In the beginning there was only wood and a rock fire pit but today we are faced with options only the space age could conjure up. Decisions, decisions and more decisions, how do you make a clear concise determination on what type of BBQ to acquire? Everyone’s needs and wants for their outdoor extravaganza is different and as such their tools must match the job at hand.
Lets examine both.
GAS: Definitely a faster and cleaner way to BBQ. Turn the knob, press the button and instant flame. Heat your lava rock for a few minutes throw on your prize cut of meat and within minutes a palatable delight is gracing your table. That is, if you don’t run out of gas. I found this to be my number one problem with the gas BBQ. The cure? Have a spare tank on hand.
It only takes a few precious seconds to change tanks and your back on course. Gas grills are particularly good if you BBQ often on the stern of your boat, as charcoal tends to absorb moisture and becomes very difficult to light. Another consideration for this is no ashes to dispose of.
Gas BBQ’s are fast, no muss no fuss cookers ideal for the spur of the moment chef. Over a period of time they are less expensive to operate too. The down side of the gas grill is the expense. Although they have come down in cost considerably since their inception, the multitude of styles often make it hard to purchase the more affordable ones.
Stainless steel exteriors, double and triple shelves, additional burners for your side dishes, condiment holders, and cabinets for your accessories are impossible options to pass on, so expect to make a considerable investment when purchasing. The more reserved BBQer is more likely to purchase gas over the charcoal unit.
CHARCOAL: Tribal desires drive men to the charcoal BBQ. The age old desires to build and tend a fire are urges just to strong to overcome for some men. The perfect arrangement and stacking of the briquettes becomes an ancient ritual to obtain perfection of temperature and evenness of cooking. The charcoal chef is born of redneck ancestors and beer guzzling traditions necessary to tend the wild eruptions of searing fat and dripping sauce.
If your choice is charcoal, prepare yourself for singed beards and blistered fingers for without these added wild antics, charcoal cooking is extremely uneventful until the prize is removed from the smoking embers. The costs for a charcoal unit range from relatively inexpensive to moderately priced depending on weather your setting it on stolen milk crates or you prefer it to be raised from the dirt on its own legs. Critics claim the taste of BBQ is no different whether you use gas or charcoal. I guess because of being from dubious ancestry, I much prefer the charcoal BBQ.
Regardless which barbecue you decide on, make sure the one you purchase has either stainless steel or porcelain cooking racks. More BBQ’s are tossed aside because of rusted and warped cooking racks than for any other reason. I also recommend one that has a vented cover. This serves several purposes. It protects the interior of your barbecue during inclement weather, it helps maintain temperatures under windy conditions, and it also helps in the flavor of your meats as the smoke is held internally while its closed.
Another important accessory to your BBQing experience is the utensils. Purchase only heavy duty stainless ones that wont bend or twist causing the loss of your dinner to the dirt. Although the 3-second rule always applies to BBQ, it’s really hard to brush the dirt out of the sauce.
Gas or charcoal, it matters little as long as the end result is a full belly and a smiling face. Neither unit is better than the other; they just fit different lifestyles and tastes, personalities and urges. Just gather together your family and friends and enjoy your companionship and creations.
The following video, I Love Lucy | Building a B.B.Q. (Part 2), courtesy of You Tube.