By now, I hope that it is no secret I love to grill. How to pick a grill though, can be a tough question. You need to know what each grill type needs for up keep and what you are trying to grill on a regular basis first. Then you can choose one that is right for you and your family. Maybe you choose a combination grill, one of each or just decide on a smoker. Either way, in my opinion you can not go wrong with outdoor cooking.
Gas grills can be great, and efficient, in most cases. They generally look much bigger and fancier than your regular old charcoal grill. With a gas grill you have to take into consideration many different factors to keep it grilling smoothly. The over all cost upfront is much more for a gas grill. Generally ranging from $160 – $2,000+ just to purchase the grill itself.
- Propane tank and cost to sustain – A one time purchase of the propane take is usually around $50-$60. Once you purchase this however, in most of the US you can do an exchange. This is where you take an empty tank and get a full one. Usually this is $20-$35.
- Cleaning the burners – Every so often is it highly recommended that you clean the burners. For this you have to take them apart. You will need to clean them inside with a small brush and be able to scrape debris off of them. When the ports are clogged on a gas grill the propane can not flow properly to allow the heating and cooking of your food.
- Gas grills can be great for fast, consistent heat to make sure your grilled meat and vegetables look like a professional did it. In fact that is one of the factors I love about a gas grill is that the heat is so consistent. You should never be worried about certain things. Did my meat cook enough? Do I have enough heat left to finish my vegetables?
Gas grills, over all can be a great thing. If you like to cook often for a large crowd I would suggest this type of grill. I highly suggest investing in a good quality grill cover. You will have to make sure that you cover your grill when not in use, to protect it from weather. The tubing for the gas lines can rot, or wear out. The burners can rust and get clogged. If you have a place to store a grill like this inside after use and cooled, that would be the ideal scenario.
To me it seems like maintenance on a schedule will be needed to keep a gas grill in top cooking position, no matter how you choose to store it.
People have been cooking on charcoal since well, 1897 Ellsworth B. A. Zwoyerwas the first to patent a design for charcoal briquettes. Apparently, Henry Ford stole his design for the briquette and is known for Kingsford brand now. The concept of charcoal grilling was tweaked in 1952 by a welder named George Stephen. He cut and shaped metal to make dome grills, using the top half as a lid to seal in the flavor and help distribute heat more evenly. He then added vents so that the fire wouldn’t smother. Charcoal grills are much more affordable with upfront cost, usually ranging from $30 – $1,000.
- Charcoal Cost – This depends on how much you grill. I like to buy the double pack of 18lbs from Walmart. I can find them for around $8-$9/bag. I have a family of 6 so we definitely go through it.
- Lighter Fluid Cost – A bottle of lighter fluid is usually $3 or less about anywhere. You can make that work for quite a bit in my experience.
- Depending on how much do or do not grill. The cost of charcoal stay considerably lower than gas, or can definitely go over the cost of a gas grill.
- Charcoal can add flavor to your food that a gas grill generally can not do.
Unlike the gas grill, the charcoal grill really doesn’t have much maintenance. You need to empty your ash bucket to make sure you can get sufficient air flow to your fire, and scrape the grates after heat has gotten to them. Just simple grill brush will do, and you are cooking on an already seasoned grate. Although, I do still highly recommend protecting your grill from the outdoor elements.
Do You Have To Pick One?
Absolutely not! How about these days people are super creative and have come up with a gas grill on one side and a charcoal side on the other. Like how awesome is that? Also, they have gas grills with a hot plate burner on the side. You can make your side dish right beside your main dish at the same place outside. Some people actually purchase two different grills, just to get the flavor, or quickness they desire.
Making Sure The Decision Is Right
I am all about making sure that what I choose to purchase is the right thing for my family, at that time. How to pick a grill, has been no different of a decision. We can move frequently at times and having 4 children. I have to say I would choose the $40 charcoal grill any day over gas, for right now. I can make the most out of the charcoal fire before it burns outs, and I never have to remember to turn it off. I also do not have to take it apart to clean it.
Charcoal grill all the way for me, what is your go to grill?