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Grilling: Charcoal Vs. Gas Grills

As the light Spring months descend upon us and the grills start coming out in earnest to nearly every backyard and deck, the age old question resurfaces of which is better: gas grills or charcoal grills, and why? What it really comes down to is a few key characteristics that each offers the consumer. What your individual priorities are such as cost, taste, energy consumption, etc in a grill determines which type of grill would be best suited to you. In this article, we'll discuss some of the most important aspects of gas and charcoal grills below to help you find your way to the right type of grill.


Many people opt for a grill depending on the convenience attached to it. Is it easy to turn on? Does it take awhile to cook? In terms of how convenient it is to cook, gas grills win out. With the gas grill, you turn on the gas knobs, push the igniter button, and presto: the cooking can begin within about ten minutes. With a charcoal grill; however, though it is fairly simple to light the charcoal briquettes, it does take on average about 30 minutes to get to a medium grilling heat. So, depending on your lifestyle and how often you use your grill, you may have the time or may not.


Maintaining your grill, as is the necessary of all your worldly possessions, is also a factor to consider, when deciding upon a gas or charcoal grill. Hands down, the gas grill is easier to clean up..Many people just let the previous meats, veggies, fish burn off before grilling again, and perform once in awhile washing. With charcoal grills, however, the mess is more pronounced, and typically requires cleaning maintenance much more often than a gas grill.


Now when it comes to taste, this is where the playing field levels a bit; as many people report that fish, steaks, burgers, and everything else they choose to grill taste much more smoky and flavorful on a charcoal grill as opposed to the gas grill. This would make sense as your food is burning directly above the charcoal briquettes, and therefore take on the rich smoky flavor of the bricks; whereas gas flame doesn't offer any smoky char-taste unless you cook your food longer.

Fuel Economy

When it comes to the fuel economy of your grill, it's also important to recognize the varying convenience of the fuel/grill choice. The gas grill operates on a propane gas tank that-depending on the frequency of your use-can last a whole summer without needing to be replaced with another. Charcoal briquettes, on the other hand, take no time at all to use; so you must be prepared to make frequent store visits for bags of charcoal, if you are an avid griller. In the course of a summer, a gas grill propane tank will last you longer in relative comparison to the trips you would have to make to replace your charcoal briquettes; making the charcoal fuel economy more expensive.


When it comes to barbeque grills and pricing, the range is pretty wide. Typically, gas grills range from $150 to upwards of $1000. Charcoal grills, on the other hand, range from $50 to $450. So, again it comes down to how much you want to spend, and what conveniences-if any-you require in a grill.


A Great Food For All Your Summer Festivities

There are foods that are associated with specific seasons' foods and drinks too that we reach for traditionally when the weather turns warmer or colder by turn. What would the winter be without a nice bowl of steaming oatmeal to start the day? And how much nicer is it to look out the window at a snowstorm when you've got a nice hot cup of hot chocolate in your hands?

Then there are the old standbys for the summer months as well. What better way to cool off in the middle of a heat wave than with a cool Popsicle? Who hasn't enjoyed a baseball game while munching on a hot dog? It seems there are foods and drinks for every season and most of them really add to our enjoyment of any particular time of year.

One of the all-time favorite summer foods is one that we've been enjoying in North America for one hundred years. Ever since Gennaro Lombardi opened the first pizza place in New York in 1905, we've been enjoying the tasty treat that's got a very interesting history. Of course it might be no surprise that pizza's origins are claimed by the Italians, and as you munch a piece of Toronto pizza in the middle of little Italy, you might think that the food's history only goes back to turn of the century Europe, but pizza has an even bigger past.

Although modern people munching Hamilton pizza might not have considered it on a hot July day, most historians agree that Italians have more than likely been eating the food since the Stone Age, perhaps as far back as the 6th century BC where soldiers baked a kind of flat bread and covered it afterward with cheese. The word itself has some interesting historical connotations.

Pizza is obviously Italian, but not many people know that the word means "a point" and the earliest forms of this popular food were baked like a lot of other things beneath the stones of a fire. At first, this early form of the modern food that has been popularized as Mississauga pizza was used as a kind of plate to sop up the excess gravy that was left over from other meals. However, like all great ideas, it wasn't long before pizza took off in its own right.

It seems that another great culture, The Greeks, helped bring what we now know as the modern day pizza along. Because their version of the flat bread was convenient for the working man and his family at the time, they decided that the flat round bread they were using for meals should have some kind of topping, and in this way the predecessor of the modern pizza pie was born.

It wasn't until years later that the modern world caught up to this popular summer food and in 1957 frozen pizzas were introduced and soon became the most popular food that you could get from the freezer.


BBQ Grills: Variety is the Spice of Life

My experience with bbq grills goes way back to the early 70's. I remember watching my Grandpa cook burgers on his backyard grill. There was something magical about the way the smoke would rise up out of it and fill the air with all that goodness. I was too short to see the food inside, but I could hear the sizzle and smell the flavor. I associated having a bbq with good times with cousins and other family members, good food, and long summer days. It's likely that you also have similar memories and associations.

When considering the many bbq grills on the market, it is important to recognize as soon as possible that you definitely get what you pay for. If you opt for the "el cheapo" unit you should expect to get minimal longevity out of it, maybe a couple of years at best. If you spend a little bit more you can probably get up to a few more years and a few more features. However, it's only when you really put out the big bucks that you are going to get a grill that will last for a long time. Since moisture and heat work their corrosive magic on metal, the higher quality metals used in the more expensive grills are the only ones that can really stand up over the long haul.

A few weeks ago our 12 year old son went fishing with some other family members and came home with about fifty little blue back salmon. The daily limit on the lake they went to is one hundred fish so I guess you could say he had a pretty poor day of fishing! Don't you feel bad for him? Yeah, me neither. These fish are small, but really good. I wasn't sure what we were going to do with them, but he decided that we should cook them on the grill. He laid out some aluminum foil and got the propane fired up. He laid out the fish and before long they were cooking away and ready to serve. It only took about 10 minutes and we were enjoying a nice meal. So now I can attest that bbq grills are good for more than just burgers.

Speaking of other foods that you can cook on BBQ grills, I discovered a few years ago that another great thing to cook on them is shish kabobs. They are fun to make and incredibly easy. The first time we did them we just skewered chunks of chicken with pieces of onion, bell peppers, and pineapple. We basted them with teriyaki sauce as they cooked. We discovered that if you cut the veggies too small, they will overcook before the chicken is finished cooking. The next time we did these, we just kept things chunkier and it came out great.

Obviously, many bbq grills come with features like side tables, storage shelves, and side burners. These things just make the grill more versatile, but also add to the cost. I find that a basic, quality, name brand grill does the job, and that many of the bells and whistles go unused, and ultimately prove to be unnecessary. But that's just me. I'm sure that many others find all the extras really helpful and nice to have. Just find what you want and start cooking. And most importantly, have fun!


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