful information in our hubs.

    The difficlty with charcoal for me is lighting the charcoal without using lighter fluid. I hate the taste of lighter fluid in a otherwise delicious steak. I know there are several methods for doing it, but sometimes, I'm not the person barbecuing, so I get to taste someone else's lighter fluid! I really enjoy cooking on a gas grill, altho the only time is when I'm staying in a vacation rental that has one. Will have to invest one of these days.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 7 years ago from Northern, California

    Kat~ congrats! You rock and I am happy to follow.

  • Purple Perl profile image

    Purple Perl 7 years ago from Bangalore,India

    Congrats again,Kathryn! I love your hubs.

  • charanjeet kaur profile image

    charanjeet kaur 7 years ago from Delhi

    Kathryn way to go girl, second time you are lucky. Conrats!!!

  • Kathryn Vercillo profile image
    Author

    Kathryn Vercillo 7 years ago from San Francisco

    Thanks all!

  • cashmere profile image

    cashmere 7 years ago from India

    Congratulations Kathryn

  • barryrutherford profile image

    Barry Rutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia

    Well done Kathryn youve got talent !

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 7 years ago

    Congratulations again! Great hub.

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    Twenty One Days 7 years ago

    Kate, good job. Two and two! -James.