The temp in our cook trails off a bit there because we’d expended a lot of fuel with the lid off. Charcoal can get much hotter than a gas grill and you want that high heat to get your steaks and burgers charred and crispy on the outside with the pink color and juiciness you love on the inside. Gas vs. Charcoal Grill: Things You Need to Know When Buying a Grill. Rather than guessing which to use at your next cookout, we’ve rounded up the pros and cons of charcoal and gas grills so you can make a well-informed decision for what will be the tastiest choice of the summer. This means you can cook food for longer at lower temperatures, or more food at higher heat, all without adding more fuel. Your mileage may vary significantly depending on make and model and how you have it set up. The real reason to buy a charcoal grill is that charcoal can get hotter than standard gas grills, and heat is what you need to get steaks and lamb crisp on the outside and red or pink on the inside. July is National Grilling Month, and that’s a special time for ThermoWorks because we love grilling! Both smokers and grills use a different cooking temperature to cook food. Takes longer than gas grill. Charcoal vs. gas grill: which is hotter? The transitions on our Pro-Series® probes are rated to 644°F (340°C), and, though the thermal imaging we used only goes up to 626°F (330°C), the heat sources we encountered were well hotter than that. “With charcoal, I have zero temperature control and when the flames get too hot or too high, it literally burns all the food. Charcoal Pros Typically, charcoal grills reach a higher temperature than gas grills. We also ran it at searing temp with the lid open to see if what the temperatures would be like at the surface and 2″ above it. One of the reasons that gas grills are so fast, though, is because they’re huge. Sadly, that camera only has a heat range up to 626°F (330°C), so we couldn’t really show the full range of temperatures in many of the grills. Charcoal vs. Gas grills. Gas vs. Charcoal. A bag of charcoal can easily be chucked into the car and taken to the park or beach. Two-stage cooking using the cool side will only work with the lid closed, as the 110°F (49°C) that you can get with the lid open is not sufficient to cook anything at all. Charcoal grills are also less expensive than gas grills, though the cost of charcoal will add up over the years. if so then the volumetric change is proportionally greater than the change in coal surface. Temperature Range A charcoal grill can operate from extremely low to searing (+1200° F) temperatures. We hope that this data can be of use to you. The grill grate in this grill was 3.5″ above the surface of the single layer of coals. Charcoal vs. gas grill: which is hotter? Gas grills have a similar responsiveness as gas charbroilers, and these grills are often equipped with a thermometer to monitor the temperature inside the grill for more precise cooking. Charcoal grill pros and cons; Gas grill pros and cons; Charcoal vs gas grill comparison table; Understanding the Pros and Cons of Charcoal vs Gas Grill. You can dial the amount of propane being used up or down depending on what temperature you want to use. Don’t be a wimp. I appreciate how you said that gas grills, because of their variety in shape and size, are great for barbecuing for large groups of people. The maximum temperature of a gas grill depends on the model you buy. Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Charcoal provides that rich, smoky flavor that, even with an attached smoker box, gas just can’t meet. Since charcoal grills do not have temperature dials to raise or lower temp, it is important to learn how to set up a 2-zone fire which helps you regulate heat by moving meat from the hot to the not so hot zone, and learn how to control the energy of the fire by closing off the oxygen intake vents. Other benefits of cooking with a gas grill are minimal cleanup and maintenance, reduced risk of starting a larger fire, and a smaller environmental impact than burning charcoal. But the relative temperatures across the grill surfaces are still relevant and instructive. The one problem with charcoal grills is that they do take quite a while to heat up. A grill has to reach a temperature of at least 600 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve a nice sear on your meat. On a gas grill, keep the thermometer away from the hot side. Charcoal grills take longer to preheat and it is not very easy to change the temperature quickly. Among the most common questions that come up when it comes to grilling are questions of grill type. Using leave-in probes while grilling calls for caution and care. Can I use leave-in probes while grilling? Other folks want convenience and spontaneity. Gas grills are generally more expensive than electric or charcoal; charcoal being the cheapest. The question is, is it worth waiting another 15 minutes for better flavor? A shorter path creates higher tension, keeping the cable up off the grill. If you try to cook with the lid off on a kettle grill, it will take quite a while. The main thing that differentiates these two types of grills is the fuel that they run on, obviously. Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to charcoal and gas grilling. Cooking Time: A charcoal grill takes more time to preheat. It’s easy to transport and it is easily customizable. While controlling the temperature of a gas grill is easier, if you get a good enough gas grill you will still be capable of grilling at temperatures that give a good sear (and potentially a higher cancer risk), so grilling with gas is not completely off the hook. The kettle type and ceramic egg (kamado) type lead the charcoal pack, with dozens of variations on those two themes. You can see in the graph above that the grill surface on the hot side remains hot enough to sear food throughout the cook, while the air just above the surface does not. Lump charcoal is just an advertising gimmick to induce you to pay more for a cheaper product. Thanks for the tip. Charcoal vs. Gas grills. The data shows that the reputation for consistency is well earned. Gas devotees will tell you that this produces a flavour just as fine as charcoal, but then it does not explain why people make a great deal of money supplying packs that you just burn on a gas barbecue to try to create a far more “woody” flavour. Remember, wood pellet grills allow you to set a temperature to cook your food. You can also start adding other things to fire, like wood to create smoke. Gas is so convenient! We try to run temperature tests on all the grills simultaneously. Plus no having to watch over the thing to be sure it's finally out afterwards. In fact, that approached the range that many wood-fired pizza ovens burn at, and is why grilled pizzas work so well on a kettle grill. Charcoal fires can reach up to 800°F. I want to cook a blend of Kobe/angus beef which needs low heat to melt the fat. It’s dirty. Are they really that different? And the portability of the smaller grill is a must for grillers on the go. Make sure they don’t cross any direct-heat zones and try to keep them from laying across grill grates, which can conduct the energy to them far more efficiently than air. One can top that disadvantage by seeing the fact that a gas grill can reach the cooking temperature almost instantly. 3. People likely have their own opinion on how to barbeque and what type of grill achieves the best result. Charcoal grilling temperature Another feature that you will appreciate of charcoal grills is the fact that you can produce as much heat as you want for cooking your meals . Charcoal burns hotter than gas. I’m all for natural, that’s why I don’t use a gas grill. The ease of dial-controlled temperature is an appealing feature for many cooks. With the lid off, temperatures become subject to breezes and the chunky nature of the fuel itself. Still, the edge has to go to charcoal for its pure simplicity. A person might argue that the per-hour fuel cost in the gas grill is much higher than the charcoal one. Charcoal burns hotter than gas. For example, does a single layer of coals on a 14″ Smokey Joe have the same temperature profile as a 22″ kettle (all other variables being equal)? Charcoal grillers take a certain pride in their ability to get the fire started and tend to it properly while they cook. Our probes 3.5″ above the charcoal bed had much higher temperatures than those only 2″ above the gas elements themselves. To see how well that might work, we set one to 250°F (121°C) on the controller with the lid closed, then turned the heat to “high,” which the display said was 450°F (232°C). There is, ultimately, no best grill for everything: it all depends on what you want to cook, how you want to cook it, and how involved with that cooking you want to be. Temperature matters, and we’re here to help you get the thermal knowledge that you need to make your cooking as good as it can be. … Wood pellet cooking and charcoal grilling have a lot of differences. It's easy to achieve your ideal grilling temperature, even with charcoal. That’s great, but some of you out there want a grill that can reach a higher temperature than 400° to 500° Fahrenheit. Does the diameter of the kettle grill impact temperatures? ... Charcoal vs Gas Grill - Top 5 Pros and Cons Compared. I've used gas (propane) for the last 15 years. After all, that smoke is coming from fire and fire is too hot for thermometer cables! Great post! Precise temperature control - Because gas grills have control dials that can lower or raise the heat output, you have the ability to control the temperature of your grill. You can see the cyclical nature of the thermostat turning on and off in the initial section. An interesting side note to this is that some people reported that gas is far superior to charcoal if you tend to use lots of sticky BBQ sauce because the temperature control is so much easier and results in less burned sauce. Charcoal grills are cheaper to purchase. Hi-Temp Flexible Ceramic Fiber-Insulated Probe, Does the reverse seat work for ground beef. We set up the diffuser plate for this cook, as one would for indirect cooking, with the lid closed. You can also see that while the smoker does reach the 450°F (232°C) needed for a sear, it takes about 15 minutes to get there from the smoking temperature. You can absolutely do a reverse sear on ground beef. Many purists claim that the flavor imparted from charcoal is the only way to grill. However, the cyclical on-off evens out at that temperature. Determine What You’re Grilling. The grill grate in this particular grill was 2″ from the surface of the  “flavor bar” heat plates suspended above the flames themselves. We think you probably do too, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have questions about it, and this post is going to try to answer some of them. Just use the valve and alternate the gas output. BBQ Battle: Gas vs Charcoal Price Range Gas. Egg shape or kettle? But with a charcoal grill, you must monitor the temperature constantly. It takes a while to get the temperature up, so you will need some good prep time before you can actually start grilling the meat. Best gas grills of 2020: Weber, Char-Broil and more grills we love From backyard burgers to top-notch tailgates, these gas grills deliver seriously delicious meals. That might lead to a slightly decreased temperature. (We are aware that these grills can achieve much higher temperatures without the diffuser plate!) You can get a $25 charcoal grill to start and perfect your craft. Hot enough to cook tough meats. While gas grills won’t create that trademark charcoal char, they can still cook meats to browned perfection without producing some of the chemicals released by burning charcoal.
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