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Old 06-30-2012, 07:42 PM   #1
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Gas or charcoal?

I'm thinking of buy a grill. At the moment I use a hibachi. I've never used a gas grill, but I have never been impressed with the food other people have made on gas grills. But, I have been reading posts here and am getting the impression that a gas grill might not be such a bad thing.

What do you guys like and why?

Could I buy a gas grill and on occasion stick the hibachi on the grate and use the gas grill's cover to have a nice enclosed space for cooking on charcoal?

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Old 06-30-2012, 07:57 PM   #2
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I'm thinking of buy a grill. At the moment I use a hibachi. I've never used a gas grill, but I have never been impressed with the food other people have made on gas grills. But, I have been reading posts here and am getting the impression that a gas grill might not be such a bad thing.

What do you guys like and why?

Could I buy a gas grill and on occasion stick the hibachi on the grate and use the gas grill's cover to have a nice enclosed space for cooking on charcoal?
I agree that the flavor of the food I've had from gas grills does not compare favorably to that from wood or charcoal grills. I have both a large Weber and a Green Egg charcoal grill. They may not be as convenient as gas grills but I prefer the variety of flavors that I can achieve with them. If I had the space, I'd be interested in acquiring the type of grill that Uncle Bob uses.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:10 PM   #3
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I have both gas and charcoal grills. During the busy workweek it's really nice to have a gas grill. Instant on, doesn't heat up the kitchen...quick.

The purist in me wants to cook over charcoal when time permits. Much better flavor. Just takes a little more time. A charcoal chimney starter is highly recommended for starting your coals without petroleum based starters.

I don't know if you have access to a Sams Wholesale club but here is a happy medium. This is a hybrid grill for $260. Propane on one side charcoal on the other. If I was in the market I would look closely at this one.

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Old 06-30-2012, 08:23 PM   #4
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And charcoal can be made to produce a significantly hotter fire, especially using lump charcoal, as we should. It may be impossible to do a thin steak properly over gas, just as it is on a residential range.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:33 PM   #5
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I was helping Mom through Sam's (don't have a membership myself) and noticed a hybrid that had three grills, gas, charcoal, and this new stuff I don't even understand. Infrared or something like that. It seemed reasonably priced to me (seems like below, $260 or so). In a previous life I'd have loved it; in Hawaii or Florida when an entire outdoor kitchen would have been lovely and at that price would have been a bargain. Nowadays, I'm lucky to get my husband to grill out a couple times a month through good weather. I'm the one with a passion for food cooked over coals, he can take it or leave it. I say I'll cook it myself (I do 98% of the cooking, and certainly, especially in Hawaii, have cooked out many, many times and am a much more experienced camper than he). But if I do it myself, I think he feels guilty.

The only real advantage I can see to gas outside over electric or gas in your kitchen is getting the heat out, plus I do not have a vent in my kitchen (old house). But the other advantage, and I'm being sexist here, is some men won't cook in the kitchen, but will outside. So some women might go through any expense to get a little help out there!

I do so love food cooked over coal or wood, though, and would eat it most days given the choice. In Hawaii, when I was out of work and hubby worked 50+ work weeks, I often fired up either our little hibachi or our mini-weber and I miss that flavor.

I live in an area that can have pretty harsh winters, and we've already gone through a Weber and another brand, I can't imagine a gas or electric living through a winter here. I, too, am in the market, and barring anything else, am planning on getting another Weber (we've owned 4 or 5).
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:46 PM   #6
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Claire, that sounds like the one Forty posted about. No Sam's Club in Canada. I did see a hybrid online at Canadian Tire. But, as one reviewer pointed out, if one half breaks, you are stuck with a five foot long, single purpose grill. And my yard is tiny: 14'x16'.

Decisions, decisions. I do believe Stirling would be more willing to use a gas grill. He has no experience with charcoal and is reluctant to try it. I have no experience with a gas grill and am reluctant to try because, well, because it isn't charcoal.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:01 PM   #7
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I don't want to start a whole different discussion here but, some would argue that the heat source, clean burning charcoal or gas isn't what imparts flavor to grilled foods. Rather, it's the fat dripping down onto the super hot coals or heat source and vaporizing so it can, in the form of fat smoke, flavor the food on its way out of the grill.

