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Old 05-29-2006, 11:45 AM   #1
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Steak on the grill: gas vs. charcoal

We use our gas grill a lot, because of the convenience, and it's great for many things. In fact, we haven't used the Weber since last summer.
But we had a couple of ribeyes to cook last night, so Kim got the Weber cleaned up and used that. He threw a few hickory chips on the fire for flavor, and cooked the steaks Philadelphia Style, browned and crispy on the outside, warm but still red on the inside. They were melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

When it comes to steak, there just is no comparison...charcoal wins hands down.

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Old 05-29-2006, 01:01 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance
When it comes to steak, there just is no comparison...charcoal wins hands down.
Hear! Hear!
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Old 05-29-2006, 02:52 PM   #3
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From one who's done both, I'll take the simplicity and ease of cooking that I get from my Weber gas grill. I usually season my steaks with some sort of dry rub and olive oil, but if I want to, it's still easy to get the hickory smokiness with a foil pan of soaked chips that I put in while the grill is preheating to get them smoking good before I add the steaks. And the grilling is as good as any charcoal grill I've used. To each his own...
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Old 05-29-2006, 09:55 PM   #4
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I use a gas grill as well and I'm quite happy with the results. If you can get the grill hot enough, the steaks will taste good.

The fat and juices dripping off the meat onto the coals or flavor bars vaporize into smoke. That's where the taste of grilling comes from (unless you're smoking with wood chips).
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Old 05-30-2006, 12:32 AM   #5
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andy, that is the story that propane grillers stick to, but ya gotta admit there's nothing like real charcoal smoke for flavor. propane grills are quick and convenient, but you give up real smoke for that convenience (unless you get good at adding wood chips to your gas grill, and then it's not as easy and clean as advertised).

i could not agree more that charcoal, preferrably lump hardwood charcoal is the way to go.

since i grill often, i buy the double 20 lb. bags of kingsford charcoal at costco for everyday use, and ignite it in a chimney starter with newspaper. occasionally, i'll add some hickory ships for extra smoke.

for special occasions, i use only lump. it burns hotter and the cheaper, less dense ones burn faster than briquette charcoal, so you have to adjust accordingly. just picked up a bag of cowboy brand lump charcoal, 8 lbs. for $6. that's one of the cheaper ones, so we'll see how it goes.
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Old 05-30-2006, 08:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by buckytom
andy, that is the story that propane grillers stick to, but ya gotta admit there's nothing like real charcoal smoke for flavor. propane grills are quick and convenient, but you give up real smoke for that convenience...
BT:

Does your Kingsford charcoal smoke? I always had to add wood chips to the charcoal to get smoke because the charcoal itself burned clean.
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Old 05-30-2006, 09:09 AM   #7
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I've never really cared for gas grilling, except in a restaurant. At home, I use a mix of Kingsford w/ mesquite briquettes mixed with Lump Hardwood.
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Old 05-30-2006, 09:36 AM   #8
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For steaks? I'm a gas convert. All that hubbub of the steak tasting so much better over charcoal kinds rings hollow to me. A steak isn't over the heat long enough to really absorb too much flavor from briquettes or even wood chips (though I do have a smoker tray and will routinely pop in some chips when I make a steak). I just don't buy there being any real difference in that regard. As someone said, the flavor comes from the fat. Which is why I oftentimes put a couple slices of bacon/some bacon fat over the heat tiles prior to putting a steak onif I know I'm gonna be washing em later anyways

As for things that take a long while to cook like a good brisket, a boston butt, ribs, etc.? I absolutely smoke them in a charcoal setup. And hot dogs for some reason don't come out quite right on a gas grill, but other than that? I'm firing up the NG.
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Old 05-30-2006, 12:51 PM   #9
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I use both, I was talked into buying a gas grill by my wife, they are ok for hot dogs, brats, ham steaks, but when it comes time for beef steaks, roasts, turkey, its the old Weber that takes the cake every time Elf
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Old 05-31-2006, 12:03 AM   #10
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hmmm, good question andy. i'm guessing it produces some smoke because it definitely adds an extra flavor to food cooked above it. propane is close, but just lacks a "je nais se quoi". besides, the term charcoal refers to the ford invention of mostly charred scrap wood and coal, so i'd think it'd produce smoke. i was reminded of this tonight as i left my house for work, i could smell that incredibly delicous smell of a real charcoal and beef fat coming from a neighbor's yard. i happen to know that he's a dedicated kingsford briquette user.there's something missing from the smell of a gas grill.
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