Just sayin'.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:02 PM   #8
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Oak bark on a bed of coals.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:07 PM   #9
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I don't want to start a whole different discussion here but, some would argue that the heat source, clean burning charcoal or gas isn't what imparts flavor to grilled foods. Rather, it's the fat dripping down onto the super hot coals or heat source and vaporizing so it can, in the form of fat smoke, flavor the food on its way out of the grill.

Just sayin'.
Wasn't that the idea with lava stones on a gas grill?
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:34 PM   #10
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Wasn't that the idea with lava stones on a gas grill?
Yes, exactly.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:40 PM   #11
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Yes, exactly.
Do the lava stones work? Do they still have those?
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:45 PM   #12
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Do the lava stones work? Do they still have those?
I haven't seen those in years. I think these days most grills have a piece of metal just over the burner shaped like "^". Supposed to prevent flare-up.

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Old 06-30-2012, 09:46 PM   #13
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I have a classic charcoal Weber, and I am able to set my sweet little CI hibachi on top of it, then cover the whole thing with the Weber cover. I use the hardwood chunks, as well as the chimney starter.

The gas grill we had years ago was too much maintainance.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:52 PM   #14
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I have a classic charcoal Weber, and I am able to set my sweet little CI hibachi on top of it, then cover the whole thing with the Weber cover. Love the hardwood chunks, as well as the chimney starter.
Cool. Why do you do that if your Weber uses charcoal? I have heard good things about the chimney starters. I'll have to get one.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:59 PM   #15
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Cool. Why do you do that if your Weber uses charcoal? I have heard good things about the chimney starters. I'll have to get one.
I store the hibachi on top of the Weber, it fits under it's hood. That way, I can lift it off and start charcoal in either one. They're two separate grills. The hibachi is nice for smaller meals.

Chimneys are the way to go! No smelly lighter fluid, just 3 sheets of newspaper!
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:24 PM   #16
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I store the hibachi on top of the Weber, it fits under it's hood. That way, I can lift it off and start charcoal in either one. They're two separate grills. The hibachi is nice for smaller meals.

Chimneys are the way to go! No smelly lighter fluid, just 3 sheets of newspaper!
I don't use lighter fluid. I have these funky starters made of sawdust, sap, and wax.
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:37 PM   #17
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I have both gas and charcoal grills. During the busy workweek it's really nice to have a gas grill. Instant on, doesn't heat up the kitchen...quick.
Same here.
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:46 PM   #18
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I have both gas and charcoal grills. During the busy workweek it's really nice to have a gas grill. Instant on, doesn't heat up the kitchen...quick. ...
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Same here.
You know, you guys aren't making this any easier.
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:57 PM   #19
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I have both and depending on time and what I am cooking I decide what to use. I can't see using charcoal for dogs and burgers or charring some chilis. On the other hand if have a really nice cut of meat or seafood I want the benefit of the charcoal/smoke flavor. Chicken is always on charcoal unless it is just skinless/boneless breasts but I usually do those on the foreman anyway. I guess things that cook quickly go on the gas and things that need a little love go on charcoal. I don't have wood yet!
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:13 PM   #20
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I have both and depending on time and what I am cooking I decide what to use. I can't see using charcoal for dogs and burgers or charring some chilis. On the other hand if have a really nice cut of meat or seafood I want the benefit of the charcoal/smoke flavor. Chicken is always on charcoal unless it is just skinless/boneless breasts but I usually do those on the foreman anyway. I guess things that cook quickly go on the gas and things that need a little love go on charcoal. I don't have wood yet!
Recommendation for the boneless/skinless breasts? When you're finished with whatever you're cooking on coals, take the breasts, season, and put them on the coals, close the lid. When you're through eating whatever you originally cooked, take a look, a temp if you're unsure. Wrap in foil and let sit to complete cooking. Then freeze them if there are too many, refridgerate otherwise. Slice, dice and you have great food for another meal -- or in our case, two or more. Cold meals, warm meals, pasta dishes, stir fries.
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